Fear Factory/Twelve Foot Ninja

Brisbane, AUS, 4 Jul 2013

By Peter Zischke

06 July 2013

Words by Peter Zischke and images by Simon Milburn

Australia has been good to Fear Factory, with huge album sales numbers and the band’s first ever certified Gold record for 1995’s Demanufacture. To their credit, founding band members Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares along with former and current members of the band have never forgotten their success in Australia and have been regular visitors to our shores for almost 20 years. In 2013 the band decided to join the list of long established acts to play what is commonly regarded as their seminal album live, in full. In Fear Factory’s case, this album is Demanufacture, the very same album first certified Gold in Australia and for this reason, the band decided to bring this special show to Australian audiences before the rest of the world.

To most, Fear Factory is a figurehead of contemporary/modern industrial metal and Demanufacture is one of the foundation albums of this genre, so the anticipation was high that we were going to witness something special on this remarkably warm mid-winters night. 

Fear Factory Demanufacture Tour – The Tivoli, Brisbane – 4 July 2013

Twelve Foot Ninja live in Brisbane, Australia.Twelve Foot Ninja live in Brisbane, Australia

The evening kicked off with a set by local support act, Twelve Foot Ninja who had attracted a solid crowd of supporters to the show. The fans were not disappointed as Twelve Foot Ninja worked energetically through their set which showed tremendous diversity in showcasing elements including metal, hardcore, reggae and funk, at times switching between modes within a single song. Their style hinted at influences from bands such as Japunga, Korn and Faith No More, with vocalist Kin Etik’s vocal style more than once reminding me of the amazing Mike Patton.

Twelve Foot Ninja live in Brisbane, Australia.

After the close of Twelve Foot Ninja’s set, it was time for the roadies to get to work setting up for the highly anticipated Fear Factory appearance. It seemed fitting that the music played during the interlude was from the Terminator 2 soundtrack, with the band often remarking that this movie was one of their inspirations while recording Demanufacture, and the album even including some samples from the soundtrack.

The band emerged to the delight of the crowd and without saying anything, launched into the first track off the album, Demanufature.  It was another 2 songs, after Zero Signal, before Burton and crew stopped to say hello to the assembled faithful and apart from a few short breaks between songs for the usual crowd check-ins, the band stormed their way through the classic album.

Fear Factory live in Brisbane, Australia.

The band was tight and the newly assembled rhythm section of Matt DeVries (bass) and Mike Heller (drums) laid an excellent foundation for Dino to lay out the classic, crunching riffs on his custom Demanufacture Ibanez and for Burton’s wide ranging vocals.  DeVries and Heller generally looked at home, particularly given they did not have a long lead-in time between finishing touring for The Industrialist and starting this tour, in which time they had to learn and master a long list of tracks from Demanufacture which they had not played on tour.  Anything less than excellence was not going to cut it with die-hard fans of a classic album, and they didn’t let the band or the fans down.

Bell and Cazares, as always, were the focal point for the fans and they engaged the throng throughout the set.  In the opening to Demanufacture, Bell seemed to be a little off the pace and it wasn’t immediately obvious if it was an equipment or mixing issue, or whether he was in fact off the beat.  After some running repairs to his mic early in the piece, all was resolved – thankfully!  Burton’s growl and aggressive vocals were as punishing and powerful as ever as he ripped through the album, however his clean vocals at the higher end of the scale may not be what they once were. He seemed to struggle reaching some notes through the set and seemed to tire toward the end.  However, the crowd gladly assisted and overall, this was only a very minor detraction from an outstanding performance.

Fear Factory live in Brisbane, Australia.Fear Factory live in Brisbane, AustraliaFear Factory live in Brisbane, Australia.Fear Factory live in Brisbane, Australia

Unsurprisingly, the crowd response was greatest to Replica, H-K and Body Hammer as the pit surged particularly to life for H-K.

Following the conclusion of the Demanufacture portion of the set, the band launched into a 5 song, all or nothing assault, starting with Shock and Edge Crusher, the first 2 tracks from their most commercially successful album, Obsolete.  The crowd and pit seemed to gain renewed intensity at hearing the opening chords of Shock and the intensity levels did not drop for the remainder of the evening. These were followed by What Will Become, Archetype and Martyr to close out proceedings.

Fear Factory live in Brisbane, Australia.Fear Factory live in Brisbane, Australia
Fear Factory live in Brisbane, Australia.Fear Factory live in Brisbane, Australia

It was at once a surprise and interesting to hear the band perform Archetype knowing Dino and Burton’s views on the albums completed during Dino’s absence from the band and performing tracks from them live. However, with only one member of the band on stage having been present during the recording of the track, they attacked the song with the same aggression as the rest of the set and left those in attendance in awe.

Under the weight of tremendous expectation, Fear Factory came on stage, kicked our butts and left us wanting more. It was before 11 pm when we left the venue and we could easily have gone through another set like we just saw.

Fear Factory live in Brisbane, Australia.Fear Factory live in Brisbane, Australia.

Brisbane was treated to some truly special moments from a stellar and seasoned artist, witnessing the first live performance of Demanufacture in full, the first ever performance by the band of A Therapy for Pain live and what may be a sign that the band is moving on from past angsts with the performance of Archetype.

Fear Factory are regular visitors to our shores and if they continue to serve up performances like this, their continued popularity here will be assured and we will continue hold a special place for them in our metal hearts.

Fear Factory live in Brisbane, Australia.

More from Fear Factory and Twelve Foot Ninja