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Saturday, 12 December 2015

Another Point Of View: Fear Factory (Review By Neil)

Fear Factory, Bristol Bierkeller

The last time that Fear Factory visited Bristol in December 2012 – along with the Devin Townsend Project - everyone who was there will be able to attest to the fact that Burton C Bell's voice was absolutely shot. Quite frankly it was a terrible performance, and I personally vowed to never go to see them again such was the awfulness of their show in the O2 that night. But then they announced a UK tour on which Demanufacture would be played in full to celebrate the albums 20th anniversary (and I'm surprised that there was no accompanying re-issue of their seminal, ground-breaking classic to celebrate this landmark but I digress). This announcement certainly piqued my interest so I bought a ticket and could only hope that Burton's voice would be up to the task this time around. Before an absolutely jam packed Bierkeller would be able to find out we were treated to a spirited performance from the new project spearheaded by ex-Machine Head / Soulfly guitarist Logan Mader. Logan has teamed up with Australian vocalist Lauren Hart to form Once Human, who I fear are destined to forever be compared to Gossow-era Arch Enemy, such is the similarity between Lauren and Gossow's vocals and the bands' overall musical style. This is not necessarily a bad thing but I fear it may limit their potential somewhat as Arch Enemy already exist, right? Blasting through several tracks from their d├ębut The Life I Remember (which I must confess I haven't heard so don't ask me for song titles!-You should-Ed) and closing with a rip-roaring cover of Davidian they certainly left the Bierkeller happy and perfectly warmed up for the evening's headliners 6/10

Warm would prove to be an understatement as the temperature rise in the venue during Fear Factory's set was palpable. If you're reading this then I expect you already have Demanufacture (if not, please go and get it right this second!) so a setlist is pretty redundant, except to say that once the main set was done with the encores consisted of a couple of FF classics (Shock and Edgecrusher), along with a handful of tracks from their latest outstanding release Genexus (including many people's pick for it's best song Soul Hacker), closing out with old faithful Martyr. From the get go the crowd were absolutely eating it up, with even the comparative lulls of Head Of David cover Dog Day Sunrise and an absolutely intense Pisschrist evoking rabid responses from the unbelievably hot and sweaty Keller. Enthusiastic responses like this can't do anything but inspire the band's performances. And what a performance it was; from the opening of Demanufacture right through to the ending of Martyr the band gave it their all ending up looking as hot and sweaty as the grateful crowd with massive smiles plastered all over their faces. Everything just seemed to be very much on point including – I'm happy to say – Burton’s voice. Never quite as smooth when unaided by studio trickery, nevertheless on this evidence lessons appear to have been learned from 2012's wide criticisms, and all for the better. With the absolute monster album that Genexus is and on the back of a performance like this the Fear Factory machine appears to be very much alive. 10/10

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