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Fear Factory @ Irving Plaza (7/25/2010)

Logo - Fear Factory

Artist: Fear Factory
Venue: Irving Plaza (New York, NY)
Opener: 36 Crazyfists, After The Burial, Divine Heresy
Date: 7/26/2010
Label: Candlelight Records

It’s been awhile since I have seen Fear Factory in action and that was for a number of reasons when it came down to it. The first was based on the band kind of splitting up and reuniting at the same time at around April 2009 and the band that I “knew” as Fear Factory would cease to exist while one that was a little more familiar to legacy fans took shape. I admit that I was a newer fan of the bands body of work but I did always enjoy their shows and was saddened by some of the decisions they made for the sake of the “good of the name”. Anyways, they had just released the new album “Mechanize” which was getting solid reviews across the board and they had embarked on their “Fear Across America” tour which brought along Divine Heresy, After The Burial and 36 Crazyfists. The show was at Irving Plaza and here is how the night went down for those who had interest.

Divine Heresy: Sadly I would walk in just as this band was completing their set as the times were not clear as to when it was starting off after doors opened but that was okay as I had only recently saw Divine Heresy and they were not much my cup of tea. The band is heavy and features Dino Cazares of Fear Factory along with Tim Yeung on drums (who is killer), but I think I need a little more exposure to them to figure what it is all supposed to be about. I had seen the band with their then new singer Travis Neal when they toured with Moonspell last year and had felt they were a mismatch for the Gothic Metal sound of that particular band. Fast forwarding to today I had to say that I did find it amusing that Cazares own newer band was opening up for the group he was once again a member of though. After The Burial was up almost immediately after their set had finished.

After The Burial: I don’t recall ever seeing ATB in concert before tonight so I was approaching their set as an education into their style and delivery. The band is on Sumerian Records which is a label that seems to be catering to these Progressive Metalcore and Deathcore bands of late so I expected these dudes to be of that genre classification. I was correct in the assumption and for an opening band felt that they were doing some good up there. While I didn’t know too many of their songs I did know that their latest album is called “In Dreams” and is available on Sumerian along with a re-issue of their “Rareform” CD. To gauge them after one show I would have to say that it was pretty good and I would be willing to see them again. Up next, the 36 Crazyfists.

36 Crazyfists: Straight outta Kenai, Alaska came the direct support for the night in 36 Crazyfists and this is a band that we have seen on a wide variety of shows in various spots in the running order. I haven’t seen them since their appearance with In Flames in late 2008 and that was okay by me since it depends on my mood and the show itself whether I will enjoy them or not. The band is a no holds barred Metalcore act and they have been around the block a number of times and also on a number of labels. They went from Roadrunner Records to DRT and now sit firmly on Ferret Music which I think is a good fit for them. Their latest release is entitled “Collisions and Castaways” and it would be officially released on the Tuesday following this particular show. Fronted by Brock Lindow, the band was full throttle energy from the opening tune, a new one, “In The Midnights” and it didn’t sound bad. The would not focus too much on this release since most people didn’t have it yet unless they downloaded it illegally somewhere and instead chose to focus their core of the set on their back catalog with tunes from “The Tide And Its Takers”, “Rest Inside The Flames” and “A Snow Capped Romance” Come to think of it, the band seemed to be paying attention to every one of their albums which was interesting to observe in a direct support slot. I guess they wanted to leave the crowd with a solid foundation if they were new to the bands sound. While I can say that I usually enjoy 36CF in concert, I could safely say that the audience was not all that supportive and I felt that they were saving their energy for the imminent assault to be delivered by Fear Factory. There were some fans that I spoke to that also felt that there should have been a “better” or “different” band in the main support slot as well as this was a band that they were not all that interested in anymore. Despite those views, the guys did their job well and were done before you knew it. Now it was time for the “return” of Fear Factory.

Fear Factory: So I mentioned how there were some changes in the Fear Factory camp and let me quickly outline them for you. I was NOT one of their loyalists back in the early days, so the band I came to know as FF was Burton, Ray, Christian and Byron. They toured a lot and we covered them several times and always felt it was a Metal hurricane inside whatever venue it was but this year a new lineup was announced as Burton reunited with founding guitarist Dino Cazares and would continue with Stroud on bass but the drums would be monster master player Gene Hoglan. At the same time of this lineups activity both drummer Herrera and guitarist Wolbers are keeping active with the band Arkaea while also fighting with Bell and Cazares about the usage of the name Fear Factory since both are still considered active members of the group. You will have to tune into Bravewords.com for additional episodes of “As The Metal Band Turns” since I need to get back to the concert report. If you have ever seen a video clip or a show of Fear Factory before you know that they hit the ground running and this would be the case tonight without question. As a front man, Burton Bell is right up in the audience’s faces and leans over the security barrier pit to incite frenzy in his ardent fans and of course as soon as they took to the stage the bodies were flying. There was a healthy mosh pit brewing in the center of the venue while crowd surfer after crowd surfer made their way into the waiting arms of the security folks. They would open up with the new albums title track “Mechanize” and while the album had been out for several months it was all still pretty new to me. I liked the reaction it got that was for sure and feared for my safety when the band thundered into “Shock” from their 1998 3rd album “Obsolete”.

Despite this being perceived as “the new Fear Factory” by many, it did not seem to matter in the eyes of the audience tonight because you had the original voice and the original founding guitarist back in command of the enterprise again with their long time bassist and crushing drum skills of Hoglan. Now I am a big fan of how Ray Herrera plays in this band but felt that if someone else had to be selected at least it was someone as technically proficient as he was. We get that in spades with Hoglan. As the set progressed it was more about the musical delivery than idle stage banter and that was fine by me. I didn’t want this to be a talky show since that would ruin the momentum of the show. They would deliver four tunes from the new “Mechanize” release and touch upon a number of the other trinkets from their back catalog but after looking at the set list post show, seemed to avoid the “Transgression” album entirely. Perhaps this was due to its being written entirely by Herrera and Wolbers. The show seemed to be coming to its end with “Demanufacture” which came to some as a surprise since we were only eleven songs in and this was the headliner set but that was a ruse as the guys returned for not one but four encore numbers. The would send the audience home into the hot summer air with two songs from “Demanufacture” in “H-K (Hunter-Killer)” and “Replica” and by doing so seemed to make this particular album the most represented at the show after the new release. One has to wonder if we shall soon see Fear Factory doing a tour where a full single album of note is performed as we find bands like Iron Maiden, Rush and Judas Priest doing. Only time will tell.

In the end this was an exciting show, but I think I would have swapped a couple of the openers and put a different direct support in myself to make it more than worth the audience dollar. If I gauged my understanding of the venue properly, the show while not originally sold out was completely packed by the night of the gig which is a good thing to observe. I have attended far too many shows where there was a less than admirable draw and that does no good for the Metal scene on the whole. Be sure to check out the new Fear Factory CD “Mechanize” and to follow the other dramatics going on in their camp by following popular news feeds like the aforementioned Bravewords.com. My Metal adventures would continue with the middle week appearance of Immolation and then when Michael Schenker Group hits town next weekend.

36 Crazyfists Set List:
1. In The Midnights
2. We Gave It Hell
3. I’ll Go Until My Heart Stops
4. At The End Of August
5. Elysium
6. The Heart & The Shape
7. Felt Through A Phone Line
8. Installing The Catheter
9. Death Renames The Light
10. The All Night Lights

Fear Factory Set List:
1. Mechanize
2. Shock
3. Edgecrusher
4. Smasher/Devourer
5. Acres Of Skin
6. Linchpin
7. Powershifter
8. Fear Campaign
9. Martyr
10. Final Exit
11. Demanufacture
12. Self Bias Resistor
13. Zero Signal
14. H-K (Hunter Killer)
15. Replica

I didn’t take any other “happenings” photos this evening but did snare a shot of the crowd going insane.

The Fear Factory Audience Approves

Official Website: http://www.fearfactory.com
Official Website: http://www.36crazyfists.com
Official Website: http://www.aftertheburial.com
Official Website: http://www.divineheresy.com

Fear Factory @ B.B. King Blues Club (11/8/2006)

Logo - Fear Factory

Artist: Fear Factory
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Suffocation, Hypocrisy, Decapitated
Date: 11/8/2006
Label: Calvin Records

“The Machines At War” Tour was the listing for this particular event and to be honest it seemed like an appropriate name for a show that would combine the force of Industrial Metal masters Fear Factory along with supreme Death Metal’s Suffocation, Prog-Death’s Hypocrisy and Technical Extremists Decapitated. If you were looking for a show that would stop your heart from beating – only to kick it back into operation then this was the show to attend. The venue would be B.B. King Blues Club once again which is par for the course as far as the bigger Metal shows have been going this year however this time around something was drastically different. On almost every wall were signs that warned against moshing and believe me folks they were serious about enforcing it this evening. Here are some comments on all the bands that performed this evening.
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“The Best Of Fear Factory” by Fear Factory

Artist: Fear Factory
Title: “The Best Of Fear Factory”
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 9/11/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 3/5

Celebrating the releases that came out under their banner, Roadrunner Records is releasing several Greatest Hits packages of artists that have accomplished great things for Metal and eventually moved on to other Labels. The Fear Factory early catalog falls under this description and as result, we have this compilation. Looking at it, I felt that it was more geared towards a new listener and not a die-hard who would probably have all of their earlier music by now. Given the current roster the label holds with bands such a younger Metal forces Trivium and the dynamic Dragonforce, the great thing would find those fans digging the early Fear Factory stuff and trying the older CD’s that are still currently available under the labels back catalog. These twelve tracks span from 1992-2001 and they feature the bands original guitarist Dino Cazares. It is a great “sampler plate” of Metal but with only the scant amount of songs will leave you wanting a bit more. Great moments are found in “Scapegoat” which is one of the group’s best songs and I always liked “Demanufacture”. A quirky but pretty close to the original cover version of Gary Numan’s “Cars” rocks and shows that even one of the most brutal vocalists (Burton C. Bell) can groove to the classic New Wave sound. From that segment in history, it was one of my favorite songs, so I loved hearing Fear Factory do it. Historical liner notes are present in the booklet, which is more a foldout, and there are limited photographs. Some will review this as “money-grabbing” products but in truth, it makes a nice teaser for their material and serves a purpose. Fear Factory are one of the most influential groups around based on their use of Technical Thrash Metal and Industrial elements before anyone else was doing it. Listeners are encouraged to investigate the bands history with this and their older releases as well as their latest effort “Transgression”.
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“Gigantour” (DVD) by Various Artists

Artist: Various Artists
Title: “Gigantour”
Label: Image Entertainment
Release Date: 9/5/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 2/5

When “Gigantour” was announced as an event to see some of the greatest Metal acts of today in one place and find it headlined by both Dream Theater and Megadeth you knew this was a winning situation for Metal heads of all ages. Those that attended the tour during its first go round in 2005 really had a great time as they really got to see some juggernauts on the same stage and for a very reasonable price. The show was also a great alternative to the Ozzfest and the ever-confusing musical content of Warped Tour. If you wanted pure Metal and a literal shred-fest, then Gigantour was the place you would want to find yourself at. As the shows blasted through the East Coast I attended one of them with fellow media folks and it was truly a good time although we had found some issues with set times and line up arrangements. Certain bands seemed a mismatch to some fans and others seemed more deserving of a later spot on the event as well as a longer set time (during the shows bands like Nevermore and Fear Factory only played 25-30 minute sets and each was supporting a new album). This DVD captures a little bit of the excitement of the tour and also gives you a glimpse into the stuff that went on backstage.
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“Gigantour” by Various Artists

Artist: Various Artists
Title: “Gigantour Live”
Label: Image Entertainment
Release Date: 8/22/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 2.5/5

“Gigantour” was the brainchild of Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine and the tour would be a welcome competitor to the ever-popular Ozzfest. To many Metal fans Ozzfest has been rapidly losing steam by becoming far too diverse with the range of bands and its over all commercialism. Gigantour would instead become a literal shredfest and 2005 would be the first year that this idea was attempted. Serving as “co-headliners”, both Dream Theater and Megadeth would close out the all day affair with lengthy sets that truly made the ticket price more than worth it after all bands were counted up. This two CD set serves as a teaser of the event and the fact that it is a mere teaser is the reasoning behind my minimal rating of the release. For starters I felt the song selection on the release was a little weak, and having seen one of the shows I know exactly what was played and what could have been included on the CD. The songs by Megadeth are no where near the bands most popular numbers while the Anthrax contributions are the songs that you ALWAYS find as their provided live track on releases such as this. The songs by both Fear Factory and Nevermore are great and should provide a little added interest in these two killer groups. At the time of Gigantour, each of them was in support of a recently released new album so this should have worked very well to that advantage. Absent from the release is any music by the Dillinger Escape Plan who were on the show that I saw. Dream Theater did not complete the tour itself and was filled in by Anthrax for the closing dates. It’s their inclusion that makes me feel why there is no Dillinger present for the listener. Overall I felt that Dream Theater sounded the best, followed by Nevermore and Megadeth as far as the CD sound and presentation went.
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