This time last year, the future of Megadeth was uncertain to the public. Guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover had left the band within hours of each other in November. Bandleader, lead singer, and guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson were auditioning replacements.
There were rumors of a Rust in Peace (1990) lineup reunion. It was attempted, but it didn’t happen.
Angra guitarist Kiko Loureiro and Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler were officially announced as Megadeth’s newest members in Spring 2015.
The band’s latest effort, Dystopia, was released this January. Widely acclaimed, it hit #3 on the Billboard Top 200. It beat Adele and Justin Bieber for the #1 iTunes spot in Canada and has been regarded by many as Megadeth’s finest album in decades (or at least since Endgame).
Fresh on the heels of Dystopia‘s success, Megadeth set out on the killing road with a killer set of supporting bands in tow: legendary crossover punks Suicidal Tendencies, Finnish melodeath virtuosos Children of Bodom, and emerging Colorado thrashers, Havok. I am a fan of all the bands on the bill and had seen them all previously, which made me particularly excited for this show.
Havok opened with four songs. Among those were “D.O.A.” and “Give Me Liberty… Or Give Me Death”. On my side of the pit, you couldn’t hear David Sanchez’s vocals very well, but the band put on a hell of a show, as was expected of them. Considering I had seen them play to packed smaller venues, I was surprised that more people in the crowd did not know who they were. I was also slightly disappointed that they only played four songs. But even though most of the crowd seemed unfamiliar with the band at first, Havok was given hearty applause once they finished their set.
Children of Bodom played another short set, which included songs from their newest album, I Worship Chaos (2015), and classic material like “Hate Me” and “Angels Don’t Kill.” The guitars were nearly inaudible on my side, which saddened me, because I really admire Alexi Laiho’s guitar work. The sound levels were fixed about halfway through their set. Regardless, Bodom shredded.
Up to this point, the crowd was mostly calm in my area, with a few people moshing and one girl crowdsurfing during Bodom’s set. But once Suicidal took the stage, all hell broke loose.
Suicidal Tendencies opened with a ripping version of “You Can’t Bring Me Down,” and singer Mike Muir was running and jumping all over the stage throughout their whole set. None other than Slayer’s Dave Lombardo was behind S.T.’s kit. Their dynamic seven-song set was filled with hits like “Institutionalized” and “I Saw Your Mommy”. The crowd was going wild, with plenty of people headbanging, moshing, and crowd-surfing. Even though they had small rigs (the guitarists only had half-stacks), they were the best-sounding band of the night so far, and definitely the most energetic.
Next up was the band everyone was waiting for.
Suicidal quickly tore down their equipment, and a curtain dropped, revealing the massive futuristic apparatus Megadeth would be playing in front of. It was nice surprise to see Mustaine’s guitar tech, Willie Gee, setting up. From what I knew, he had retired last year.
About twenty minutes later, the lights went down. An intro animation of Megadeth’s logo danced on the video screen as “Prince of Darkness” played in the background. Then, the band launched into “The Threat Is Real,” strutting onstage as lights flashed and smoke machines went off.
Dave Mustaine may not be the most flamboyant frontman in metal, but he strode all over the stage throughout the band’s set, bobbing his fiery mane up and down while his fingers danced all over the fretboard. His voice sounded in particularly great condition tonight. Even though the band was tuned down to D to accommodate his vocals, it gave the songs an added darkness.
David Ellefson and Kiko Loureiro also walked up and down the stage as they played, heading back to their microphones in time to sing backing vocals. Even as they sang, they smiled and interacted with the crowd, throwing us picks in between songs. To say Kiko nailed Marty Friedman’s solos would be an understatement.
Chris Adler was situated atop a massive drum riser embedded into their futuristic stage prop. I couldn’t see his face much during the actual show, but the pictures I took show him smiling.
Their setlist spanned 30 years; they played material off most of their albums from Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? (1986) to Dystopia (2016). It was awesome to hear some deeper cuts from Rust In Peace like “Dawn Patrol” and “Poison Was The Cure,” as well as their hits like “A Tout Le Monde”.
What struck me as odd was that the Phoenix crowd did not seem to know the “Megadeth, Megadeth, aguante Megadeth” chant that Argentina had pioneered for “Symphony Of Destruction”. Not only do the Argentinian crowds chant it, but so do the crowds in other Latin countries. Fellow Latino Kiko Loureiro came to my side of the venue and saw me mouthing those words, then he smiled at me.
As the four members united at center stage to take their final bow and throw picks and wristbands into the audience, my only thought was, “Why did it have to end?”
I had seen Megadeth before. Not once, but three times, and those three shows paled in comparison to this one. It was like I had seen a different band, and in a sense, I had. All the members seemed legitimately happy to belong to the same group, and you could feel their radiance beaming from the stage.
Catch this tour if you can. You won’t regret it.
- The Threat Is Real
- Hangar 18
- Wake Up Dead
- In My Darkest Hour
- Sweating Bullets
- Dawn Patrol
- Poison Was The Cure
- Skin O’ My Teeth
- Fatal Illusion
- A Tout Le Monde
- Symphony Of Destruction
- Peace Sells
- Holy Wars…The Punishment Due
March 2, 2016 | Categories: Concerts, Heavy Metal, Melodic Death Metal, Thrash Metal | Tags: Alexi Laiho, Angra, Children of Bodom, Chris Adler, dave lombardo, Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, David Sanchez, Dystopia, Havok, heavy metal, I worship chaos, Kiko Loureiro, Lamb of God, Megadeth, Mike Muir, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, Thrash Metal, Willie Gee | 1 Comment
Finnish melodeath band Children of Bodom is back with a vengeance, releasing possibly their best album in over a decade. “Halo of Blood” shows how CoB has matured musically while still maintaining their aggression and sense of humor.
“Waste of Skin” and “Halo of Blood” start off the album with an aggressive one-two punch, where the keyboards take somewhat of a backseat. Alexi Laiho screams over machine gun drums and melodic dual guitar riffs. Whereas “Waste of Skin” makes one nod and say, “Yep, this is Bodom,” “Halo of Blood” seems too busy at times with its very syncopated rhythms (possibly a drummer’s wet dream).
“Scream for Silence” takes the speed down a notch, but nicely. The keyboards are more noticeable in this song than in the previous two, which lacked a keyboard solo. Interesting lead harmonies complement intense lyrics like, “If you need to feed on pain, you might as well tap my vein.” This track is probably the most radio-friendly of the album and would have made a better single than “Transference”. It ends with a nice Slayer-esque guitar riff and people chanting “Kill! Kill!” Very Bodom indeed.
“Transference” was the choice for the first single of the album. While it still has the elements that differentiate CoB from other bands (chromatic guitar and keyboard runs, leads complementing Laiho’s vocals), it is just ok. It is probably, musically, the simplest song on the album, and that may have been a factor as to why it was chosen as the lead single.
“Bodom Blue Moon” and “The Days Are Numbered” both sound like they could have come straight off “Hatebreeder” (1999). They both possess hypnotic keyboards and are technical eargasms, with the latter possessing more neoclassical elements. Lyrics like, “Your name on my blade I won’t erase / Until I get to cut my name on your face” would make metalheads proudly nod and say, “F**k yeah” to themselves.
“Dead Man’s Hand on You” is definitely the most experimental track on the album, sounding more akin to Marilyn Manson than CoB at the beginning. Laiho doesn’t even scream on this one at the start and is accompanied by acoustic guitars and a piano. But the lyrics, about a twisted proposal to the goddess Mother Kali, showcase CoB’s sense of humor quite nicely: “I’ll be more than just a dead man’s hand on you… Love me one more time and I’ll let you kill me too.”
The last three tracks, “Damaged Beyond Repair,” “All Twisted,” and “One Bottle and a Knee Deep,” all sound like they could be on “Follow the Reaper”. “All Twisted” in particular has a “Hate Me!” vibe and similar riff work.
“Sleeping in My Car” is a Roxette cover and the bonus track on this edition of the album. (What is Children of Bodom without covering pop songs and making them metal?) It is a suitable end to “Halo of Blood,” because this album encompasses elements of CoB’s entire discography, including humorous covers. Instead of Roxette sweetly crooning, “The night is so pretty and so young,” the refrain sounds like it was uttered by a drunken vampire in Bodom’s version. The song ends with the solo from Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”.
The “Making of” DVD (the second disc) is a nice treat. The viewer gets to see the band fooling around in the studio, but also witness just how self-deprecating these incredible musicians and their crew can be. At one point, the producer exclaims, “Finally this band has a good bass sound!”
“Halo of Blood” is a great album that will definitely please the Hate Crew. It is their best work in years.
FINAL VERDICT: 8.5/10
1. Waste of Skin
2. Halo of Blood
3. Scream for Silence
5. Bodom Blue Moon (the second coming)
6. The Days Are Numbered
7. Dead Man’s Hand on You
8. Damaged Beyond Repair
9. All Twisted
10. One Bottle and a Knee Deep
11. Sleeping in My Car (Roxette cover) (Bonus Track)
June 12, 2013 | Categories: Album Reviews, Death Metal, Melodic Death Metal, Music, Reviews | Tags: Alexi Laiho, Children of Bodom, Halo of Blood, Henkka Blacksmith, Janne Wirman, Jaska Raatikainen, Nuclear Blast, Roope Latvala | 2 Comments