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I arrived at Kentish Town’s HMV Forum with something of a surprise - it was only a couple of minutes before doors opened and the only sign of life outside the venue were the obligatory dodgy ticket sellers. Could it have been that every single Fear Factory fan was going to be fashionably late? As people trickled in through the doors it was the opening band’s stage presence that really made the venue come alive. While Daath’s music never shies away from a constant barrage of aggression, neither did their performance. This really reflected on the crowd; it wasn’t exactly a constant mosh pit but everyone was clearly into it and this definitely included the band. They ran around so often you’d lose track of who was where. With their blisteringly quick songs you’d forgive a little sloppiness here and there but their ability to play fast and often complicated sections without fail was impressive to say the least and a couple of guitar and drum solos thrown in at the end of some songs further cemented the idea that these guys clearly know what they’re doing. If I had anything to complain about it would have to be the pacing, when there’s so few slower moments you can easily become accustomed to the harshness. Nonetheless Daath have put on a great show so far and now that the venue has filled out a bit more we wait for High On Fire.
Sunday 19th December 2010
Forum in London, UK
Reviews & Photography by Nicholas Dishington
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On record High On Fire are probably my favourite of tonight’s bands, however tonight was something of a disappointment. The crowd seemed equally unimpressed; the occasional mosh pit started up but quickly died. The problem for me was no definition; the guitars and vocals sounded so distorted it became a wall of noise that hit you in the face like a brick wall that didn’t stop pushing. As they rushed through ‘Frost Hammer’, ‘Turk’ and ‘Rumors of War’ it all just felt messy and too rough around the edges. I understand that with Stoner Metal you’re bound to get your fair share of this but the fact you could barely make out anything vocalist Matt Pike said, even when he was just talking, was perhaps a sign that something was wrong. Taking that into consideration, the only song I fully enjoyed was ‘Bastard Samurai’ due to it being so varied and the fact it has a healthy helping of clean, echoed, Korn-esque guitar parts that definitely didn’t suffer live. Finishing on ‘Snakes for the Divine’ was a slightly better outcome than I expected but, all in all, this performance left a lot to be desired. I’m not sure whether it was down to just the sound or it was the playing but this did nothing for me.
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As expected, Fear Factory’s arrival causes the crowd to erupt; without a doubt these were clearly the band everyone came to see. They started with the title track from their latest album ‘Mechanize’ and it became obvious that these guys meant business, the sound being massive and overwhelming at times. Instantly hitting me was the almost constant barrage of aggression, but in a controlled, precise way. The strongest example of this was Gene Hoglan’s impeccable drumming although, really, every member played with such precision it was hard not to get carried away by the music. In fact, everyone was clearly into the mood, whether they were moshing at the front, crowd surfing (a certain few repeat offenders surfing at least once per song), dancing or singing/shouting along. It was this that improved the performance for me; I’ve always felt Burton C. Bell’s clean vocals to be somewhat off the mark but throughout tonight, especially noticeable during ‘Smasher/Devourer’, Bell’s cleaner vocals were backed up by the voice of a thousand or so fans crying out in unison. Spoken word intro to ‘Big God/Raped Souls’ had a similar treatment and genuinely had hairs standing on the back of my neck. Obvious favourite for the crowd ‘Linchpin’ went down as a particular treat with the fans but it was the final five songs, all taken from 'Demanufacture', that really got everyone going. Ending on ‘Replica’ with no bullshit encore (but not ripping us off as it is the 16th song of the night) provided a fitting end to a frenzied and unrelenting evening.
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