10

Cyber thrashing mad

By the time Fear Factory hit the stage the venue was bulging and ready for some more ear breaking thrash, even the ear plug ($0.50 each) vending machine was still full (no kidding). I don't want to go on a Fear Factory rant, but I'll just say that I was a little apprehensive about their show for fear they'd rely heavily on their dour new album 'Transgression'. My fears were quashed because apart from '540,000 Fahrenheit' and 'Transgression', it was a trip through the Factory vaults.

'Demanufacture' kicked the huge crowd into a thrashing frenzy, the quality of the song, the riffage and the melodies simply embarrass the brand new material. Off came Burton's t-shirt to show off his impressive array of tattoos, however he was a little in-animated choosing to stick to the front monitors rather than embrace the crowd. Bass player Byron Stroud and guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers remained fairly static however the Fear Factory rhythms aren't the easiest to play plus the great collection of songs they have their disposal don't always require such frantic movement. 'Self Bias Resistor', in my opinion Fear Factory's greatest four minutes, carried on the crowd frenzy started by 'Demanufacture'. It was at this point however that I realised what was wrong with the show up to this point. Fear Factory were one of the first bands to incorporate the shout/clean vocal technique, Burton's clear melodies being unique and catchy are still a cut above most of the competition, however tonight they were all out of tune. He was clearly struggling, his voice often breaking up if the notes were very high. The growling and shouting was on top form, however for a professional singer his performance should have been better.

Drummer Raymond Herrera must be a cyborg, for his beats and rhythms are that of a drum machine and not a real man. The mix was excellent allowing the grinding rhythm work of the band to showcase just how tight they are. 'Shock', 'Descent' and the ball busting 'Edgecrusher' followed to more crowd frenzy, but it was after this point that Fear Factory let themselves down again. Their choice to play 'ScumGrief' and 'Acres of Skin' was a poor one. The edge of the gig was lost for the simple reason that they're not particularly good songs. With only three tracks from the awesome 'Archetype' album and an already over long set I couldn't see the reason why these tracks were included. 'Cyberwaste' and 'Archetype' upped the energy once more but for me, the excitement was lost. Apart from the shortcomings this was a great show and a brilliant package. Four great bands for only $17 (10) and over four and a half hours of thrash metal. Bliss.