Concert Reviews

Fear Factory - Static-X - Obliveon
Apr 2nd 1999

They were supposed to play in January, but then the band had all their gear stolen in Philly. The Montreal show has been canceled! Ahhhh!! Thank goodness they decided to come back, and that our tickets for the January show were still valid. Thus set the stage for last nights' concert.

The show opened with the local boys Obliveon, who played a quick set consisting of 'Downward', 'Android Succubus', 'Nemesis', 'Dynamo', 'Cybervoid', and 'Biomechanique'. They also played one track off their new album which is being recorded right now, however, the song really didn't seem to go anywhere, and seemed a little too derivative. I won't comment on it further until I hear the album version. The performance was good, some really nice synchronized playing and good chugging guitar sound, although the drums were way too soft, and the band really didn't jump around much, they mainly just stood there, as though they were a bit bored (especially the vocalist).

Anyways, next came a new band called Static-X, who played a Coal Chamber / Rob Zombie cross over thing. They had some nice riffs and hooks, but zero originality, and plus I think a lot of the drums were a drum machine, and possibly some of the guitar parts and vocals too.

Finally, Fear Factory appeared. The stage is covered with artwork from Dave McKean, giant posters, and model sperm attached to microphones and amplifiers. The band hits with 'Shock', and then proceeds through a multitude of songs, including 'New Breed', 'Zero Signal', 'Self Bias Resistor', 'Edgecrusher', 'Smasher / Devourer', 'Securitron', 'Descent', 'Scumgrief', 'Pisschrist', and 'Resurrection'. (especially apt, as my friend pointed out, was the ending of 'Pisschrist' where Burton kept yelling "Where is your savior now?" and today is good friday afterall.)

The band certainly seemed happy to be here, Dino and Christian kept leaping around the stage like frogs. Burton was definitely into the music, changing from growls to clean singing on a dime. Raymond the drummer is an impressive man, biceps and thighs the size of large melons. This guy was buff. And they had a keyboardist adding all the required samples and string parts.

The sound was only ok. The kick drums were not as loud as I'd like them, and the guitar / bass sound was a little muddy. The vocals effects were perfect though, with just the right amount of reverb and delay.

The tightness of the band is a difficult subject to tackle. On CD, the band is the most precise group I have ever heard, when they cut off a note, it's gone, and they're timing is perfect. Live, they're not nearly as tight. The band tends to rush areas of songs, miss the occasional note, and they don't cut off notes nearly as well. In general, the band sounds much more like they're having fun up there than trying to be precise. Which is good and bad, I suppose. Good because live music is supposed to be just that, it's supposed to breath and have a life of it's own. But it's bad, because so much of what Fear Factory is is brutal precision, mechanical and robotic timing.

Anyways, after leaving the stage, they came back on for an extended encore of 'Demanufacture', 'Martyr', then a medley of songs from other bands (including 'Walk' from Pantera, 'Angel of Death' from Slayer, 'Roots' from Sepultura, 'Thunder Kiss '65' from White Zombie, etc.), then they ended everything with 'Replica' and 'Scapegoat'.

If you're looking for the super precise Fear Factory of the CD, you might walk away a bit disappointed, but the live Fear Factory do know how to put on a good show with excellent staging, lighting, and great tunes.

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