The Machines At War Tour was the listing for this particular event and to be honest it seemed like an appropriate name for a show that would combine the force of Industrial Metal masters Fear Factory along with supreme Death Metal's Suffocation, Prog-Death's Hypocrisy and Technical Extremists Decapitated. If you were looking for a show that would stop your heart from beating - only to kick it back into operation then this was the show to attend. The venue would be B.B. King Blues Club once again which is par for the course as far as the bigger Metal shows have been going this year however this time around something was drastically different. On almost every wall were signs that warned against moshing and believe me folks they were serious about enforcing it this evening. Ken Pierce reports on the BB Kings show (11/8/2006), while Pete Pardo & Butch Jones were in attendance for the performance at Poughkeepsie's The Chance (11/18/2006) a few days later.
Read on for the full reviews!
Ken Pierce-The BB Kings show:
Decapitated: Probably few bands deliver the goods in Technical Death Metal like the guys in Decapitated. This Earache Records group literally attacks their equipment and displays skills that one often finds in bands like the mighty Cryptopsy when it comes to technical chops. The only down side to their appearance was the limited amount of people who were inside the venue at the time that they went on. Maybe just over a hundred or two of the kids for their set, and truly this is a band that can get you pumped up for a show. I will enjoy the chance to see them perform a longer set, in front of more Metal hungry maniacs soon. Do not miss them if you find them on the bill as they are worth arriving a little early. Their latest release is "Organic Hallucinosis".
Hypocrisy: Ahhhh Mr. Tagtgren where do you find the time to sleep with all the things that you do? Between producing some of Metal's most popular forces, to running a studio and recording with Pain and Hypocrisy, I am just not a believer that you know the word rest. Hypocrisy is a truly incredible Metal band for they have moved simply from Death Metal a while ago and show this on releases such as "Virus" and "The Arrival". Tonight their set would be a lot of material from those albums and the band still features the mighty Horgh (Immortal) on the drums. Hypocrisy is intense on stage as well, and yet you will find Tagtgren to be a very personable and accommodating guy who walks about the venue after his set meeting the fans and finding old friends in Metal while he is in town. He is never slow to chitchat or pose for a couple of pictures with his supporters and that is worth it to everyone's benefit. Every time I see Hypocrisy, I am disappointed to learn they are so early on the bill as this is one group that is headlining power most certain. Of course, it cant hurt them at all to bring their Metal style to the crowds that they have been performing for and as far as I can see, no one is every disappointed.
Suffocation: Long Island's own Masters of Death Metal are truly like no other band you can experience and as a result are super intense in the live situation. Add this fact to their performing in their hometown and the result is the Metal equivalent of a Tsunami. I have to admit to being a little behind the times in support of them but to be honest the few shows that I have experienced have been absolute Death fests with bodies normally flying all over the place from every possible angle. However, tonight would be a different story based on my bringing up the no moshing signs. Whatever happened seems to have ruined it for a larger public as the management was enforcing it, and tossing people out of not only the pit but also the venue itself. Honestly, B.B. King's is not your optimum mosh setting anyways, but there are folks that like to do it and when Suffocation started playing their new material, off the self-titled release "Suffocation" such as "Bind Torture Kill" or "Abomination Reborn" it was practically impossible to find yourself standing still. It is a downer of a rule but in the end no one should get hurt by going to a Metal show and that was probably what got it in place. As far as this band is concerned, Frank Mullen their lead singer is insane and just knows how to get you going during the show while drummer Mike Smith makes you feel as though your breath is going to stop based on the incredible amount of blistering drums going on. This might have been a Fear Factory headlining spot, but it was clear to everyone present that Suffocation had as much support from the audience tonight. Frank was also very personable during the set and everything he said was met with a great audience response. I will enjoy seeing this band again, that much I know. The rest of Suffocation is Terrance Hobbs (guitar), Guy Marchais (guitar) and Derek Boyer (bass). If you are looking for a band that defines US Death Metal, then you need look no further than Suffocation.
Fear Factory: Having seen Fear Factory on a number of occasions over the past year made this show a whole lot of fun for me as each instance has offered a different vibe. In a little over a year, we have covered the band when they were just on the eve of releasing "Transgression", making a main stage appearance at the first Gigantour's. They killed on this show, and then performed a private showcase for some industry people where I was lucky to attend and moved on to another headlining tour. Whew, this is one busy group of Metal heads. You can expect no less of Fear Factory, who are still supporting "Transgression" and now also a compilation release from their former label Roadrunner Records. The band has always delivered the goods when it came to Industrial Fused Metal, and amidst a stage mostly decorated with amps, they just exploded tonight. I had not seen them in this small a venue in some time and the way they had the barrier set up, lead singer Burton C. Bell was able to sing right up in your face. Behind the drums, Ray Herrera was a technical jackhammer as he pounded song after song while Christian Olde Wolbers delivered his axe wizardry. Holding it all down would be bassist Byron Stroud, also of Strapping Young Lad. I have to say the band sounded in top form against all the times that I have seen them, and of course their set list mixed it up a little more than usual. This gave the audience in attendance a wider variety and not the repetition you find some bands doing from show to show. By my estimation, everyone in attendance tonight was not left wanting any money back but they might have expected more in the way of encores. After seeing all these bands who could blame them for being saddened at the end of it all.
Pete Pardo-The Chance show
It was kind of odd to arrive at The Chance parking lot in Poughkeepsie roughly an hour before the show start time to see that the doors had yet to be opened, and a line of probably 300 people waiting in the cold to enter the venue. Normally, the doors of most clubs open up at least 30-60 minutes before the first band goes on so people can get themselves situated and have a drink or two. Not on this night unfortunately. Once The Chance management decided to start allowing people in, and checking each one for ID's, the process was slow and laborous, and needless to say, at 8:00 when Poland's might technical death metal machine Decapitated went on stage, there's was still a good 200-300 people waiting on line to get in. For the most part, many of the attendees missed most of this juggernaut's set, including myself, as I was only able to catch their last two songs, which is a real shame as Decapitated are one of the best bands around and always deliver massive, technical death metal in a live environment. For the guys who run The Chance, smart move. Many of the fans were extremely upset at this start to the evening, but things would quickly take a turn for the better. Local heavy metal patriot Steve Keeler and his store Rock Fantasy was sponsoring the show, and had a table set up near the bar area selling all sorts of metal CD's and DVD's for the faithful wishing to bring home some tidbits.
Peter Tagtgren and the boys in Hypocrisy came out next, and by this time most of the fans had made it into the club. Whipping the crowd into a frenzy with songs like "Warpath", "Fire in the Sky" and of course the classic death metal anthem "Roswell 47", the Swede's incited much frenzy in the mosh pit. With their dual guitar attack, Tagtgren's blood-curdling death metal vocals, intricate arrangements, and the massive drum blasts from the mighty Horgh from Immortal, Hypocrisy once again delivered the goods as they always do. One can't help but wonder when these guys are going to get their due and have their own headline tour here in the states? After their set, band mastermind Tagtgren was seen walking around the club, talking to fans and hanging out with members of the other bands, showing that true metal kinship.
Suffocation played their set like a coming home party. After all, the guys are from New York, and have played the Chance many times, including headlining the Rock Fantasy 20 Year Anniversary Party at the same venue just a year prior. Quite frankly, if I were Fear Factory, I'd be a little nervous about having to go on after Suffocation night after night, as these death metal legends always tear the roof off the place and have a very loyal following. This night was no different, and with the sound working perfectly, the fans rabid, and the band spot on, ,mayhem ensued. Lethal drummer extraordinnaire Mike Smith's complex and relentless blast beats led the way through a near hour performance that was filled with Suffocation highlights from albums such as Pierced Within, Effigy of the Forgotten, Souls to Deny, and the latest self titled masterpiece. If you wanted to hear "Liege Of Inveracity" , "Breeding The Spawn", "Catatonia", and many others, you got them. Singer Frank Mullen is like a death metal chameleon, lurking around the stage with his maniacal smile and hand wave one minute, hurling out menacing growls the next, all the while torrents of crunchy and complex guitar riffery attacks from all angles. At the end of their set the crowd, who had lost a lot of blood & sweat, especially in the carnage that was the mosh pit, gave them a thunderous ovation, and well deserved.
In some ways, Fear Factory were sort of the odd band on this bill, despite this being their tour and they are the headliners. Although earlier in their career they could have been called death metal, Fear Factory's sound was always a bit more industrial sounding, never fully dipping into death metal realm. Saying that, despite many hardcore FF fans sticking around for their set, it was apparent that a portion had left after Suffocation's set. Once the band came on, musically they started firing on all cylinders, but it was obvious that Burton Bell was not doing well vocally, as he struggled to hit many of the notes throughout the first half of the set. Perhaps it was the result of all the touring this band has been doing of late in support of Transgression, or perhaps the singer came down with a cold of some sort, but he was obviously not able to sing to the best of his abilities this night, which was a shame as the band was really delivering the goods for the most part.
With a set heavy on classic material like "Edge Crusher", "Demanufacture", "Cyber Waste", and "Scape Goat", the show ended pretty abruptly at roughly an hour, when it was apparent that Burton could not continue on, so there would be no encore, and a few songs were probably cut out. Regardless, the FF faithful were happy, and the band came out and hung out with the crowd and the members of Suffocation, Hyprocrisy, and Decapitated, who were all mingling with the crowd and having a few drinks.All in all, a pretty good night of extreme metal that, even though there were a few bumps, was a fun time and featured some really solid music.
Fear Factory Set List(BB Kings):
Moment Of Impact
Steve Keeler (Rock Fantasy), Pete Pardo, and Butch Jones