Fear Factory

support Textures
author PP date 25/08/16 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

One of the main advantages of Pumpehuset is its ability to upgrade or downgrade a show depending on ticket sales. Most of us expected industrial metal legends Fear Factory to play in the bigger hall upstairs, but having it half-full wouldn't have serviced anyone, so it's a welcome development to have the veterans appear in the much more intimate and packed setting of the downstairs venue instead. Based on the crowd size when Fear Factory gets on stage, it looks like the show might have sold out from door sales alone, a recipe for a wild crowd dynamic in a warm Thursday evening in Copenhagen.

Textures

Dutch djent metallers Textures are tagging along as a support throughout the European tour. They've been a frequent sight on the European circuit for the past twelve years or so, and as such it is not surprising to see a contingent of fans recognizing their material and going crazy up front, causing some havoc for those unprepared for the sudden pit opening. Tonight, they start with a lengthy, ominous droning intro that's clearly designed to set a modern metal mood with its foreshadowing ambiance, a suitable prelude to the down-tuned, chunky brand of djent/progressive metal Textures showcase tonight. On stage, the band is as tight as you'd expect a decade-old band to be, effortlessly engaging in synchronous headbanging that has the added effect of making the band look pretty damn evil on stage. Particularly the keyboardist strikes out with his violent circular headbanging on the back, but really, everyone in the band ensures there's something continuously happening on stage.

Stylistically, the down-tuned djent riffs are nicely contrasted with melodic overtones, both in terms of guitar tunes but especially in terms of clean vocals that add atmospherics to their music. Still, the majority of the material reverts to punishing chugging for the most part, which is why a song like "Awake" comes as a surprise considering how closely it echoes Incubus and other ambitious alternative rock bands from the 90s. We're then taken back all the way to the debut album "Polars" from 2003 with "Swandive", a distinctly more metalcore driven track than the djent material of their later years. Both styles leave behind a good impressive, and the band's synchronous headbanging style means their performance comes across as energetic, but it does leave something more to be desired for, probably symptomatic of why the band is still doing support duty this far into their career.

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Fear Factory

Much has been said about the live clean vocal abilities (or lack thereof) of Fear Factory vocalist Burton C. Bell, with many a fan I've talked to describing dozens of attended shows and never having experienced a solid vocal performance from the man. Tonight, he's hitting the notes (nearly) spot on, though, and looks clearly energized by the fantastic crowd response that starts from the first chorus notes of "Demanufacture". I've got no more goddamn regrets / I've got no more goddamn respect", the crowd chants while the band pauses the instruments, resulting in an impressive release of testosterone-laden energy from the audience's side, which rubs onto the band straight away. Flashing strobe lights encompass the venue into seizure-inducing rapid-fire white lights during "Self Bias Resistor", which sees the sing-alongs continue during key moments to the song. "What Will Become?" sounds solid tonight, but its successor "Shock" is one that draws a huge sing-along from the crowd.

Stylistically, we're now entering an extremely dense territory where the intimate confines of the venue package the band's chunky industrial metal in an even fierier and heavy format than it is on record. Having influenced the likes of Meshuggah and taking cues from the brutality of Sepultura, the expression is rammed with skull-crushing heaviness, spliced with the signature-style lofty clean vocal melodies and industrial electronics that the band has become known for over the years. "Edgecrusher" is a fan-favorite resulting in a fiery energy from the crowd's side and a huge sing-along, much like "Powershifter", which introduces a segment containing newer Fear Factory material ranging from "Soul Hacker" and "Regenerate" to "Anodized". "We're bouncing around from album to album", Burton states, and he's right. All albums but "The Industrialist" and "Transgression" are represented with a focus on the new album "Genexus", but basically the band string together a true for the fans of setlist that should satisfy both old school and new Fear Factory fans.

While there's not much movement on stage, the guitarists up the irons and make facial expressions at the crowd at the front, and Burton gestures menacingly as he runs through material both old and new. The sheer amount of sing-alongs and fist-pump inducing moments is enough to convince anyone that this is a solid show; that Burton can actually sing the melodies for once is a fantastic addition. Tight instrumentation that's as dense and punishing as it gets in metal and a good crowd interaction ensure a great show that suggests we'll be returning upstairs next time the band come back to Denmark.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Demanufacture
  • 2. Self Bias Resistor
  • 3. What Will Become?
  • 4. Shock
  • 5. Edgecrusher
  • 6. Damaged
  • 7. Powershifter
  • 8. Soul Hacker
  • 9. Regenerate
  • 10. Anodized
  • 11. H-K (Hunter-Killer)
  • 12. Archetype
  • 13. Resurrection
  • 14. Martyr
  • 15. Replica

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