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Review: Fear Factory + Exodus + Terror Universal, Melbourne

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Fear Factory + Exodus + Terror Universal
170 Russell, Melbourne
23 February 2015
Review by Rod Whitfield

Terror Universal are a heavy music supergroup of sorts, featuring members and former members of Soulfly, Machine Head and Soulfly. Taking very strong musical and visual cues from the likes of Slipknot and Mudvayne, they opened this sidewave show with a pretty blistering set of self-proclaimed ‘horror metal’. These guys have taken that supercharged early 2000s ‘nu-metal’ sound, injected just a touch of djenty guitar, and thus modernised it. And what comes across is an aggressive, in your face, very American style heavy music show. If that sounds like your bag, and you like all the bands mentioned, check these guys out.

I would never paint myself as an Exodus fan, or even a thrash metal fan. I had a major Slayer period in the 90s, around the time of ‘Seasons in the Abyss’ and the albums that Paul Bostaph played on. But that’s about it. However, to be in the presence of such legendary metal warriors as Exodus, and watch them do what they’ve done so well for three and a half decades was a real thrill.
This was an hour long, ‘greatest hits’ (for want of a better phrase) set, with some of their newer tunes thrown in. Best reactions were reserved for the likes of ‘Piranha’, ‘Lesson in Violence’, and then especially, in what was possibly a pretty significant moment in metal history (and I’m glad I was there to witness it), the great Max Cavalera joined the band onstage for a stomping version of ‘Bonded By Blood’. That will be something for the punters in attendance to tell their metal loving grandkids.

Being a huge fan of the progressive styles of heavy rock and metal, the music of Exodus became a touch repetitive after a while. Not enough odd time signatures or complicated arrangements for my absolute liking. But that aside, seeing these legends was still a ‘bucket list’ moment, and seeing the great Cavalera up there making a surprise, unannounced appearance was about as memorable as it gets in traditional metal. Their set was a sonic fist to the face, right through to the twin barrelled closer of ‘Toxic Waltz’ and ‘Strike of the Beast’.

I had seen Fear Factory at least four or five times previously, going all the way back to 1993 when they first toured here, playing at the old, dearly departed ‘Sarah Sands Hotel’ in Brunswick. So I knew exactly what I was getting. And what you get from a FEAR FACTORY show is pretty damn spectacular. Especially when you’re a fan and know most of the tunes.

Again, it was a greatest hits set with one or two newies thrown in, and drew mainly from the first three classic FF albums. The main theme from the cult movie classic ‘Dune’ led into ‘Shock’ from 1998’s ‘Obsolete’ album, and the band launched one industrial metal assault after the other from there. Frontman Burton C Bell’s vocal chords appear to be standing up to the decades of abuse rather nicely, as his howls are as throat rippingly blood curdling as they ever were, and guitarist Dino Cazares remains a chunky pocket dynamo, the hyper-precision riffs flying off his fingers with veritable ease. The relatively new rhythm section of Matt DeVries on bass and drummer Matt Heller provided the nuclear strength backbone with aplomb. I do miss titanic drum God Gene ‘The Atomic Clock’ Hoglan a little though.

The sidewave shows are a perfect way to experience these awesome bands. If you’re in the minority of people who don’t really enjoy the massive day and weekend long festivals, and this one was a real beauty.

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