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X, Herford, Germany
23rd February 2010
Fear Factory, After All

‘Mechanize’, the first FEAR FACTORY record after the who-plays-with-whom-argy-bargy, is anything than bad, but surely no highlight either. Eons have passed since I saw them last time performing live, so the current tour offered the perfect chance to see, what FEAR FACTORY is still about, how the new line-up works together and if the old strengths are still convincing.

After All

Support were Belgian old school thrasher gents AFTER ALL, also announced Metalcore act NEAERA had actually to cancel its part. Unfortunately they did not post that on their homepage, so that a couple of fans were pretty disappointed when they got aware of this fact at the club X in Herford. Even worse were some rarely offered merchandise goods like guitar strings and brazenness’s like the current album for 20 Euros! Well, who is in need… /

Music & Performance
AFTER ALL entered stage on time to a hardly filled location. I’m not sure if the organizers just deleted the second support band from the time schedule, but another half hour of wait wouldn’t have done any harm. On the other hand, that wouldn’t have made the show of the Belgian retro-thrashers more successful. Their style just didn’t match the musical predator pattern of the attendees. I personally liked the band’s last record 'Cult of Sin' but their Bay Area-tinged material did not suite the headliners music. Unfortunately, AFTER ALL most times acted a little bit stiff, although the stage was big enough to rock out properly. Musically, AFTER ALL played songs from the last three records, but what got stuck was the great vocal performance of new singer Sammy Peleman. He did not sound as raw as his predecessor, more in the direction of David R. White (Heathen), what greatly suits the band’s style. Developable show but ok for a warm-up.

01. My Own Sacrifice
02. Frozen Skin
03. Land Of Sin
04. Devastation Done
05. Betrayed by the Gods
06. Ruins of Bones
07. Forgotten

Music: 7
Performance: 7
Sound: 6
Light: 8
Total: 7 / 10

Fear Factory

Formed in Los Angeles in 1990, FEAR FACTORY entered the metal scene with a crushing debut with 1992’s ‘Soul of a New Machine’. Combining death metal with an industrial influence, the original line-up of vocalist Burton C. Bell, drummer Raymond Herrera, guitarist Dino Cazares and bassist Andrew Shives was onto something that had not been widely explored. Summer of 2005 sees the band preparing to release their fifth studio album, ‘Transgression’. Unfortunately, the album has really bad reviews and FEAR FACTORY decide to change their line-up again. Now, they are back with Dino Cazares and the new output ‘Mechanize’. /

Music & Performance
Also FEAR FACTORY kicked off on time. Although the location was now pretty crowded, but far away from being sold out, the feedback on the first song 'Mechanize' remained restrained. Ok, that might be due to the fact that fans are still not familiar with the new album. But next up was the classic 'Shock' and nothing changed. 'Edgecrusher' afterwards finally managed to wake up the audience from its lethargy. By no stretch of the imagination I would call the show a good one. Of course you saw experienced musicians, but neither bass player Byron Stroud nor legendary drummer Gene Hoglan seemed to be much motivated. They played competently, nothing more. As for Gene Hoglan it means that he was almost swinging his drum parts. Totally untouched he played tricky and fast stuff. It was utmost impressing to watch him drum.

All in all, the show was quite akinetic. Dino Cazares was the only one who tried to connect to the fans, while Burton C. Bell acted restrained. It took some time until he started to warm up. But one thing is clear: The longer break in touring Bell definitely did not use to work on his singing! That a tour hasn't got a particularly positive effect on the vocal cords is undoubted. The growls were ok, but how many times Burton failed during his clean singing really got on your nerves. Equally strange was how much material was canned. When it comes to keyboards and samples it’s comprehensible, but that also layered voices during refrains, hooks and melody lines (Dino only played the rhythm part) were imported… was odd.

Here I have to state that there are many bands out there, also with only one guitar player and layered singing, which solve that “problem” much better live on stage. However, musically FEAR FACTORY played an acceptable mix of all album releases Dino Cazares was involved in. Even the weak 'Digimortal' was considered with two songs. I think that especially 'Martyr' was a good example that the older material worked much better than newer stuff. Maybe it was due to all the stuff that came from the CD player. Besides, the band was thrashing through new 'Christploitation', and old 'Smasher-Devourer' material, while classics such as 'Resurrection' perfectly cheered the fans. After exactly one hour, the show was officially over with an encore of three songs after the crowd was screaming loud enough. According to the snatched setlist, also 'Zero Signal' and 'H-K' should have been played, but they weren't, maybe to spare Bells voice. So 'Replica' marked the very end of the show. I cannot help saying that this show was an ambivalent matter.

FEAR FACTORY acted terminally motivated and partly has reached the end of their possibilities, not playfully, but physically. To switch the side of stage in slow motion and to head bang a little bit is way not enough to deliver a good live performance! Most of the tracks are still great, but again the question is: Is that enough? To watch Gene Hoglan drumming was much entertaining, but the rest of the band failed at this completely. No idea if I’m right, but the crowd seemed to be likewise unmotivated. Also sound and lights left a lot to be desired. Maybe, this line-up still needs to grow together. What I got tonight did not make my mouth watering for another FEAR FACTORY show.

01. Mechanize
02. Shock
03. Edgecrusher
04. Smasher-Devourer
05. Acres of Skin
06. Linchpin
07. Powershifter
08. Fear Campaign
09. Martyr
10. Christploitation
11. Resurrection
12. Final Exit
13. Demanufacture
14. Self Bias Resistor
15. Replica 

Music: 7
Performance: 7
Sound: 6
Light: 8
Total: 7 / 10

All pictures by Dajana Winkel (

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