Devin Townsend/Fear Factory – O2 Academy Bristol, 16th December 2012

It started outside the Academy itself. First, a man called Dino Canizares walked out of the main doors, posed with some fans, then made his way round past the long line of people queuing for entry and made his way (presumably) to the tour bus. Minutes later, a taxi pulled up outside, and out stepped a bald man with glasses and the hood up on his top. He acknowledged a few calls of ‘Hi, Devin’ and made his way past everyone through the main entrance. Utterly surreal to see, and an early sign that this penultimate show of the Epic Industrialist Tour would be like no other.

First and foremost though, opening act Tesseract (6), who were a late replacement for the originally billed Sylosis after they decided to tour America instead. I was not aware of their music until tonight, and it was a very quiet and unassuming start – literally, the band walked on as if they were roadies, picked up their instruments and began playing; it took a couple of seconds for everyone in the room to realise that the gig had actually begun. Nevertheless, the band made good use of the short time allotted to them (it was all of 25 minutes) to showcase their music, with new vocalist Ashe O’Hara’s soaring voice complementing the music perfectly, although he then gave this reviewer the shock of his life when it came to closing song ‘Acceptance’ and he produced the most incredible scream from his lungs. If he sticks around long enough to record an album with them, I would hope they would showcase this harsher side more.


Up next, the boys in Fear Factory (7). The metallers from America were clearly relishing the chance to play a full headlining set, and proceeded to thrash out no less than fifteen songs during their time on stage from all corners of their back catalogue. One thing that cannot be denied is just how tight they were on the night – nothing was loose, it was a smooth machine that proceeded to hit the 1,600 strong crowd time and time again with a barrage of riffs and double-bass drums. They also made good use of the multimedia screen – each song backed by the album cover that the song originated from. One minute you had the brain and spine from ‘Obsolete’, the next it was the motherboard human of ‘Digimortal’, which provided the peak of the set with a quite brilliant ‘Linchpin’. However, Burton C. Bell’s vocals had quite clearly seen better days, something that could be forgiven considering this was the second to last date of a three-month tour, and his voice disappeared completely into the mix if he wasn’t screaming. His banter wore thin very quickly too – there’s only so many times that you can legitimately say you’re playing a mix of old and new songs and that you can get away with it because you’re and old man and forgetful. That said, the crowd were brilliant – there wasn’t a single song that didn’t produce a pit in some form or other, and let’s be honest, you really can’t mess around with massive tunes like ‘Shock’, ‘Demanufacture’ and ‘Replica’.


But if Fear Factory made good use of the screen, it was nothing to what happened next. As the roadies set up, the Academy was treated to a wonderful and bizarre viewing of Ziltoid TV, showcasing some of the top internet videos before, with a cheery ‘Hey guys! How’s it going?’ The Devin Townsend Project (10) came on and destroyed everything in their path. Beginning with ‘Supercrush!’, the quartet were on top form, and Devin proved why he is the best thing to come out of Canada since pancakes and bacon with maple syrup. Instantly holding the crowd in the palm of his hand, he stalked the stage and pulled his usual array of faces as he delivered 90 minutes of genius, most notably a fantastic rendition of ‘Where We Belong’ from his new album ‘Epicloud’ and the devastating ‘Juular’ (complete with the music video playing on the screen behind him). The man just doesn’t conform to any set boundaries – where he should have been singing lyrics, he was shouting stuff at his bandmates, or pretending to fall ill, and when there WAS a break in the set, he requested the strangest of audience participations – most notably getting everyone to do ‘jazz hands’ during ‘Lucky Animals’ in order that ‘the song would suck as much as possible’. He even took the time to remind us why Steve Vai had enlisted him as a touring guitarist when he was just 19, pulling off complex solos and two-hand tapping sections with as much ease as blowing out birthday candles. The curfew time came and went, and Devin left the stage twice, only to be told that he had ‘another six minutes’ and then ‘another five minutes left’, allowing him to give us the superb ‘Liberation’ and the incredibly catchy ‘Bad Devil’. By the time it was all over, it wouldn’t have been a surprise to have seen grown men weeping on each other’s shoulders, such was the magnitude and perfection of the set just witnessed. Merry Christmas indeed.

Fear Factory setlist 

The Industrialist
What Will Become?
Self Bias Resistor
Zero Signal

Devin Townsend Project setlist

Planet of the Apes
Where We Belong
Lucky Animals
Deep Peace
Bad Devil


Photos from Epic Industrialist Glasgow gig click here

Dino Cazares interview click here

Devin Townsend interview click here


About Elliot Leaver

PlanetMosh's resident Iron Maiden fanboy and Mr. Babymetal. Also appreciates the music of Pink Floyd, Rammstein, Nightwish, Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot and many others. Writing to continue to enjoy life away from the stresses of full-time employment.