Burton on stage at Sydney BDO 2010. Photo by Jacinda Fermanis.
Fear Factory and their innovative thrash/industrial/death metal groove have been going strong for 20 years, and after a slight lapse over the last few years (a weak album and line-up changes), they’re back on track, obliterating ear-drums in their wake.
With a new album Mechanize, this version of Fear Factory features the usual singer Burton C. Bell, who has been rejoined by the master blaster – Dino Cazares on guitar. After being away for a few years, Dino rejoined last year – much to the sheer fucking delight of fans. On bass is Byron Stroud, formerly of the sadly departed Strapping Young Lad, and Gene Hoglan on drums – jeez, talk about top shelf! Gene is highly regarded in the metal community and has worked with the likes of Strapping Young Lad, Testament and Dark Angel.
With such a formidable line-up you’d expect a killer gig, one that left you breathless with classic Fear Factory tunes and slick metal perfection. Well, that’s what we got. 90 minutes of heavy metal nirvana as 90s heroes Fear Factory belted out some jaw-dropping metal, disregarding entirely their previous 2 albums and focusing on their first 4 industrial strength albums and dropping in a couple of cracking new songs as well.
As Fear Factory opened with a ballistic triple from Obsolete – Shock, Edgecrusher and Smasher/Devourer the crowd were thrown into a communal mosh as everyone got down to the beat. This was followed by another triple, this time from Soul Of A New Machine – a bone-jarring bash of Martyr, Scapegoat and Crash Test. It was awe-inspiring – the average age of these guys is around 40, and they manage to pull this off? The passion and quick fire riffage of Linchpin and Acres Of Skin had the trademark of a band unsurpassed in their field. The blistering speed of new single Powershifter was evidence of a reinvented Fear Factory – and second single Fear Campaign sounded thrash-tastic.
Of course everyone was waiting for songs from the king-sized metal classic Demanufacture, and Fear Factory served up a huge chunk of songs from the album – each getting louder and louder response from the crowd. Demanufacture, Self Bias Resistor, Zero Signal, Flashpoint, Pisschrist and Hunter Killer certainly had me screaming like a demon. And when Fear Factory finished it all off with the unmistakable raw power of Replica, there was simply nothing else to do but raise the horns one last time and walk out into the balmy summer night and reminisce about a metal performance that will be difficult to top this year.