Live at The Whisky a Go Go
June 10th, 2011
Review and photos by Travis Baumann
Fear Factory have been carving out sonic destruction for over twenty years and are considered one of the most influential innovators of industrial metal music in the world. Having listened to them for so many years, I was eagerly anticipating seeing them live, especially now that Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares have rejoined forces after many years apart.
While Fear Factory's early sound may lie in more of a Death Metal style, they really stood out from the crowd when they began incorporating more Industrial elements with the help of Rhys Fulber of Frontline Assembly fame. I am a huge Industrial fan so when I first heard about Rhys' involvement on Demanufacture in the mid '90s I started listening to the band and have been a fan ever since.
Many albums later and many ups and downs for the band have brought them full circle with a new album that kicks major ass and combines the signature sounds of Fear Factory. Dino's staccato, rhythmic guitar riffs, pulsing drums, deep electronic bass lines, and of course Burton's signature vocals; blending both harsh and clean lyrical delivery that has influenced entire sub-genres of metal music, deliver intelligent and articulate brutality in the form of the new release, "Mechanize".
They started off the set with the title track from their new album and the small historic venue on the Sunset Strip went wild. The crowd filled the place to capacity and once the rhythmic drive of the guitars, bass, and drums hit, they moved.
The set list would then move in blocks from album to album. They went into a selection of songs from the awesome "Obsolete" album that originally debuted in 1998. They did "Shock", "Edgecrusher" which is one of my favorite songs from their older stuff, and "Smasher/Devourer" off of this release. This is one of their seminal releases from that era and it was really cool to get to see these songs live.
They moved onto the 2001 released "Digimortal" album for "Acres of Skin" and one of their most well known songs, "Linchpin". Burton's lyrics deal a lot with man versus machine in the early material moving into man melding with machine to become inseparable.
I love seeing new material when a band is touring and I was not disappointed. They moved onto "Mechanize" for a nice grouping of songs that included what has become my all time favorite track of theirs, "Powershifter". They continued with "Fear Campaign" and "Christploitation" off of this release.
Moving way back in time, they played "Martyr" and "Scapegoat" off of their 1992 debut release, "Soul of a New Machine". The crowd really went crazy for these two, stirring up a massive mosh pit in the confined club, sending many of us flying back into the bar area as the fans slammed into one another.
The show already was turning out to have a dream set list but they upped it even further by dedicating the last portion of their time on the legendary album, "Demanufacture". They started off with the title track off of it and then moved in album order to "Self Bias Resistor" and "Zero Signal". They finished with "H-K (Hunter-Killer)" and "Replica".
It was an amazing performance and whipped the entire audience into a frenzy. They pretty much touched on all of my favorite songs, the only one that I would have loved to hear would be the out of character, "Human Shields" which is an epic Industrial anthem but sadly they just don't play material from "Archetype" or "Transgression" which is the era that Dino was not with the band.
For this concert we got Bryan Stroud of Strapping Young Ladd fame on bass and Gene Hoglan of Death, Strapping Young Ladd, Dark Angel, and Dethklok on drums so it was a great lineup for them to say the least.
I have always loved Dino's guitar style and sound and Burton's blend of harsh and melodic vocals so I am very glad they have reunited for this album and hope they keep putting albums out together. I had the chance to meet them at an in-store signing up the street before the show and let them know how much I appreciated their reunion and they were both really personable and cool guys too.
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