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Gig Review : Fear Factory/Butcher Babies Limelight Belfast

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Review by Richard Henry for MPM

Well what else would you be doing on a Monday night in Belfast just as storm Ciaran is about to hit, yeah back up to Belfast to check out a 4-band night of metal!

Ghost of Atlantis

Up first tonight are Ipswitch band, Ghost of Atlantis, immediately I was impressed with what these guys were showing a real mix of almost gothic Black Metal crossed with a much more brutal death metal vibe, the two vocalists Phil and Colin where excellent and having the right balance between the clean and growled vocals came across well.

Very epic arrangements in the songs and the right mix of brutality crossed with melody, again it sort of reminds me of Dimmu in parts, right from the off a great mix as well from the soundboard, drummer Rob properly grinding away over in the far corner, pity they had a really short set, I would love to hear these guys on their own gig to hear more of them, if you haven’t heard these guys I would thoroughly recommend giving them a listen with a new album just about to drop as well, absolutely excellent live and worth a listen!

Ignea

Hailing from Ukraine, from the off you know these guys are going to be just a bit different, especially when the first thing I saw was a Keytar on the stage! So, if you were to cross, Jinjer with Within Temptation and a splattering of Jordan Rudess, I think that’s what these guys are, the riffs from Dmytro are absolutely slamming and he is grinding away all night looking like he is having a blast, and I loved the way Yevhenii doubles a lot of the riffs on the keys or uses it to add an orchestral edge to the sound, also instead of guitar solos, they are all keyboard solos, which you got to say, you don’t see that often in a really heavy band!

Then we get to diminutive vocalist Helle, who wanders around the stage like a ballet dancer, and then she sings and ok there is the roar, aggressive vocals but also the reason I mentioned Within Temptation is her clean vocals are fantastic as well, a really interesting band that I had not heard of before, but they cover so many bases during the set in a wonderfully cohesive manner, I found them really intriguing and I am definitely going to check them out further, you should to!

Butcher Babies

It cannot be easy when your co vocalist must get emergency surgery and you’re doing the show on your own, but before I get into the tracks, Heidi was outstanding tonight, didn’t stop moving, the energy off the stage was unreal!

Backstreets of Tennessee – Straight into the new album, and bang the blast beats hit, that’s a way to start a show, full on smack in the face aggression, that breakdown chorus part is just slamming, the energy coming from all three of them is intense right from the off, back and forward and up on the three boxes at the front of the stage, that syncopated breakdown riff about two mins in is just savage, that’s a way to kick off your set!

Red Thunder – Staying on the new album, this one is more of a jump around the pit sort of track, and Heidi is up there switching vocals, high kicking, whipping the crowd up into a frenzy, it just doesn’t stop, that is such a good chorus as well with the clean vocal, I really like that drum part in the middle as it leads into the solo with the syncopation before it descends into a heavy breakdown, then back into that huge chorus!

Monsters Ball – Off to the “Take it like a Man” album and the first track from it, Heidi is attempting to take on Corpse Grinder with the circle headbanging at the start of this one, before it launches into the carnival feel of the verse, the lads in the pit are enjoying this one for sure as there is a good bit of movement coming from over there, love the almost blast beat part which is a snare roll, then it hits that chorus that reminds me of White Zombie, the riffs are awesome and guitar player Henry is just all over the place, running back and forward (also possibly the coolest Hendrix t shirt as well), loved this track, so much energy!

King Pin – New album again, and this one has a great balance between groove and then that thrash style pull off riff before it drops into a proper nasty breakdown for the chorus part before it picks up for the second part of the chorus, it’s a real grinder of a song constantly changing tempo, again the word of the night is energy, it’s just constant from the stage, I love the gang chorus on the words King Pin, then a real groovy part in the middle peppered with really almost Suffocation style chug riffs!

Wrong End of the Knife – Still on the new album for this one, a real up-tempo headbanger of a track, it starts like a brick to the face, that breakdown is savage, again great use of the clean vocal parts with Heidi coping admirably on her own tonight, switching to the savage middle section with that real Djent cut and paste riff before it breaks down into a lean vocal part then slam into the chorus again!

Its Killing Time Baby – 2021 single up next, that is a pure Djent riff that slaps you on the start of this one, real sort of Meshuggah groove in a way on the verse of this and then it changes to a spoken vocal over the bass line and then into that massive gang chorus and the place erupts with a singalong, everyone getting involved, and proper order the circle pit gets started on this one, some super tasty drumming and fills on this as we hit the middle section!

Beaver Cage – New album again for this one, almost dance music style intro with a spoken intro, then into a real System of a Down style groove to that verse part and then it breaks into that dance style beat for verse 2, yeah massive SOAD vibes for me on this, then it hits the chorus and it all changes with a really cool clean vocal part, way up there in range, some really nice bass work in there from Ricky in that next part before we are back into the chorus and the crowd participating in the woo ooh parts, again SOAD vibes as the song comes to the middle section and then back into that massive chorus!

Spittin Teeth – New album again, that’s a real dirty riff at the start of that one, again massive Djent vibes for me, more Monuments than Periphery, but that’s what its reminding me of, love that riff with the double bass under it, again you realize these guys haven’t let up at all and they are still running about like lunatics, somewhat industrial sounding in parts as well, interesting track!

Last December – First let up in the set, we get to hear Heidi really letting her vocal subtlety come out in this ballad, poignant message to this one as well, it’s a beautiful song and performance, even when the band does kick in, as heavy as the riff is, it’s clear the message is the vocal and the arrangement shows that as well, not taking over but just adding power to it, really melodic lovely solo on this one as well, matching the mood of the song, such a great track!

Magnolia Boulevard – Back to 2013s Goliath album for this one, and it’s the last track of the night unfortunately, and it’s time to pick up the tempo again, giving the guys a last chance to circle pit, pure aggression from the start on this one, slamming half time sections, up-tempo thrashy parts, then a really bouncy chorus riff with a clean vocal, that’s the way to close a show, with this track, it leaves you wanting them to stay on the stage for another hour! Ball of energy the whole show and again Heidi absolutely tearing it up all night, unreal!

Fear Factory

Shock – Hitting the Obsolete album straight off with this one, I always loved the snare crossover hi hat riff at the start before boom, it just hits and straight away you just think, that sounds like the album, I know Dino has profiled his amps from the albums and that’s probably why but it’s so exact it’s scary, Milo has this nailed, the vocals are absolutely spot on, I love the effects he is adding in parts with the little device in front of him, what an opener!

Edgecrusher – It’s a 1-2 punch from the Obsolete album, the verse on this is almost like a rap track I always thought and then the riff comes in on the pre chorus, before that massive groove comes in for the chorus, that middle part is so heavy with the tom hits in it before that really Sepultura sounding riff hits in, then bang right into pre chorus and chorus again, lots of heads nodding away to this one!

Recharger – Off to the “Mechanize” album for this one, it’s no surprise how tight these guys are live, the intro with the guitar and drum syncopations are on point, and as a note drummer Pete Webber is an absolute beast, hitting so hard and accurate, the vocals on the chorus of this song really lift it on record and live it is no different with Milo absolutely nailing it, the circle pit is certainly loving this one as it’s all going off over there!

Dielectric – 2015s Genexus album up now and a real industrial almost dancy intro to this before the riff takes over that figure and it opens up; I remember at the time thinking this song reminded me of almost a Madball style vocal in the verse and it still does live, again it’s so cool the transition between the heavier vocals and the clean vocals and the chorus just opens up with the clean vocal part, it’s so tight as well live!

Powershifter – Back to Mechanize again for this one, again Pete is so tight on the kicks all night and that snare cracks, I love the riff on this one it’s just so God damn aggressive, but the drumming it’s so good, this is an all-out slamming track from the start, even the clean vocal part, the music underneath it is so unrelenting, massive chorus again and flawless vocals from Milo, Dino mouthing the words to the chorus for us all to sing along with them, that hardcore drumbeat part in the middle, bodies are in motion behind me on the floor, the whole place getting into this one!

Freedom or Fire – Off to Obsolete again for this one, bass intro from Javier Arriaga with Dino coming in with a more textural guitar part and an almost drum and bass drum part on this, before the main riff slams in, again this one does not have a standard drum part, totally different vibe to the rest of the set, great chorus on this one, not clean but really aggressive vocal part, not my favorite track to be fair, even when the album came out but it comes across well live!

Descent – Lot of songs from Obsolete tonight, think we had a tuning issue as Dino must go off the stage and get some work done so the guys carry on as a three piece up to where the chorus comes back and then we have guitar again, a great chorus to this one and I always loved the chords underneath it, it’s a nice break in tempo as well as it’s been pretty full on up to this one!

Linchpin – Straight up slamming groove to this one right from the off, from the “Digimortal” album, it’s a real groove song until it hits that chorus and you get the spluttered bass drums along with the guitar, a good few people trying to sing along to the chorus of this one, for an extreme band, they sure have a lot of really singable choruses, loads singing along to you can’t change me at the end of this one!

What Will Become – Staying on the same album, this was the opening track to it, again more groove than super aggressive on this one and it’s a chance to get your second wind back, still some impressive double bass drumming in the verse to this one, then the off time pre chorus before the groove slams in again for the chorus!

Archetype – From 2004s album of the same name, this is a real uplifting type of track when you think about it, not just from the chords at the start but the way the vocal follows it, then the verse comes in with a real cut and paste style syncopated riff, then the chorus comes in and it really lifts the song, I think that’s the thing these guys do so well, the way the vocals meld really lift and change the vibe of the songs, that middle section though is so grindy before it breaks down to the guitar and then back into that chorus again!

Martyr – Now when I say I heard the band from the start, I heard this on “At Deaths Door 2” compilation album so I have listened to these guys since day one, and this was the first track I ever heard by them, I sung, screamed and growled my way through the entire song, now you could tell a few people didn’t know this one as well as the stuff off the next album but this song will always hold a special place for me, I loved hearing it live tonight! Also, we are one day off for the band’s 33rd birthday on the 31st October!

Demanufacture – It’s a landmark album and we are about to get treated to a few songs off it, the opener with that double bass drum opening part that then the guitar part comes in and locks into, it’s just a classic, and an album that influenced so many other bands along the way, the pit was way opened up on this one, we got our first crowd surfer of the night as well, that almost hardcore style part after the chorus is so savage live as well, then that proper dirty bass line from Javier Arriaga, into that riff again, then you get the breakdown that just slaps so hard live, Milos down and along the front row again getting everyone to sing along with him on the chorus refrain!

Self-Bias Resistor – Another stone-cold classic for the band, that riff syncopated along with the bass drums, like a rolling machine, everyone singing every word of this one along with the band and the pit is still going strong, then the chorus part you can hear everyone getting involved, again Milos is pitch perfect one this, what a frontman, he hasn’t put a foot wrong all night, that middle breakdown as well, then the slower double bass coming with it, then the double bass guitar part in the middle, what a track!

Replica – This is a must play for the band and it’s the one I remember the video for back in the Headbangers Ball days, if ever there was a song that you could say is the definitive Fear Factory song then it’s this, from the vocals that grow in aggression in the verse and build up into the chorus part to the machine like guitar and drum groove, it’s all here, then you get the clean vocals as well, and yeah I sat and watched Petes feet on the fast double bass parts, machine like! Definitive track!

Resurrection – Obsolete again for the last track of the night, Milos getting a solo spot on the start of this one, showing his great vocals again, and then slams into a low and grimy riff, all the stops and starts in the verse are so metronomic and machine like, there is no over hangs, no notes not stopped exactly, its brutally tight as it has been all night, it’s a really almost poppy chorus part really when you think about it, and it’s a really great uplifting track to close out the show with!

Incredible band live, so tight and so many amazing tracks from the whole discography played, they are only a few days into the UK tour so definitely go see them if you get the chance, great bill!

Photography by MPM

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