[RECAP] Fear Factory and Coal Chamber at Underground Arts 8/15

“Fiend for the Fans and fodder for the Press…”

Fear Factory’s triumphant return has seen fans inundated with new tracks, videos and an excellent new record. The culmination of this recent Fear Factory-mania for us was seeing the band at Underground Arts on Saturday Night, and witnessing the Industrial Metal Legends positively destroy the small basement venue with a crushing set of new and old favorites.


FF took us on an entire journey through their evolution, starting with Obsolete standards “Shock” and “Edgecrusher”. The band sounded absolutely gargantuan, new drummer and basist Mike Heller and Tony Campos meshing perfectly with stalwart riff assassin Dino Casarez and “dry lung vocal martyr” Burton C. Bell, whose vocal prowess was as powerful as ever, whether delivering near perfect clean choruses or razor throated screaming verses. Genexus tracks “Soul Hacker” and “Dielectric” fit right in with the band’s more well known repertoire, sounding even stronger than they do on the record, and the band shut things down with the title track and “Replica” from the 20th anniversary celebrating Demanufacture.


I’ve seen Fear Factory more times than I can remember over the years and every time I’m even more blown away by their ability to flawlessly execute their complicated techno thrash attack in a live setting, this time being no different. Hopefully FF returns to the east coast soon as headliners, either playing Demanufacture in its entirety as they did in Europe or at least giving us more live tracks from the awesome and deservedly well reviewed Genexus.


We’d last seen reunited goth-metallers Coal Chamber at the Troc in April, then fresh off of their well received comeback record Rivals, and were impressed enough with their resurrection to want to check them out again. Dez Fafara and company once again failed to disappoint, captivating the faithful with a career spanning setlist including classic tracks like “Loco” and “Big Truck”, and Rivals banger “IOU Nothing”, with plenty of crowd pleasers in between.


Each member was at the top of their game, Dez’s throaty growl trembling the rafters at UA through many an illuminated mic and megaphone, Bassist Nadja Peulen dominating her side of the stage with a swirling torrent of red hair, picking out the band’s massive low end, and guitarist and drummer Meegs Rascon and Mike Cox providing the crunch and pound that defined the band’s sound. Writing their reunion off as another soulless 90’s nostalgia baiting cash grab, as many have, is a big mistake. Coal Chamber puts on a hell of a show and definitely won me over with a set that was just as entertaining to hear as it was to watch.


– words by Kevin Hawkey, photos by Megan Hawkey

Kevin Hawkey is the co-founder, head writer and editor of Riot-Nerd. He enjoys Fighting Games, Metal, Marvel, Horror and all the weird shit in between. A lifelong Philadelphian just as comfortable in a circle pit at Underground Arts as he is drooling over the new Hot Toys figures at Brave New Worlds, Kevin’s idiosyncratic sensibility gives this site it’s unique dichotomy between “riot” and “nerd”.
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