02-Oct-2012 HiFi Bar, Moore Park (Sydney)
September 27, 2012
Supports: Thy Art is Murder, Truth Corroded
Reviewed by Brian Giffin
Pix by Travis Ecclestone
Given their love affair with Australia, their importance to the development of modern metal and the length of time it's been since Fear Factory last toured here in their own right, it was hardly so very surprising that a very sizeable crowd had rocked up to the Entertainment Quarter to catch them this evening, even if it was a Thursday.
The doors opened on Adelaide's Truth Corroded, who first went out with the LA quartet back in 98 or so. Since then they have evolved into a crushing melodic death metal band, with enough catchy grooves and harmonies to get the most jaded moving. Unfortunately they fell victim to the Sydney HiFi's diabolical sound curse tonight and for most of the set all that could be heard were triggers and Jason North's vocals, with the rest of the band a dull roar underneath; the guitar solos were extremely thin and the overbearing triggers made most of their songs sound all alike. Truth Corroded really are one of our best and they deserve much better than the cruddy mix they got here tonight, although it was pleasing to see that some of the early comers appreciated them nonetheless, and good on them for rocking the shirts of other local bands.
By the time Thy Art is Murder took the stage the HiFi had filled up nicely. Tonight's crowd wasn't the swarm of pit-ninjas that this band may have become used to on previous tours and it was clear they weren't everyone's cup of beer ("The dude is wearing a Meshuggah shirt, so obviously they must be cool," spake one disinterested punter), but like Truth Corroded these guys are serious road warriors now. With the hulking frame of CJ McMahon out front they were fearsomely heavy even if the technical chops got lost in the mix that still wasn't totally sorted out. What was clear is that this band has come a long way from the garbled and repetitive deathcore of their first recording into a mature and much more dynamic band that is pretty well impressive live, although it seemed a little ironic that early song "Infinite Death" was the stand-out of the set.
Anyone who can't acknowledge Fear Factory's influence on the last twenty years of metal is simply in denial and those who came along thinking they could no longer deliver were about to be proved wrong. "The Industrialist" was met with a roar of anticipation but this was a mere warm-up, a preliminary round before the main event. "Shock" exploded like a grenade in a pre-school and blew away all doubt - Fear Factory have lost none of their potency and the HiFi was in for some punishment at the hands of a clinical and precise metal machine. "Edgecrusher" and "Smasher/Devourer" followed with a crushing rapacity, stirring the centre of the floor into an old-school moshpit. . The setlist played out like a showcase of each album, with two tracks from Mechanize following the three from Obsolete and then, with Bell's invitation to "bounce a bit" "Linchpin" was Digimortal's sole offering, but apparently a highly popular choice by the way the roof was almost lifted off in response. Around the edges of the room and towards the back the sound still suffered, something that seems to plague every single performance in this venue, but in the middle and on the verge of the pit it was by now as close to perfect as it gets here.
Roaming the stage with an agility that belies his size, Dino Cazares' ferocious riff arsenal was relentless and tight, with Matt DeVries thickening out the sound with lock-step bass lines, only really noticable when he suffered a technical problem late in the set. Burton C. Bell's hate machine vocals were a powerful and solid roar. His cleans wavered a little over the course of the night, but with the crowd echoing every line he barely needed to sing at all most of the time. When he paused to introduce Soul of a New Machine into the set with a reminder that it was the album's twentieth anniversary, the show was more than halfway through without a single drop in intensity. Then came the moment most had likely been waiting for, one that the band had deliberately held back until it could be restrained no longer. "Demanufacture"descended like the vengeful hand of a god and if the place was nuts before, now it was bedlam. It was like the mid-90s had never ended. Have Fear Factory produced a better masterpiece than "Self Bias Resistor" with its crushing riff, soaring melody and perfect mosh groove? Could they have delivered it any better than they did this evening? The furious blasphemy of "Pisschrist" pounded the room like a jackhammer, yielding at last to a glorious version of "Zero Signal". There was now only one song left to hear to make this the almost perfect night of metal entertainment. Fear Factory did not disappoint, ripping the crowd apart with "Replica" to finish the night, leaving the HiFi crowd decimated and chanting along to the Simple Minds anthem "(Don't You) Forget About Me" as it kicked in through the PA like the weirdest and most unexpected ending to a night of metal brutality ever. Fear Factory pulled off a consummate performance tonight, a solid affirmation of their reputation as one of the most important heavy bands of the last two decades.
Self Bias Resistor
To browse a complete A-Z list of Loud Magazine’s music reviews, please click here