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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Live & Dangerous: Devin Townsend Project, Fear Factory

Devin Townsend Project, Fear Factory O2 Academy Bristol 16/12/12

Tesseract were the openers but due to some timing 'problems' I missed them, which does seem to be a recurring problem with this band as every time they tour they clash with something else. Oh well I will see them at some point because by all accounts they were very good

Fear Factory

On the other hand Fear Factory were a different prospect as an instrumental band Fear Factory would work their industrial groove metal to perfection with the precision drumming of Mike Hellier and the unstoppable rhythm of Dino Cazares' guitar. The band were loud heavy and shook the foundations. However they do have one almost fatal flaw, these are the vocals of Burton C Bell who cannot sing, growl yes, sing no. I don't think he hit note while singing clean and this really grated on me. I realise he is a founder member and obviously hardened fans are used to it but it really annoyed me that his vocals were so poor. Still I'm sure if your circle pitting or bringing a wall of death (both of which happened) then you wouldn't notice this and just enjoy the super aggressive metal display. 6/10

Devin Townsend Project

Having only released his new album 'Epicloud' this year, and after a phenomenal show at the Roundhouse with the 'Retinal Circus' I was expecting yet another good show from Mr Townsend and I was not disappointed. Despite spending much of this year touring and with this end of year show he was visibly suffering with a cold but still managed to kick things off in fine style with the start-stop riff of Supercrush! Before Truth was followed by the instrumental ZTO which led into the very heavy and very long Planet Of The Apes. This managed to heave the crowd along nicely, with all Devin gigs they amount to a very good or very bad trip with the songs shifting genres and acoustics nicely, this is combined with the constantly adapting backing images and Devin's strange sense of humour that includes pointing out his 'invisible choir' on (their Def Leppard song) Where We Belong and the taped vocals of Anneke Van Giersbergen. After the kinky monster lust of Vampira Devin (and us) indulged in some jazz hands to new song Lucky Animals before the heaviness resumed with Juular and Grace. He then treated a fan to an acoustic rendition of Hyperdrive! before ending the set with the epic if a little slow Deep Peace which did strike me as an odd choice to end a primarily heavy set with. Redemption came at the hands of the explosive Liberation which was followed by the SYL speech again and then a sped up Bad Devil to end properly. This was a master class of performance with the right amount of peaks and troughs in the set to maintain interest; Devin even managed to get a good sound out of the weirdest venue in the Britain (probably). Can't wait to see him a bit closer to home next time though. 9/10

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