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2010-02-23 DE – Herford - Club X

Mechanize, the first FEAR FACTORY record after the who-plays-with-whom-argy-bargy, is anything than bad, but surely no highlight either. Eons have passed since I saw them last time performing live, so the current tour offered the perfect chance to see, what FEAR FACTORY is still about, how the new line-up works together and if the old strengths are still convincing.
Supporting were Belgian old school thrasher gents AFTER ALL, also announced Metalcore act Neaera had actually to cancel its part. Unfortunately they did not post that on their homepage, so that a couple of fans were pretty disappointed when they got aware of this fact at the Club X in Herford.
Even worse were some rarely offered merchandise goods like guitar strings and brazenness’s like the current album for 20 Euros! Well, who’s in need…

:: pics ::

:: AFTER ALL :: entered stage on time in front of a hardly filled location. I’m not sure if the organizers just deleted the second support band from the time schedule, but another half hour of wait wouldn’t have done any harm. On the other hand, that wouldn’t have made the show of the Belgian retro-thrashers more successful. Their style just didn’t match the musical predator pattern of the attendees.
I personally liked the band’s last record Cult Of Sin but their Bay Area-tinged material did not suite the headliners music. Unfortunately AFTER ALL most times acted a little bit stiff, although the stage was big enough to rock out properly. Musically AFTER ALL played songs from the last three records, but what got stuck was the great vocal performance of new singer Sammy Peleman. He did not sound not that raw as his predecessor, more in the direction of David R. White (Heathen), what greatly suits the band’s style. Developable show but ok for a warm-up.
Setlist: My Own Sacrifice, Frozen Skin, Land Of Sin, Devastation Done, Betrayed By The Gods, Ruins Of Bones, Forgotten

Also :: FEAR FACTORY :: kicked off on time. Although the location was now pretty crowded (but far away from being sold out) the feedback on the first song Mechanize remained restrained. Ok, that might be due to the fact that fans are still not familiar to the new album. But next up was the classic Shock and nothing changed. Edgecrusher afterwards finally made it to wake up the audience from its lethargy.
By no stretch of the imagination I would call the show a good one. Of course one saw experienced musicians, but neither bass player Byron Stroud nor legendary drummer Gene Hoglan seemed to be much motivated. They played competently, nothing more. As for Gene Hoglan it means that he was almost swinging his drum parts ;) Totally untouched he played tricky and fast stuff. It is utmost impressing to watch him drum…
All in all the show was quite akinetic. Dino Cazares was the only one who tried to connect to the fans, while Burton C. Bell acted restrained. It took some time till he started to warm up. But one thing is clear: the longer break in touring Bell definitely did not use to work on his singing! That a tour doesn’t do well the vocal cords is undoubted. The growls were ok, but Burton permanently so downright failed during his clean singing that it really went on nerves.
Likewise strange was how much material was canned. When it comes to keyboards and samples it’s comprehensible, but that also layered voices during refrains, hooks and melody lines (Dino only played the rhythm part) were imported… is odd. Here I have to state that there are many bands out there, also with only one guitar player and layered singing, which solve that “problem” much better live on stage.
However, musically FEAR FACTORY played an acceptable mix of all album releases Dino Cazares was involved in. Even the weak Digimortal was considered with two songs.
I think that especially Martyr was a good example that the older material worked much better than newer stuff. Maybe it was due to all the stuff that came from the CD player. Besides the band was thrashing through new (Christploitation) and old (Smasher-Devourer) material, while classics such as Resurrection perfectly cheered the fans.
After exactly one hour the show was officially over, with an encore of three songs, after the crowd was screaming loud enough. According to the snatched setlist, also Zero Signal and H-K should have been played, but they did not, maybe to save Bells voice. So Replica marked the very end of the show.
Setlist: Mechanize, Shock, Edgecrusher, Smasher-Devourer, Acres Of Skin, Linchpin, Powershifter, Fear Campaign, Martyr, Christploitation, Resurrection, Final Exit // Demanufacture, Self Bias Resistor, Replica

I cannot help saying that this show was an ambivalent matter. FEAR FACTORY acted terminally motivated and partly have reached the end of their possibilities, not playfully, but physically. To switch the side of stage in slow motion and to headbang a little bit is way not enough to deliver a good live performance! Most of the tracks are still great, but again the question: is that enough? To watch Gene Hoglan drumming was much entertaining, but the rest of the band failed at this completely. No idea, if I’m right, but the crowd seemed to be likewise unmotivated. Also sound and lights left a lot to be desired.
Maybe, this line-up still needs to grow together. What I got tonight did not make my mouth watering for another FEAR FACTORY show.


story © Psycho • pics © Dajana