Fear Factory at Jillian's

By Eddy Metal

It was several years ago, probably `96, or `97, when I heard the first song ever from Fear Factory, "Demanufacture," and it totally blew me away. I was hooked. I loved the heavy thrash sound mixed with super cool sounding keyboards/samples.

Hell...I can't describe the chit. But I gotta, so I'd say It's sort of a techno-metal, thrash, punk, chunky, evil monk sound, with crazy cool dark sounding keyboards and electronic effect samples.

The vocals really work well for this strange sound, though, and stand out triumphantly. Vocalist Burton C. Bell has very unusual vocals, with both all-out aggression and hypnotizing melodies that require quite a set of lungs to achieve. He even did a side project record called GZR, with legendary bassist Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath! It's is a great CD in itself.

Photo By Julie McGrath
Christian Olde Wolbers

Then there was the short and tubby Dino Cazares on guitar. A guitar demon who really took the triple-picking technique to its highest level. On bass was the charismatic Belgian transplant Christian Olbers, who is as good a bassist as any I've heard. Then there was the wrecking machine/quietman drummer Raymond Herrerra, who, in my opinion, is in the top three metal double-bass drummer list. Dawg kicks. Unfortunately, the band split up about two or three years ago. Many people I know were bummed about the breakup, but life goes on.

Well, Fear Factory is back with a new lineup and a new CD Archetype, and it's a monster!

Dino is not with the band now. Instead, Christian Olbers has switched to guitar and the bass duties were given to former Grip. Inc. bassist Byron Stroud.

Photo By Julie McGrath
Byron Stroud

Other than that, everything is still the same. When I heard Fear Factory was coming, I was very stoked, so I told a bunch of people, who were stoked too.

I had intended on doing a in-depth review/interview/photoshoot with the band to discuss the new CD and changes in the lineup. But....Fear Factory's tour manager and stage crew were complete iceholes. A person would think they would be happy to be back and that some extra publicity would be an nice little bonus. Wrong.

I was able to get a Fear Factory photo pass but the stage crew made it impossible to get even the cheesiest pictures. I was told to stand off to the side and back of the stage to take pictures. After five minutes of trying, I gave up and went out front to see the show. The tour manager was nowhere to be found and ignored the locals like the plague. Of course, there was one person who could have gotten me in. This person, for whom I once worked, has treated his "helpers'' like crap over the years, so a few years back, I stood up to him during one of his tantrums and said "no thanks" to the offer of working with him again. Only an idiot would take that verbal abuse.

Photo By Julie McGrath
Burton Bell

So THAT makes me an instant enemy to this person. I didn't kiss ass like everyone else, so I am a troublemaker and should be punished. This is what gets this person off. Excluding anyone he don't like, or making them jump through hoops. The abusing of power for your own grudges.

Even if it means denying Fear Factory of a good, thorough review and making some Fear Factory fans happy reading about their favorite band. But that's ok by me, I tried. It just proves what I have thought all along about this person.

Could you imagine if I abused my power in the same way? If I excluded someone, or a band from getting exposure, just because I didn't like them? Believe me, it's rough dealing with some people in this scene. I'm a redneck, sometimes I'd really, really like to slap some of the people around here, but somehow my conscience would never allow me to do this. no matter how much the person/band angered me.

So....to you good people, I am sorry I wasn't able to do my best. If we had decent people in charge, who didn't abuse their power, then I could have gotten you a much better review.

The Show

Fear Factory at Jillian's? I admit, I was worried. The sound at Jillian's is an on/off thing and Fear Factory was no easy task. Lots of things to properly mix: samples, keyboards, effects, etc, etc. So yeah, I was worried it might sound like doody. But it didn't, in fact, it sounded fat as a goose. It was, maybe, the best sound I've ever heard at Jillian's! It didn't seem too loud, though. Which was a small bummer. Usually I come home from a metal show with ringing ears!

The first song played was the first track on the new CD Slave Labor, then another new tune "Cyberwaste." Then Fear Factory dove into classic Fear Factory tunes such as "Shock," "Edgecrusher" and "Demanufacture." They played at least five songs off the new CD, which surprised me. Most bands don't play that many new songs. I was happy. The new stuff sounded great. Every note hit to a tee.

As always. Fear Factory's sound was super tight and very vocal and drum-oriented.

At first, Burton C Bell seemed a bit lazy, slacking on a few longer notes, but after a bit, he was in fine form. I guess he just had to warm up. Singing in that way, I guarantee he needed to warm up. Let's face it, people, the man can sing and scream. Former Fear Factory bassist-turned-guitarist Christian Olbers played like he was born on guitar. Christian was so focused he seemed like a zombie, never missing a lick on his Jackson guitar. And new bassist Byron Stroud impressed me once again in his new venture.

Raymond Hererra is as incredible as ever on drums, even though you could hardly see him at all. All the drummers in the crowd were in awe, I'm sure, as they waded through a repertoire of their numerous releases, picking the best of the bunch.

The night ended with three new songs in a row: "Archetype." ''Drones" and "School." The final two songs were "Scapegoat" and "Replica, perhaps their most popular song ever, from the Demanufacture CD.

I can honestly say that Fear Factory is one of my favorite bands. True, I wish that there would have been more people at the show, but I did my absolute best to promote this and to get a good story. Everyone had a great time, aside from the few jerks. Fear Factory's tour manager/crew could have been more receptive and appreciative to LMN for wanting to do the story and review in their time of resurrection/need, instead of acting like they were Metallica. Fear Factory is a very good band, but they haven't had "that kind" of success yet. I still wish them luck.

Nevertheless, the crowd that was there loved every minute of it and was even singing along with the music. I would like to thank Scott Clark for actually trying to get me the interview I had hoped to get. Scott tried very hard and I thank him.

Jillian's, Bobby Burke and management was very kind also.

And I'd like to thank Julie McGrath for getting some very good pictures of Fear Factory for LMN, since I was unable to. Check out some of her pictures.