A Night Of Metal: Fear Factory, 36 Crazy Fist, After The Burial, and Divine Hersey Live

People’s Court; Des Moines, Iowa, USA; July 19, 2010

by Paul Hanson

Metal fans form a unique family, something I realized on Monday July 19 at People’s Court. People really looked out for each other that night, and it made the night that much better.

The venue is divided into a large music area and a separate bar area. If someone fell down in the pit, someone helped them up. If someone slammed the door open going into the bathroom and startled someone, there was an apology (“Sorry, dude”) and an embarrassed smile. When I ventured into the bar, the bartender was friendly. The music being played was tasteful.

fearfactory_poster_348I was in Des Moines to see the legendary Fear Factory along with 36 Crazy Fists. Walking in the door, I had never heard any of the other three bands on the bill: Divine Heresy, Baptized In Blood, or After The Burial. I was not disappointed; all five bands displayed their chops and talent that evening. Sure, death metal has been written off by critics – including me – as fast music and lack of talent, i.e. play fast so no one knows what you're doing.

Then I see it played live, and those preconceived notions of what the genre is like completely evaporate. Nothing beats a blast beat from Divine Heresey's drummer. At one point, he dropped a stick and all you could hear was his ultrafast double bass. When the band's singer instructed all the ladies in the house to form a pit just prior to launching into "Save Yourself," the crowd instantly obliged. The females formed a pit and slam-danced during the song. It impressed the singer apparently, because he commented, "Damn, that's the first time that's ever worked!" The group includes Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares, which is why they played first, since he is doing double-duty each night. Divine Hersey concluded their brief set with an instrumental to pay tribute to deceased Slipknot bassist Paul Gray, a fitting closer.

Baptized in Blood followed, launching into an energized set. I had never listened to them before, but their music was intriguing enough for me to think that their album would be worth a listen. After the Burial took the stage next. Imagine four guys with hair to their butts; one sings, two play guitar, one plays bass. Then, behind them sits the drummer. Short hair. Glasses. Playing a left-handed set (the way Phil Collins plays, if you've ever seen him). It was quite the visual. Their guitarists feverishly flew up and down the frets, especially the one with the seven string guitar.

36 Crazy Fists came up next with their brand of Alaskan hardcore. Vocalist Brock Lindow paced the stage like a caged beast, waiting to strike. When they launched into "We Gave It Hell" from their The Tide And Its Takers release, the crowd began jumping up and down. They responded to the groove of this song. This was my second time seeing them and this show was even better. They are truly a band on the rise, and on this tour, Lindow has a more comfortable stage precense.

Finally, Fear Factory found their way to the stage. The band tapped their full catalog, going back to a cut from Soul of a New Machine (a release I never liked, however). They also played two new songs, including the well-received "Fear Campaign." The crowd shouted "Shock!" during the chorus of that song, bringing a smile to vocalist Burton Bell. Fear Factory's material features a lot of parts where the guitar drops out and the only music is the bass and drums. During those sections, bassist Bryan Stroud and legendary drummer Gene Hoglan sounded tight, as if they had been playing together for years. This was most evident during "Salvation" and "Ex-Crusher."

And ultimately, I would go see any of these bands again in a heartbeat, which is the best impression to get post-show.

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