Over The Weekend: Fear Factory at the House of Blues

Fear Factory, Winds of Plague, Dirge Within, Periphery, By Any Means Necessary
House of Blues
March 26, 2010

Better Than: The mid-season finale of Caprica. Dammit Joe, who's gonna call out for Tamara now?

With all the stage lights turned off, Fear Factory appeared on the stage at the House of Blues on Friday night, ushered in by Toto's title theme for Dune and a distorted electronic voice. The next hour and a half saw the influential band traverse back and forth through its long musical library.

Fear Factory warmed up the crowed with the titular track of Mechanized and signature tracks out of Obsolete--"Shock," "Smasher/Devourer" and "Edgecrusher." Not surprisingly, for that last one, the crowd shouted the chorus "Break of the Edgecrusher" with great vigor.

The band's senior members, amply-sized axeman Dino Cazares and vocalist Burton C. Bell, shared the stage and dominated the audience interaction. Along the set, Cazares broke out a guitar designed after the Mexican flag, which got a cheer from the Latinos in the audience.

At that moment, it would have fit well to pull out a track from one of Cazares' Spanish-language projects. It didn't happen, but no biggie.

A brief buzzkill occurred after a beer from the audience hit esteemed drummer and Dallas local Gene Hoglan. Dino paused the show to calm the crowd and diffuse the situation.

Whoever threw the beer receptacle may have been motivated by recent band politics: Original members Christian Olde Wolbers and Raymond Hererra recently took legal action for not being invited back into Fear Factory after Cazares and Bell buried the hatchet and restarted the band. Nevertheless, throwing stuff was kind of a dick move. While I too would have liked the original lineup back as much as other fans, seeing half of the Fear Factory I grew up with is better than nothing. Also, messing with a talented drummer like Gene Hoglan is not cool.

Anyway, the show went on.

The peak of the set was a trio of songs out of Demanufacture--the titular track, alongside classics "Zero Signal" and " Self-Bias Resister"--which put the mosh pit into its most frenzied of night.

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Fear Factory ended the night with the notable hit "Linchpin" and the classic track "Replica".

A few up-and-comers made up the opening acts: Winds of Plague delivered a deathcore sound with symphonic elements lifted from Dimmu Borgir; Dirge Within gave a sound influenced by Dying Fetus and Hatebreed and won points for both the best crowd interaction of the night and the best usage of the House of Blues' lighting system. Periphery, meanwhile, delivered a progressive metal sound in the vein of Textures and Meshuggah, and its vocals from Spencer Sotelo sold the set quite well; and Austin youngsters By Any Means Necessary opened the night with a sound mixing thrash and a sprinkle of Vision of Disorder.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I guess I gave this away earlier, but I grew up listening to Fear Factory.

By The Way: Fear Factory is in no way related to the haunted house called the Fear Factory Insanitarium in The Colony. And that's a shame.  A technology-inspired horror house would be awesome. Imagine Tetsuo II: Body Hammer or Pandorum in real life...

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