Fear Factory’s 1995 masterpiece Demanufacture has long been considered a groundbreaking heavy metal album; at the time there was simply nothing else like it. Despite a stack of imitators since its release, no-one has come close to its pseudo-industrial, sci fi-thrash metal sound. It is a unique album released ahead of its time, and when Fear Factory announced they were touring the album in full, more than a few tongues were sent wagging, especially on the topic of what the band member line-up.
Fear Factory now is just Burton C Bell and Dino Cazares. Bassist Matt DeVries and drummer Mike Heller joined last year, replacing 2 members that had been around for a few years. But long-time members Christian Olde Wolbers and Raymond Herrera were sorely missed on Friday at the Roundhouse, as the newish line-up struggled in a few parts.
Playing the album from start to finish with no re-ordering of songs was the best way to knock out Demanufacture; everyone knew what was coming and anticipation for the more popular songs was very high. For the most part, the band was tight, especially as they tore out Demanufacture, Self Bias Resistor and Replica. On the flipside, Burton’s clean singing was almost embarrassing in parts (especially during Body Hammer) and there were at least a few raised eyebrows in the room. He was clearly not 100%, or at minimum is in need of some fresh singing lessons. His guttural growling/screaming was brutal enough, especially during the twisted metal beast that is New Breed. And, despite what people may say about Dino, he is the consummate axeman and put on an outstanding show.
A 5 song encore was a great way to wrap it up, especially when opening with the apocalyptic double of Shock and Edgecrusher, before going back to 2001’s Digimortal with the toe-tapping What Will Become (although everyone was screaming for Linchpin). The self-titled track from 2004’s Archetype was next, surprising everyone as that album didn’t feature Dino (along with the much-maligned Transgression) and the band has made it clear in previous interviews they wouldn’t be playing these albums again. In any event, Dino shredded Archetype, though again Burton struggled with the clean singing.
The gig was largely a nostalgia trip for fans who remember rockin’ out to Demanufacture back in 1995, and it was still a lot of fun despite the shortcomings. Fear Factory isn’t the type of band to put on a bad show, but tonight they fell short of their own high standards on just a few occassions.
Self Bias Resistor
Dog Day Sunrise
(Head of David cover)
A Therapy for Pain
What Will Become?