Support Acts: Textures & Sacred Mother Tongue
London Koko, Tuesday the 18st of December 2012
Review by Yiannis (John) Stefanis
Photos by Fabiola Santini
Five years ago, the possibility of having vocalist Burton C.Bell and guitarist Dino Cazares share the same stage, especially with Fear Factory, would have sounded unlikely, but time heals even the deepest of wounds. Hands were shaken, hugs were exchanged and the creative fire behind albums like “Demanufacture” (1995) and “Obsolete” (1998) began to burn bright again, culminating in the release of this year’s impressive opus “The Industrialist”. After seven whole months on the road, the tour that saw them share the same stage with the Canadian sensation Devin Townsend has finally come to end, not, however, before visiting the capital of theUnited Kingdomfor an extensive headlining show – one I had been looking forward to for a while.
Courtesy of the ever so helpful AFM records PR rep in theUK, I managed to conduct an interview with Dino Cazares (check our Interviews section) after which I made my way to the venue, early enough to watch the set of both support acts which is quite achievement for me nowadays. First to go on stage was the Northampton-based Hardcore/Metal quartet Sacred Mother Tongue – a band whose solid/massive riffs I found to be quite to my liking. Darrin South is a very commanding frontman who seemed quite willing to pace every inch of Koko’s stage but sadly the sound provided to them was too loud and did nothing for the music on offer. I really hope that next time I catch up with these guys it will be in a more fitting venue, since they come across as a band to watch.
Nuclear Blast-sponsored Dutch progsters Textures were the second supporting act and recent exposure in many popular UK magazines and online sites helped ensure that the Koko’s ‘dance floor’ was much busier in comparison to when Sacred Mother Tongue were performing their set. By that stage, the sound was much improved and the crowd more receptive but sadly I never managed to really connect with the material, most of which came from the band’s 2011 release “Dualism”. The material felt way too complex for its own good and I believe that I was not the only person thinking that what these lads are trying to do is being done much better by bands like Meshuggah, for example. Three songs into the band’s set I was feeling quite disengaged and went out of the venue for a short break.
Half an hour or so later, I purposefully found a spot away from the centre of the ‘dance floor’, knowing full well how violent and expansive Fear Factory circle pits can be, and with pen and paper to hand looked forward to what I hoped would turn out to be a great show. Burton, Cazares and their remaining ‘hired guns’ hit the stage nine thirty on the dot, with the frontman screaming “London, we are Fear Factory” and the band made its presence felt immediately through a killer rendition of “The Industrialist”. For a group that’s been on the road for seven whole months, they had plenty of energy to spare, constantly pacing the stage and connecting with their loud and pretty responsive fans – fans whose heads banged in unison throughout songs like “Shock” and “Edgecrusher”. London has always treated Fear Factory kindly in the past and tonight was to be no exception – something that Burton C.Bell acknowledged openly and frequently throughout the show. When in “Smasher/Devourer” he screamed “London, get those hands in the air”, the response was immediate and his decision to introduce “Linchpin” through the words “I want to see everybody move” created havoc in the circle pit. The passion was there, the energy was there, the only thing that didn’t go as planned wasBurton’s clear vocal performances which, at times, sounded pretty off key – very strange, coming from the man whose career was pretty much defined by his ability to perform his brutal and clean vocals in an equally convincing fashion. I was pretty pleased to see the band perform “Resurrection”, a song I grew quite fond of these last couple of years, and their cover of Gary Numan’s “Cars” also went down quite well with the crowd. The two songs that received the most passionate response were “Martyr” and “Demanufacture”, the latter surprisingly dedicated to the band’s ex label Roadrunner while the anthemic “Zero Signal” and the all-time classic “Replica” provided a fitting ending to what turned out to be a very successful live performance.
Fear Factory are genre-definers and, as such, it is their task to demand maximum loyalty from their fans. While the reviews you will find on the Internet relating to “The Industrialist” provide mixed messages, tonight’s attendance at the Koko suggests that the band’s fans are truly supportive of Bell an Cazares’ artistic vision and, hopefully, that support will lead to more top quality releases in the near future, providing, of course, that Mayan rumours of the world’s impending doom are proven incorrect…all fingers crossed.
Fear Factory Set List:
- “The Industrialist”
- “What Will Become”
- “Fear Camp”
- “Cars (Cover)”
- “Self Immolation”
- “Self Bias Resistor”
- “Zero Signal”
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