Fear Factory/System of a Down/Hed(pe) / Spineshank at The Toy Tiger

By Laura Spalding

A metal extravaganza just stormed through Louisville. That's right four, count `em, four heavy bands recently tore up the stage at the Toy Tiger on April 21. This show was a prime example of a killer line up four metal bands that definitely blew out our eardrums.

Starting off was Spineshank, a new band out of California, who are also labelmates with Fear Factory on Roadrunner Records. This is a heavy band with a moody and somewhat hardcore sound. They played a good, but short opening set. Check out their CD Strictly Diesel.

Next up was Hed(pe), also a new band out of California. This band is heavy but mixes more of a hip-hop sound with their metal. The crowd seemed fairly familiar with and into these two opening bands.

Third up was System of a Down, a band that is. . . . well, indescribable. They were heavy and definitely drew my attention. The band seems to be a little "out there." Their style, while being all their own, reminds me a little of Primus. The music had a lot of sporadic time changes, sprawling vocals and some disturbing lyrics. Check out "Sugar" and "Spiders" on their self-titled CD. The crowd seemed to know a little more about System of a Down, particularly the tune "Know."

The much-anticipated Fear Factory closed the show. The band was last here in October but seemed to get a bigger crowd this time around, which they most definitely deserve.

Fear Factory is somewhat in a musical class by themselves. On record, the band is extra-heavy, but the music is mixed with death metal, industrial and techno, making for quite an unusual sound. Fear Factory did a good job of keeping this sound when playing live.

Opening up with "Shock" from the new CD Obsolete, Fear Factory pretty much took control over the crowd at Toy Tiger, keeping their undivided attention. They played much metal, dipping into tunes from all of their CDs, "Martyr" and "Scumgrief" from the debut CD Soul of a New Machine" went over well, especially with the earlier fans.

"Demanufacture" and "New Breed" (from Demanufacture), very heavy, kept the mosh pit moving. New tunes from Obsolete, "Smasher/Devourer" and the especially crunchy, "made for the mosh pit,""Edgecrusher" really caused the pit to go wild. These tunes really highlight the talents of bassist Christian Olde Wolbers and drummer Raymond Herrera, who is by far one of metal's best stick men.

Two tunes that were surprisingly awesome live were the new tune "Resurrection" and "Replica," from Demanufacture. Both tunes are very heavy and emotional. The songs also show what an amazing voice that singer Burton C. Bell has. Great singers in metal often go unnoticed amongst the deathy growls, but this guy can do both well.

This was one of the best heavy shows that we have had so far this year. Hope to see Fear Factory returning soon!

Interview Burton C. Bell

Hey Pit People, I was lucky enough to get a chance to talk to Fear Factory vocalist Burton C. Bell a couple of days after the April 21st show at the Tiger! He was really nice and cool to talk to. Here's what he had to say.

LMN/Pit: "First of all, you guys played a great show the other night at The Toy Tiger, it was awesome! Do you like playing here? Do you think you get a good response in Louisville?"

Bell: "Thanks. Yeah, we like playing in Louisville. We were just there in October and the show the other night had about 100 more people than the last one."

LMN: "What ever happened to GZR? (Burton C. Bell was the vocalist in this band with Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler, around 1995 or 96. ) I know you (GZR) were supposed to open for Korn at a show here and GZR cancelled for some reason or another."

Bell: "Well, we recorded an album and we went on tour, and that was pretty much it. I can't remember us canceling a show, I know we played with them in Knoxville."

LMN: "Do you guys have any other side projects going on? I know I've read some stuff about something called Brujeria."

Bell: "No. Brujeria just involves our drummer and guitarist." (Raymond Herrera and Dino Cazares).

LMN: "I know Fear Factory is getting ready to play Ozzfest and the Dynamo in Holland. Do you think that we should have more festivals like this in the United States? Do you think it would make metal more popular?"

Bell: "Well, they are more into all styles of metal in Europe. It is just different there. They have more of an outlet for it, more exposure, like magazines. I think it's good to have that type of thing here, but if people don't come, then they stop having big shows like that."

LMN: "Your voice sounded really good at the show here. I know a lot of times, vocalists in heavy bands can't actually sing really well, they do a lot of yells and growls, but you seem able to do both, you do have a very distinct voice. Do you do anything special to take care of it?"

Bell: "Thank you. I try to sing well. The show in Louisville was the fourth one in a row. I don't smoke cigarettes. I just try to stay healthy in general."

LMN: "I know that you guys feel that each of your albums is a little different in style from the last. I know that I have read that you feel that Demanufacture is more cold, more mechanical or machine-like than Obsolete, which is heavy, but seems to be a little more melodic. Do you think that Fear Factory will stay in the same direction with the next album or do you think it will be different?"

Bell: "It's hard to say, it just depends on what we write about next. We did want Obsolete to have more of an organic feel to it. We're going to be touring for about another year and then we'll start working on the new record. I think that we'll probably just expand off of this latest CD. We'll just see what comes up."

LMN: "Well, those our all of the questions that I have for you. Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. And, I hope to see Fear Factory back in Louisville very soon."

Bell: "Thank you, and we will definitely be back in Louisville in the near future."