After 15 years of my insane fandom, and 20 years after the release of their landmark album Demanufacture, FEAR FACTORY was finally playing a show in my neck of the woods (if almost an hour away counts?). Not only that, they were doing said record in its entirety along with seven hits from other releases. You kidding me with this?!? I damn near floored it to Reverb in Reading, PA for this historic Friday Night show. Oh, and did I mention that Sweden’s own SOILWORK was direct support? By the way, we did stop for some gigantic slices at our favorite, Maria’s Pizza but after that it was time for metal!
First thing that got my attention was how packed the place was. I’ve been there several times and never had to weave my way through so many people before. It’s always great to see metal bands bringing in a large number of fans, especially ones that have been around a long time like SOILWORK and FEAR FACTORY. After some breakdown-heavy group that basically played the same thing over and over the crowd was ready for SOILWORK. Now, I’m a fan of these guys and I figured I’d enjoy their set, right? What I was NOT prepared for was how fucking intense they are live, and how MUCH I enjoyed their set!
Songs like “The Ride Majestic”, “Nerve”, “Stabbing the Drama”, and “Let This River Flow” stomped a mudhole in the crowd, which was completely made up of die-hards. If there were any casual fans I didn’t see them. One guy in particular who looked like he stepped out of a designer jeans catalog was going nuts, screaming along to every word, slapping the bar, and fist bumping everyone in sight, including my friends Bobby, Steve and me several times. But the real treat for me was classic tune “Late For the Kill, Early For the Slaughter.” It was one of my favorite songs from the band, but after Friday night it is now THE favorite. Vocalist Björn “Speed” Strid’s delivery was one of the finest I’ve seen all year and capped off an amazing band performance.
Up next was FEAR FACTORY doing the set we’ve all been waiting for: Demanufacture, start to finish. Vocalist Burton C. Bell, guitarist Dino Cazares, bassist Tony Campos, and drummer Mike Heller took the stage at Reverb to a hero’s welcome and immediately launched into the title track followed by “Self Bias Resistor”. As they blazed through one song after another I couldn’t wait for my double-whammy of “New Breed” and “Dog Day Sunrise”, my two favorites for years, and they were perfect…just perfect. Other highlights from the record for me included “Hunter-Killer” and “Pisschrist”.
More of the faithful were screaming every word to every song; they truly are a fan’s band, which is awesome. After a few minutes the guys delved into some other tracks from Obsolete, like “Edgecrusher” and “Shock”. If that last one doesn’t get you ready to throw something or someone through a wall or window, you clearly have no pulse. After the Archetype title track, they hammered us with a few from latest album Genexus (if you don’t have it, go get it!!). “Soul Hacker”, “Dialectric”, and “Regenerate” mowed us down in short order before the final blow was struck with “Martyr” from debut Soul of a New machine. Wow…just wow.
All in all I’d call this one a rousing success. Great food, cold brews, a packed house full of rabid fans, and song after song of metal greatness made FEAR FACTORY and SOILWORK the perfect way for A&GS to spend a Friday Night. There are twenty shows left on this historic tour. Dates and tickets can be found HERE. Do yourself a favor and GO!!
LIVE WORDS: THE MAESTRO
LIVE PHOTOS: MIKE SIEVILA PHOTOGRAPHY