Fear Factory – Jim Marshall Stage (Main Stage) – Friday 14:40 – 15:15

Fear Factory are still to this day one of my all time favourite bands, and they continue to release killer albums, however, I am pretty sure I never want to see them play live again. Tasked today with opening the Download Festival main stage after adverse weather conditions have caused Rise to Remain and Cancer Bats sets to be pulled from the main stage, they are faced with what is looking like an unenviable task.

The band themselves as musicians sound tight, with new members Matt Devries (Ex Chimaira) and Mike Heller (System Divide) fitting in seamlessly, the main problem lies with frontman Burton C. Bell, who simply cannot carry the more melodic notes any more, somewhat straining his voice in the process. Admittedly, the band is plagued with some minor sound issues, but there is a noticeable shift in quality between the melodic and harsh vocals that is down to Burton himself.

Wisely, the band builds a set of well known, and more importantly well liked material to get the crowd on their side, the band includes ‘Recharger’ and ‘The Industrialist’ from their latest opus which slot in nicely alongside tracks like ‘Linchpin’ and ‘Shock’ the finale of the set sees the band pull out the bigger moments from “Demanufacture,” it’s a well timed saving grace that sees the set go out with a bang rather than limping off into the sunset.

On any given Fear Factory could release an album of such quality that it will literally kick the shit out of everything else release around it, however, in the live arena the band has become somewhat of a wounded animal that has been thrown to the wolves.

Fear Factory Download 2012 setlist:

Shock
Edgecrusher
Smasher/Devourer
Linchpin
Powershifter
Recharger
Demanufacture
Self Bias Resistor
Replica

Photograph by Giles Smith Photography