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Coal Chamber, Fear Factory, Jasta, Saint Ridley, Madlife @ Track 29, Chattanooga (US)

COAL CHAMBER / FEAR FACTORY / Jasta / Saint Ridley / Madlife
in Sunday, 2 August 2015 at Track 29
by Matt "Wolverine" Johnson

Humanity saw the Nineties give birth to two of the most recognizable bands in heavy music with the likes of COAL CHAMBER and FEAR FACTORY. And while JASTA is a fairly recent side project of his namesake band, Jamie Jasta also saw some success in that decade, primarily with his band HATEBREED. The three acts joined forces for a tour in 2015 and though I had to drive 200 miles away to attend a stop on the tour, it was well worth it and the first time I had seen either of the two headliners (I had seen Jamie Jasta perform in 2009 with KINGDOM OF SORROW). So here is the tale of what I saw!

The two openers (MADLIFE first, then SAINT RIDLEY) were each awesome and brought a ton of energy. They were both a little on the side of Hardcore and not quite a straight shot of Metal, but kicked things off with a bang nonetheless. MADLIFE was a bit more gimmicky in terms of on-stage theatrics. They each drew a good portion of the crowd early on, and the sold-out show didn't take long to fill in the spaces, even at a venue that used to serve as an ice rink.

By the time JASTA hit the stage, the atmosphere was highly energetic and Jamey brought the thunder when he kicked off the set! As anyone who has seen him perform live will tell you, he is very animated when he is in his zone. Between songs, he was addressing the crowd and sharing some of the experiences he has had in life. Overall, JASTA was pretty on-point in terms of synergy as a band. Each song was distinguishable and carried its own flow. To my surprise, they even played the HATEBREED classic "This is Now," sending the fans into a mania and adding a serious exclamation point to the set!

As the night rolled on and still more fans rolled in, the audience bristled with anticipation of the two headlining acts. The lights went out and without hesitation, cheers erupted as the mighty quartet that are FEAR FACTORY took up their instruments and proceeded to "Demanufacture" the earholes of all of us in attendance! Being my first chance to see this band since becoming a concertgoer, I was anxious to see what lied in store for me, especially since they were touring in support of their new album "Genexus," which I had already listened to extensively. To someone looking at Burton C. Bell without ever hearing him speak or sing, it would be hard to imagine that voice being as commanding as it has been for twenty-plus years! Yet just as they have always been, they were flawless in performance. The stutter-staccato progressions for which Dino Cazares has earned his repute were as timely and succinct as if the band were recording in-studio.

Burton took the opportunity to talk to the crowd and monologue from time to time, offering advice and motivational words between songs. One thing I thought worth mentioning was when he was speaking to the front row and told them to stop living their lives behind a screen (meaning their mobile phones) and since it is a mantra that I believe in as well, that statement stuck out to me and earned a lot more respect from me and those around me. So the set came to an end and I was very impressed how thorough FEAR FACTORY were in covering as many albums from their discography as possible given the limited amount of time they had on stage.

Then came the much anticipated COAL CHAMBER! Out on the road in support of their own new album "Rivals," these guys (and one lady) know how to draw a crowd. Their brand of Industrial Nu Metal (shall we say, Chamber Metal) has been entertaining fans since the Nineties and collaborations like those with the likes of OZZY OSBOURNE, for example, has made them a name among the trendsetters in modern heavy music. With a fairly dramatic stage setting (complete with video screens showing changing colors, designs, and scenery of all kinds) they played standout tracks from throughout their discography including the family favorite "Loco." The band's frontman Dez Fafara was a dominating presence and even those who were there to see other bands had to appreciate his style and charisma. Their new music, such as the title track to "Rivals" was obviously well-rehearsed and the heaviness flowed effortlessly through the PA.

All in all, it was a very satisfying concert in many aspects and I left the venue with my head ringing and my senses feeling a bit fucked. I feel confident that I speak for everyone who got to see this tour. Totally worth the 200 miles I drove in the August heat in my part of the world and I would damn sure do it all over again!

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