Fear Factory

Metalfest - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Metalfest was one of the festivals with the best line-up this year, and one band I was particularly looking forward to was Fear Factory.
With a completely new album, The Industrialist, and a semi new crew, I was wondering how they would fair here in Germany.

Still at the helm was the core duo of Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares, and joining them for live events such as this was bassist Matt DeVries (ex-Chimaira, ex-Six Feet Under etc.), who reminded me a lot of a younger Matthew Barlow (but that’s a side-note), and drummer Mike Heller (Malignancy, System Divide, World Under Blood). Depending on how far back you go, these two newcomers had some pretty large shoes to fill, taking over after bassist Byron Stroud and drumming all-star Gene Hoglan. On the other hand, for the The Industrialist album, a drum-machine was used…
Anyway, let’s get back to what’s important right now, shall we?

As the warm early summer sun was still high in the sky, a spoken text began sounding from the main stage of the Metalfest festival. This sounded the beginning of Fear Factory’s show there…
As soon as the text was finished, the band thrust without remorse straight into Shock, and what a choice for an opener! I had half expected to hear something from the new one, which I wouldn’t know since it had only been out for a single day at the time, and I had not had a chance to check it out yet as I had been at the festival.
But no, Fear Factory had decided to go with one of their all time favourite classics, and the result was immediate – my face cracked open in a huge grin, and from the very first word I was in the front row, shouting along to each and every line of text Bell was sputtering out.
Fear Factory had clearly chosen to go with a best of setlist for the show, something I for one certainly wasn’t going to complain about, and it wasn’t until seven songs into the set that Bell stopped up to mention The Industrialist, and introduce the evenings first and only song off of it – Recharger.
A lot of things happened before that though, for instance Fear Factory got a special visit during Smasher/Devourer from Death Angel’s drummer Will Carroll and guitarist Ted Aguilar, who helped out during the chorus, and general rowdiness. Death Angel would return later on in the set, but this time it was vocalist Mark Osegueda who took over the chorus in the mighty Demanufacture! As we had seen Death Angel earlier in the day, and generally like them, this was truly a special treat which really hit home with us!
Fear Factory’s own members shouldn’t be neglected though, as they were doing very well for themselves as well! Bell’s voice only cracked as he was speaking between songs and not in them, which was a welcome new, and both of the new guys seemed like good additions to the band, even if they were somewhat anonymous at times. Cazares kicked ass with headbanging on the edge of the stage, and worked well as an audience magnet as well. Worth mentioning is also that for Demanufacture he changed to a guitar with an all-over Demanufacture cover art print, and it was simply to die for! I know I was drooling, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one...

I mentioned in the beginning that I was curious as to how a band such as Fear Factory would fair at this festival, mainly because they were playing a style of metal which wasn’t exactly over-represented here. In fact, I believe they were more or less the only one playing this type of thing...
It didn’t seem to matter though, as the Germans seemed more than happy to have this industrial quartet over for a visit!
There was a constant and impressively large crowd-surfing phenomenon going on, and even though the rest for the most part was nodding along gently, there was a positive atmosphere over the whole place. Not that I got to look behind me all that much though, I was completely into what was going on on stage, and screamed lyrics until my throat got hoarse (not that this stopped me from continuing, mind you).
When the last song, Replica, was to be played, the bass was turned up considerately, making this one of the heaviest of the entire festival, and here people truly took advantage of letting every final drop of energy fall through drops of sweat on to the ground! Massive doesn’t even begin to describe it, and it was a thankful payback for the missing guitars and drums we had experienced shortly in Shock.

To sum things up, this show kicked ass! Simple as that.
I’m not sure if DeVries and Heller will surpass Stroud and Hoglan, but damn it, at the moment it didn’t matter, this was just bliss no matter how you chose to look at it!


Fear Campaign
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