Fear Factory @ Koko, Camden
18th December 2012
Review by Caitlin Smith
Photos by Michelle Murphy
With the release of the new album The Industrialist this summer, Industrial metal titans, Fear Factory, return to London for the final show in their European tour.
Fear Factory have a mixed reputation when it comes to live performance, particularly with the clean vocal parts, which left me wondering how Bell’s voice would stand up after 7 weeks on tour. This however, does not deter the hardcore fans, with a queue already forming when I arrived 2 hours before doors for an interview with the band.
The Koko had opted for the festive feel at the entrance with a pair of slightly bedraggled looking Christmas trees draped in bright decorations in the corners, which somehow seemed to perfectly set the tone that night.
Sacred Mother Tongue
Sacred Mother tongue [2.5/5] was first up.
Having thought of them as a hardcore band I was surprised to hear touches of classic heavy metal prevalent in their set that night.
The set was short but sweet, only lasting half an hour, however this avoided a repetitive sound that would have come with a longer set. An entertaining opening that warmed up nicely for the next band on the bill.
Coming all the way from the Netherlands, Textures [2.5/5] seemed to appeal more to the crowd with a distinctly heavier sound than the previous artist.
Textures are a band that relies heavily on precision and a well-rehearsed performance, and they had evidently put the work in for tonight.
With a replacement of the vocalist and a new album, Dualism out all within the last couple of years, this band was out to impress.
Another short set, but it definitely made an impact.
Fear Factory [3.5/5] arrive onstage dead on time and launch into an onslaught of older material. The traditional songs like Digimortal and Replica whip the crowd up into a frenzy, and the addition of a rarely played cover, Cars, is a fun interlude in the set, particularly when Bell starts attempting to moon walk at the back of the stage.
Having seen Fear Factory twice before and both times being slightly disappointed by their live sound, I was surprised to hear real progression in the band. This new line up seems to gel better compared to other shows I have seen them play. Perhaps it’s the fact it’s the end of the 7-week tour, or that they are just connect better, but musically, they pulled out a tight performance adding real impact to their more technical and groove-based songs.
Another big improvement is Dino’s guitar playing; the addition of pinch harmonics, solos and the new 8-string guitar, create a crushingly heavy sound that could rival many of the death metal bands out there today.
The disappointment of the evening are Bell’s vocals, which are obviously too tired to perform. Although clean singing has never been his strong point, this show he is partially out of tune and unable to hit many of the high notes. With the main growled vocals still holding however, they make it through the set without too much trouble, still managing to provide an enjoyable performance.
Fear Factory may have their ups and downs when performing, but this show suggests that they are in a better place then ever as a band and still have a lot more to give to come in the future.
What Will Become?
Cars (Gary Numan cover)
Self Bias Resistor