Artist: Fear Factory
Venue: Irving Plaza
Opener: Soilwork, Strapping Young Lad, Darkane
Label: Calvin Records
Hot off the heels of their support of Megadeth with their appearance on Gigantour, Fear Factory was back with a headlining set. For the fans this band has this would be a welcome thing as Fear Factory was one of those Gigantour bands that was only afforded 30 minutes of performance time and this is just not enough to have when you are a band of this capacity. They also made sure to bring along some incredible groups as support and to give every fan their money’s worth without question. They labeled this “The Transgression Tour” which was smartly going to keep the name of their new album fresh in your mind. Joining Fear Factory on the tour would be Darkane, Strapping Young Lad and Soilwork. All of these bands are under the Century Media Records family in some fashion. Here is a little about each band for easier reference.
Darkane: This Nuclear Blast Records artist brings a different level of precision to their delivery of the technical Metal that they perform. The group released “Layers Of Lies” and this CD is a brutal effort. They have a sound that is along the lines of Soilwork and this made them fit very well on the tour. They would only perform for about 30 minutes but the audience certainly ate them up and this is good when you are first up out of four bands. If you have not heard this CD yet, make sure you give it a sample listen for I think this band will be making some appearances on tours in 2006. They are certainly worthy of the attentions and support. Due to the terrible lighting used during their performance I was unable to capture any pictures of them as they played. I am sure I will get the chance in the future.
Strapping Young Lad: Witnessing Devon Townsend and the guys in Strapping Young Lad is an introduction to Metal insanity. I caught SYL as part of the “Sounds Of The Underground 2005” tour over the Summer and this is really one of those bands that you have to experience in person. Townsend is a madman onstage and he comes out immediately berating the audience with off-color names and comments and all the while the audience is screaming for more. Their latest album “Alien” on Century Media Records is an explosive collection of Metal riffs and drumming. On the kit is Gene Hogland who is a monster player and does things on the drums that will rattle your bones. He is also not the stereotypically proportioned drummer and instead a giant that makes you wonder how he moves that fast. Metal fans might also find this interesting as Strapping bassist Byron Stroud does double duty with this band and Fear Factory as well. On a show like this he has his work cut out for them. The music delivery of SYL is something that does need to be more in the public eye as it’s a great level of heavy. Devon often yells to the crowd that they will now perform the only song they know by the band and with this perform “Love”. He is not far from the truth to the new listener but after your introduction to them you will find yourself investigating further. It’s an interesting adventure to say the least.
Soilwork: I first caught Soilwork at their recent headlining tour which was in support of their “Stabbing The Drama” album. This tour also featured Mnemic, Hypocrisy and Dark Tranquility and it was easy to find yourself blown away by their overall intensity that night. Very simply put this is a band that is getting a long overdue amount of attention over here in the States and every cheer from the audience is well-deserved. At the onset of their performance with their opener “Stabbing The Drama” from the album of the same name it was apparent by the audience reaction that this band was going to be in command for awhile. There is tightness to the technical Metal that Soilwork brings to the table and guitarist Peter Wichers is a stellar guitarist that shines on every tune. Speed, their lead singer does a great job in holding the audience in his grasp for the set which also featured tunes like “Lord Of The Flies”. Soilwork is one of the best examples of this type of Metal and I hope to see them in a headlining set once again in the near future.
Fear Factory: As I mentioned earlier, Fear Factory had just finished a successful run on the Gigantour but similar to Nevermore and Symphony X they only performed for 30 minutes. Tonight there would be a full and killer set as they touched upon new and old material. Their latest release “Transgression” is a really good album that fans must listen to a couple of times before writing it off. There are some covers on it that might place the most hard core Metal head aback. It is not typical to what fans might expect, but there is a number of thrashing moments that bring it back old school around the CD. Lead singer Burton Bell certainly is a great front man who keeps everyone on the edge of excitement during the set. The show was completely sold out which is always a plus and as soon as the band began the moshing was in full sway. Wolbers does a fine job on guitar as Herrera does on drums (a brutal fast player by the way on top of this). Stroud did not seem to lose any steam from his earlier performance with Strapping and you have to admire the ability to play two sets of intense Metal in one evening. This is not a neighborhood cover band type of setting and requires a lot more energy and drive. The best part for me was getting to see the full length set this time around. Those who designed Gigantour need to re-assess the lineup times for some of the name acts before doing launching their next one. I had heard that Bell was not feeling well this evening but I hardly noticed as the band went on to perform for almost two hours.
I have to say that this was one of those overall great shows with every single band being impressive and performing to the greatest they could for the fans in attendance. So often you are cheated by either having a lackluster supporting lineup or performance from the major who is unhappy with the venue, sales, response or something. This was not the case tonight and watching everyone leave the venue in total exhaustion was further proof of well-done show. Check out these artists latest albums as we referenced them for you to do so. Metal is back in the underground and this fact is something that will allow it to remain pure, unadulterated and brutal.
Fear Factory Set List:
1. 540,000 Degrees Fahrenheit
3. Slave Labor
5. Self Bias Resistor
6. Zero Signal
10. Big God
14. Acres Of Skin