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Live Reviews : Fear Factory & Twelve Foot Ninja @ The Palace, Melbourne 07/07/2013

By on July 8, 2013

Photos: John Raptis (www.visceralindustry.com)

Words: Nick Tevelis

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DemTour

Eighteen years after its original release, “Demanufacture” is still considered the album that really defined industrial metal and established Fear Factory as one of the finest and most original acts to come out of the LA metal scene. It’s an album that many others have tried (and failed) to emulate and a record that really was the voice of many a metal fan at that time.

This recent Australian run is the first time the band has played this album in its entirety, and tonight it was Melbourne’s turn to see the Fear Factory machine in full effect on a bitingly cold Melbourne night…nothing new there.

Twelve Foot Ninja (11)

Tonight’s proceedings kicked off with local prog-tech metallers “12 Foot Ninja”. Having developed quite a reputation around the live scene since their first EP in 2008 this was the first time I had seen this band live. 12 Foot Ninja brings a certain energy to their performance which is hard to match or even define as all band members seems to be bounding about the stage and doing their own thing that it really makes it hard to know where to look at any one point. Musically this is technical prog of a very high standard. Their singer is a fantastic front-man and tried every trick in the book to get the crowd reacting and onside with the band. Through no fault of his own this was a very parochial Fear Factory crowd and it was a tough ask from the beginning. The crowd didn’t really respond to the band in a positive way through no fault of their own. They were just ravenous for the main course.

The crowd seemed to build out of nowhere during the change over so either they all came right on time, or the bars were overflowing with people during the opening acts set. Either way they were all here to see/hear a seminal 90’s metal album performed by a seminal 90’s metal band.

The double-kick drum intro heralding the beginning of “Demanufacture” was all it took to whip the Melbourne crowd into a frenzy before Dino Cazares even hit a note of that brutal intro riff. From the outset this was a band that was in fine form and tighter than anything we’d heard live in quite a while. Fear Factory only has two original band members nowadays in Burton C Bell (vocals) and Dino Cazares (guitar). They have been joined by Matt DeVries (bass) and Mike Heller (drums) to form the newest live version of FF but (for the crowd) tonight was all about Burton and Dino and their 1995 masterpiece.

The band tore through Demanufacture with an energy and mission as if it were there latest release. The entire album was played from start to finish in its original order with very few stops in between the songs. The band and the crowd both know, this was the only possible way to do justice to this album. Dino was on fire all night with his spitfire / robotic riffs and never missed a beat. Having seen the band without him in the past it’s obvious this band is at their best when Dino is at the helm guiding this industrial metal machine. His riffs really have defined a whole new genre and its clear why he’s the master of this field.Fear Factory (17)

Crowd favourites on the night were “Demanufacture”, Self-Bias Resistor”, “Hunter-Killer”, and the brutal “Replica”. Seeing it live, it’s amazing how well this album has held up over time and how fresh it still sounds today. The only real drawback of the night was the clean singing of Burton. Whilst his guttural singing is still a force to be reckoned with his clean vocals were rather off and weak in parts tonight. At some points his voice seemed to be cutting out as he struggled to reach those higher notes. Still, 18 years is a long time and maybe it’s a tad bit unfair to expect him to hit those same notes as he did on the original record (but Body hammer and Pisschrist would have been so much better tonight if he could). Another drawback (for me) were the drums which I feel were a little too programmed / triggered. Whilst the drummer was serviceable and did a good job the general consensus is that too many of the drums were actually pre-programmed which took a lot away from the live feel of the band. Could be time to give Gene Hoglan or Raymond Herrera a call again?

After the conclusion of a blistering “Demanufacture” set, the band came out for a 5-song encore. “Shock” and “Edgecrusher” resulted in one of the most frenzied and brutal mosh pits that the Palace has seen in its long and storied history. If rumours about the venue being demolished in the future are true then the FF crowd tonight probably did part of the job for the owners. “What Will Become?” and “Archetype” followed which was a poor choice given the album did not have Dino playing on the original and is also a record that the band has said they wouldn’t be playing live again in the future. Given this was a night about reminiscing a track off “Soul Of a New Machine” or the fantastic new album “Mechanize” might have been a better choice. All “Archetype” really did was take away some of the energy the crowd had built up during “Shock” and “Edgecrusher”. All was soon to be rectified though with a barnstorming end to the night in the form of “Martyr” from the fantastic “Soul of a New Machine” record.

Tonight was largely a trip back in time for many fans who hold Demanufacture and FF close to their hearts and hearing the album played from start to finish with such precision and bookended by some classics during the encore not too many fans could have left disappointed.

Fear Factory is one of the more consistent live bands and overall they delivered again tonight.

Setlist:

Demanufacture
Self Bias Resistor
Zero Signal
Replica
New Breed
Dog Day Sunrise
Body Hammer
Flashpoint
H-K (Hunter-Killer)
Pisschrist
A Therapy for Pain

Encore:

Shock
Edgecrusher
What Will Become?
Archetype
Martyr

 

About

Nick is a dedicated and lifelong metal / rock fan ever since he heard Kiss Alive when it first came out. His tastes extend from anything and everything from AOR, to power metal, to thrash, to death, to progressive rock / metal, to melodic rock. Chances are if the band exists....Nick knows of them! (some might say he's metal obsessed).