If you’re a Children of Bodom fan, you’re likely already counting down to this Friday when the band release their final record of their career, A Chapter Called Children of Bodom (Final Show in Helsinki Ice Hall 2019).
Of course, this release is bittersweet. This final concert was the band’s farewell to their fans, and then beloved vocalist and guitarist Alexi Laiho passed away in December 2020, making this the band’s final recording with the iconic Laiho as well.
We spoke with bassist Henkka Seppälä about the final concert and saying goodbye for the last time.
There is a lot of anticipation among fans for this record to come out. What feelings are y’all having; are you excited, or is it a little bit bittersweet and sad?
It’s crazy because it’s already been four years since the final show. We knew after that last show that we would have that recorded, but we obviously didn’t know how it would feel to actually listen and watch back. It was quiet heavy, actually, for everybody. The end of the band in a mental, emotional way. And then, of course, Alexi passing away pretty soon after that made it quiet heavy for everybody. There were many things we were dealing with.
I don’t remember when we actually started talking about (releasing the record). It was maybe one or two years ago. And then when Alexi’s family was really into the idea, we got Spinefarm (the label) into this idea. So we realized maybe it was something we should do. And of course, we knew that technically speaking, the show was pretty good. It was a little bit emotional, and the mood was a little bit weird. It wasn’t the most, you know, party kind of show like a lot of the ones we played earlier, but we knew it was going to be a quality show.
And of course, the emotional side is something that is there; I’m sure everybody who listens to it, they can sense it, and they can feel it, in some way at least. So I’m really excited that it’s finally happening now four years after the show.
I think another aspect is that the show was organized with such short notice, so it was basically possible for people to attend the show, even if they had had the money. We know we have fans worldwide, so for many people, it’s impossible to do the trip. I think in that way, we feel it’s something we want to have for people who couldn’t make it to the last show, or see us on the last tour, which was 2019, because we were yet to actually play the whole European continent and Asia. So we felt a lot of people were missing out on this.
So you feel this is a strong note to kind of send things off on, and you’re happy with this being the last representation of what the band puts out.
Yeah, I mean, we knew when we got on that stage that it was the last time we were going to play together. So it was a very special moment, and I was practically shedding tears the entire time. So I’m happy that this show is out there now, and there’s a physical version of it, so it’s not only a vague memory that will fade one day. Now we have a physical thing to keep the memory alive. So it’s very, very special.
For the cover art, we chose red and worked with our original cover artist because that’s kind of full circle to how the whole thing began. We also asked fans worldwide to send us any photo memories of the band or the fans themselves, and we got hundreds of photos we have included in a special booklet for the vinyl or CD version, like a collage of memories. We had people send them in over email.
That’s really cool. Is there anything else you included to commemorate the band and how special this release is?
This is also a page dedicated to Alexi. We got very nice photos of him from his family of his childhood. Like I said earlier, this was done in close cooperation with his family and his estate. We’ve been dealing with his sister, and she sent us cool childhood photos, so we did this memorial to him as well.
Wow, it’s great that you included that. Looking back over the years, I feel like you all were so influential for melodic death metal, black metal, hardcore, all these different genres, and blurring some of those genre lines that were so strict before. At least as a metalhead in my 30s who listened to you in my teens, that’s how it seems to me. So what do you feel now looking back is the biggest legacy you’ve left behind and the thing that you’re most happy about?
Well, it’s still very cool to see how people are talking about the band and how people feel about the importance of the band. It’s been great hearing from the fans with these photos, because since we don’t have shows anymore, we don’t necessarily still meet the fans. I love hearing the stories about how Bodom has helped people through difficult times in their lives, or things like that, and I think every personal story is just as important as the full legacy.
But of course, when you think about it in a more general way, as a Finish musician coming from a small nation, in the very far corner of Europe, we are very proud that Children of Bodom is one of the biggest things to ever come from Finland in music, especially weird music. And I think another cool thing is that Children of Bodom’s music is not considered so weird anymore—Maybe that’s the biggest legacy.
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