(Here we have a review by TheMadIsraeli of the ninth studio album by Fear Factory.)
Time for some of that brutal-ass machine-tight cold-as-titanium machine-gun palm-mute and double-bass assault SON.
Mechanize was the shit. The Industrialist is the love child of the band’s seminal albums Demanufacture and Obsolete. This album could’ve been released in the 90’s and dominated just as much as the rest of their work did. It dominates even now, in this saturated market of clean vocals all over the place and weak-sauce composition that is critically lauded somehow as “progressive” and all that cockamamie horse shit because the bands can do basic syncopation and play riffs on eight string guitars while only using two of them.
Fear Factory have never really sprinkled their music with this bullshit. They are honest about what they do, and what they do is kickass brutal industrial-tinged metal that is dedicated to being simply crushing above being technical, progressive, or similar buzz words in the popular parlance. They’ve generally been practicing the same sound their whole career (although it’s obvious that for some fucking reason, as stupidly simplistic as his riffs are, there is something about the way Dino Cazares writes as opposed to Christian Wolbers that just hits right), and it hasn’t ever really gotten stale for me.
This is classic Fear Factory at its best. Machine-gun riffs, excessive double-bass assaults with technical wizardry up top, and well-incorporated electronic and symphonic flourishes. Mix this with Burton C. Bell’s legendary battle cries combined with his baritone, almost inhuman clean voice, and it’s just a thoroughly absorbing experience overall.
The opening salvo comes in the form of the album’s title track, and boy does it fucking crush mass quantities of human waste matter into nothing. After the song’s foreboding synth intro and an ensuing heavy guitar reprisal of the same thing, the drums come in solo with the double bass signaling something like a cybernetic battle stallion stampede.
The attack is windmill-inducing, with Cazares’s riff sounding like the rhythm of a malfunctioning jackhammer working its way through your spinal cord. The drums switch up from the galloping double-bass beat down to a solid groove that tears through steel. This song alone is a pretty good testament to what this album has to offer. It’s so utterly crushing and desolate in its brutality, yet with such a refined and simple riff that I honestly don’t understand how no one else can do this kind of shit this well. Fear Factory just have the gift for this kind of music.
I’m not going to review this album song by song, because this is Fear Factory we’re talking about here. You know what you’re getting from song to song, though the product is of such consistently high quality that the consistency of style is much appreciated. I quite enjoy this record because it really does seem to bring together the best aspects Demanufacture and Obsolete. While it contains the piston-pumping speed and tight machine-gun signature rhythms the band became known for through the former, it also contains the electronic experimentations, EMP impact grooves, and epic chorus melodies of the latter. Songs like “Difference Engine” have an almost transcendent vibe to them; a channeling of a ghost in the machine, if you will.
The production is pretty killer, although it is essentially an improved version of the mix on Mechanize. It has a bit of an icier tint to it, which brings out the industrial vibe much better. The drums were executed with a drum machine, since Gene Hoglan hadn’t recorded his tracks prior to his departure, but the drum machine works; it accomplishes a level of tightness that a human wouldn’t be capable of achieving.
The bass feels almost non-existent, and since I don’t believe they had a bassist at the time of recording, it may very well be the case that there isn’t any bass at all on his album, unless Cazares is doing it in the deep background. That also helps, making the music cut more than bruise.
I just don’t think songs like “Recharger” or “God Eater” would be the same without these particular characteristics of the production, even though the latter is a slow, trudging kind of song.
Overall, this is Fear Factory with a new focus on the only two people who matter in this band. I really feel that this album is the second step in the direction of re-establishing the supremacy of Fear Factory, and the focus on Bell and Cazares as the center of the band is a huge part of this. Who would listen to a Fear Factory album without one or the other? I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would.
In a nutshell: This album kicks ass. Buy it.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Fear Factory was released in Europe by AFM Records on June 1 and in North America on June 5 by Candlelight Records. You can keep up with Fear Factory’s doings via their Facebook page or their official site.
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