FEAR FACTORY

"The Industrialist" (Roadrunner; 2012)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

 

Fear Factory have been grinding out discs since 1992 and I'll never get tired of their sound. I might get tired from the mental toll it takes on me or the physical demands required on my neck due to head banging, but their industrial sound, I only crave more!

Fear Factory, which consists of Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares with some added musicians to round out the heavy Chevy dropping on your psyche have created a concept disc about machines that will replace not only man's contribution to the world but will also take away his dreams.

Bell and Cazares are the only "musicians" on this disc. They do not opt for a live drummer but instead stay with their incredible and timely programmed drums. When you're an "industrial" band you can take more liberty with electronics often reserved for other types of music. Fear Factory start this disc off with a machine gun drum mow down and they don't let up because it's your job to crawl back so you can try and survive the next wave coming.

Sometimes creepy and often heavier in the middle of the songs Fear Factory blend an array of heavy beats, down tuned guitars and haunting vocals to create some of the best industrial metal this planet will ever witness. I'll admit the story gets a little lost within the music. Having the liner notes handy would probably help you follow along much easier. I'd like to see some graphic cartoons depict their concept, now that would be cool.

Fear Factory: Burton C. Bell – vocals; Dino Cazares – guitar, bass guitar, and programming.

For more information check out http://facebook.com/fearfactory.

"Transgression" (Calvin; 2005)

Reviewed by Snidermann

So, being somewhat of a Fear Factory virgin, I didn't know exactly what to except from "Transgression." What I thought I might find was a blistering, kick ass, industrial/metal release.

Well, what I found was all right, but nothing to write home about. About 75% of "Transgression" is strong stuff; you can keep the other 25%. One glaring example: Why in hell would Fear Factory cover U2’s "I Will Follow"? I hated it when U2 did it and I really don't like Fear Factory’s version any better. 

Don’t get me wrong: most of "Transgression" rocks. However, there are too many cuts that are not only sub-par for a band of this reputation but they were depressing and just down right bad. I was disappointed with this CD -- I thought it was going to be harder and heavier. Instead, it was a just an entertaining, somewhat tame, release.

For more information, check out http://www.fearfactory.com.  

"Archetype" (Liquid 8; 2004)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Recognized as Innovators of the current metal sound, the rejuvenated Fear Factory have returned to reclaim their rightful position as the reigning kings of robot metal, as well as one of the most important metal bands in the last 20 years. 

"Archetype," the Los Angeles-based quintet's fifth album, is the quintessential Fear Factory release. The CD encompasses all of the devices which the band has always employed in a way that make songs like "Corporate Cloning" and "Slave Labor" recognizable, yet interesting and fresh. 

Heavier than ever, thanks to the guitar work of former bassist Christian Olde Wolbers, and yet another phenomenal performance by drummer extraordinaire Raymond Herrera, the band has actually increased their strength after ditching former seven-stringer Dino Cazares, opting to forge on after a long hiatus. Still sounding as cold and bleak as ever, tracks like "Act of God" and "Default Judgment" have retained the group's trademark mixture of a harsh electronic backdrop under pummeling riffs, while the often-duplicated vocal style of Burton C. Bell bellows, growls, and anthemically lashes out full blown aggression. 

Back with a vengeance, and an even more intense focus, Fear Factory's legacy opens a new and exciting chapter with the release of "Archetype," a must have for any self respecting metal fan. 

For more information, check out http://www.fearfactory.com.  

"Digimortal" (Roadrunner; 2001)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

 

I admit that, in the four years that I have known Fear Factory's brand of metal, I have outgrown their style. However, Fear Factory were instrumental in getting me back whole-heartedly into the metal scene and for that I still hold them in high regards with a substantial degree of gratefulness for their role in my metal journey. As such, I will always want to hear what Fear Factory have produced.

"Digimortal" is Fear Factory's slight return to the style on "Demanufacture." In fact, they've taken the "Demanufacture" blueprint, stripped the songs to their bare essentials, shortened the songs' length, and explored an every expanding array of vocal styles and musical colors.

The Fear Factory style perfected on "Demanufacture" is most evident on songs like "One Step Closer" and "Linchpin" where a catchy chorus follows-up a sharp verse. The very brooding "Invisible Wounds (Dark Bodies)" is another facet of Fear Factory that was unseen until now. The eleven tracks on "Digimortal" are consistent, economical, and pointed.

Burton C. Bell's vocals are more rhythmic on "Digimortal" without resorting to straight-forward rapping that he delved into on two occasions on "Obsolete." Bell's best performances are on "Linchpin" and "Invisible Wounds (Dark Bodies)". I also enjoyed the push/pull of the aggressive/restraint of "Acres Of Skin." B-Real's rapping contribution on "Back The Fuck Up" is the CD's low point in my eyes, but I'm sure Fear Factory fans will lap it up.

If you were lucky enough to get one of the early pressing of "Digimortal" you were fortunate to get four bonus tracks including the song "Repentance" which was part of the 'Demolition Racer' video game. While these four tracks are nothing particularly astonishing, they're not that badly done either.

Fans of Fear Factory (and especially the "Demanufacture" era) will love what "Digimortal" provides. Casual fans of the band are probably griping that they had to wait three years for what is essentially nothing new for the band.

"Digimortal" was produced by Rhys Fulber and Fear Factory.

Fear Factory is Burton C. Bell on vocals, Dino Cazares on guitar, Christian Olde Wolbers on bass, and Raymond Herrera on drums. Rhys Fulber plays keyboards. B-Real (Cypress Hill) is the guest vocalist on "Back The Fuck Up."

For more information visit http://www.fearfactory.com

"Obsolete" (Roadrunner; 1998)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

 

Fear Factory's third full length release stays true to their electro metal sound. Beginning with the first track,  "Shock," they power right through mainstream music with submit their own brand of metal. It's a little like Ministry meets Slayer.

The title track features Gary Numan, the industrial pioneer himself, with spoken dialog. A little later, the band covers Numan's classic "Cars" and they do it quite well.

"Resurrection" is the most tuneful track on "Obsolete." It doesn't take a drastic direction but it is a glimpse of what is to come from the band later with "Digimortal."

There is some experimentation tossed in with some cellos and violas on a few songs and only Fear Factory could make that work. There is no compromising their sound though.

Some "Collector's Edition" CDs feature bonus tracks. If you can find them, pay the extra to get those songs. More Fear Factory is always a good thing.

The best songs to make the sign of the horn to are "Shock," "Edgecrusher," "Decent," "Obsolete," "Resurrection," and "Cars."

Fear Factory: Dino Cazares - guitars; Burton C. Bell - vocals; Christian Olde Wolbers - bass; Raymond Herrera - drums.

For more information, check out http://www.fearfactory.com.

"Concrete" (Roadrunner; 1990 / 2002)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

 

This is Fear Factory's first studio CD, recorded in 1991 but not released officially until 2002. It's surprisingly aggressive and brutal, especially when taken into the context of the era, and it's quite different than the Fear Factory that eventually would sell over a million records in the U.S.

Fans of the band may not be surprised to discover that "Concrete" sounds a little different than modern Fear Factory does. The band is famous for varying its style of industrial death metal from album to album. What makes "Concrete" interesting is that it's the band in its early days, laying down, exploring and discovering the sounds that would eventually lead them to the style that made them hugely popular.

Being a first album, "Concrete" kind of rambles a little, laying on the metal thick and heavy and throwing in a lot of death metal growling throughout virtually every track. Again, this is the band early in its inception and I think it's safe to say they hadn't quite fully discovered their sound. Hence, "Concrete" is an interesting listen, with some very powerful tracks ("Sangre de Ninas" comes most immediately to mind). Overall, however, it's too heavy-handed throughout and doesn't show the restraint and improved songwriting skills the band used to great effect with later albums.

More an album of historical note than something you'll pull off the shelf often to listen to, "Concrete" is an interesting snapshot in time of a unique band and fans of the band will want to add it to their collection. Those new to the band, however, should probably start elsewhere to get a more accurate glimpse of what makes Fear Factory tick.

Fear Factory: Dino Cazares - guitars; Raymond Herrera - drums; Andy Romero - bass; Burton C. Bell - vocals.

For more information, check out http://www.fearfactory.com.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2012 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05 Mar 2017 12:56:12 -0500.