Fear Factory @ Club Sound

Posted May 27, 2010 in
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Fear Factory
Club Sound
with Prong, Silent Civilian and Thy Will Be Done

Fear Factory is one of those bands I'd do anything to see live, no matter how many times I've seen them before. I started listening to Fear Factory as a teenager, and despite some lackluster albums, line-up changes and even a period of being officially broken up, I've always been a fan for reasons that I cannot fully comprehend. Fear Factory shows have transpired around moments of turmoil in my life and given me an outlet to unleash anger, frustration and mental anguish. Their shows have also allowed me to share the music I felt so strongly about with family and friends, including a highly memorable excursion to Las Vegas—my first out-of-town trip with my then-girlfriend, who is now my fantastic wife. The first time I saw the band at the Tower Theater, I was a teenage dad with new car payment and I had just lost my job. Fortunately, my frustrations that could've been released on family and friends or myself were unleashed by screaming along to Burton C. Bell's apocalyptic and angry lyrics—it was a release that only a Fear Factory show could provide. Later Fear Factory shows allowed me to deal with a life-changing traumatizing attack on my life, the loss of my mother and with this latest show, a few family events that had me feeling in the blue zone. Friday, May 21st was a night of demonic and anger exorcisms that made my sore neck the next day a welcome and miniscule pain, no matter how much it hurt.

I almost didn't even make it to the show and didn't even know about it until a few hours before the show. I was out of town and returned to find out that Fear Factory were playing Club Sound in just a few hours—the normal tiredness from the trip turned into massive excitement. Unfortunately, I had nowhere close to the ticket amount to get in. But being a SLUG writer has its perks and I have to hand a huge thanks to SLUG and the Club Sound crew for getting me into the show at the last minute. It made a fun yet stressful week even better.

I arrived at the show early, anxious to get a taste of all the bands playing the "Fear Campaign," tour. First up was a band unknown to me: Rhode Island's Thy Will Be Done. Right out of the gate I knew this band wasn't my particular cup of tea, being a metalcore band with breakdowns and some fairly standard guitar melodies mixed with their chugging and grunting. I watched from afar to observe how the crowd received the band. As the opening act on a four-band bill, Thy Will Be Done had a tough task, but got the crowd moshing and banging. The vocalist had good crowd interaction and got the venue's audience to get their horns up in tribute to fallen heavy metal hero Ronnie James Dio.

Next up on a night that displayed just how much the scene has changed yet stayed the same was Silent Civilian. Ironically, Spineshank, the former nu-metal project of Silent Civilian vocalist Jonny Santos, was one of the opening acts of that very first Fear Factory show I saw. Silent Civilian dished out their melodic thrash and metalcore goods to a continuingly energetic crowd. I moved closer to the stage near the end of Silent Civilian's set to solidify myself a front spot not only for Fear Factory, but also because another teenage favorite band of mine, Prong, was up next.

Before Prong hit the stage, the music hadn't gotten into my actual blood and guts, but that all changed. Tommy Victor, the only remaining original member, plus current touring members drummer Alexei Rodriguez (Three Inches of Blood/Walls of Jericho) and bassist Tony Campos bassist of Static X (another band I had seen open for Fear Factory) hit the stage and the massive, trademarked thrash, groove and punk/hardcore style of Prong began pulsating from the speakers. The show officially started getting damn good with Prong dishing out classics such as "Beg to Differ," "Whose Fist is this Anyway?" and the essential classic metal anthem "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck." Prong offered some long overdue head-banging mayhem fest that only got me that much more riled up to see Fear Factory.

Onto the main event: good old Fear Factory. This was my sixth time seeing the band live, and my excitement level before they hit the stage was the same as always: high and anxiety inducing. For the band's newest album (Mechanize) and tour, the line-up brought back original guitarist Dino Cazares and drummer Gene Hoglan, known for playing in Death, Dark Angel, Strapping Young Lad and more recently Dethklok. Fear Factory started their set off with the title track of the new record, which is a fairly decent cut, but the band was off. There were some sound kinks still being worked out with the drums and Fear Factory vocalist Burton C. Bell sounded a bit weaker than usual in his screams. The crowd's energy stuck strong despite the flawed first song. Next up was the crowd pleaser "Shock," which revealed the Fear Factory I have come to know and love—it was like they hadn't changed since 1998 when Obsolete was released. While three new songs were played, songs from the two albums that didn't feature Dino Cazares were not played during the set. The band dished out the energy like it was something tangible and the crowd stayed bonkers the whole time, myself included. You know it's a good show when you can hear the crowd singing almost as loudly as the vocals coming through the amplification system. In the end, Fear Factory stuck with a solid and known set-list and really didn't do anything they hadn't done before, but that's what I went in expecting and left only with satisfaction.