(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Fear Factory.)
I’m a pretty standard Fear Factory fan. Soul of a New Machine, Demanufacture, and Obsolete are the best albums; Digimortal was a nu-metal sellout with some keeper tracks; and everything Dino-less is awful.
Mechanize was a monster comeback record, seeing Burton Bell and Dino Cazares return with fucking Gene Hoglan, and it rivaled their early material while bringing in the more thrash and melodic edge of Dino’s other band Divine Heresy.
The band’s last record, The Industrialist (which ONLY involved Bell and Cazares, according to the only album credits I can find) was good, but I didn’t find it living up to the momentum Mechanize had.
Genexus has been getting a lot of high praise. Most notable, in my view, are comments to the effect that this one is “the best since Obsolete“, and the semi-related “Obsolete Part 2” being thrown around quite a bit. Obviously, with statements like that, I had to check it out.
Genexus is pretty similar in style to Obsolete, that’s for sure. There’s a lot of use of synths and those giant choruses that Obsolete was known for, and it shares with that album the ability to be brutal and yet catchy to an almost pop-like extent.
There is, however, also a bit of Demanufacture here. Compared to Mechanize, Genexus might feel a bit primitive for some, going back to the guitar minimalism of note progressions driven by machine-gun rhythms as the primary method of riff delivery. I know that that’s always been a staple of the Fear Factory sound, but I think people familiar with the band as a whole will know what I mean when I say that. Demanufacture had a driving intensity to it that still sticks out from the band’s other output.
My review of this is gonna be pretty simple. It’s Fear Factory — it’s Fear Factory at the top of their game, and it includes some of their best songs yet. “Autonomous Combat System” may be my favorite Fear Factory opening track in recent memory. “Soul Hacker” has that “Edgecrusher” nu-metal bounce, but it’s stupidly memorable, and I’ll be fucked if that chorus riff and vocal melody don’t worm their way into your subconscious.
“Dielectric” and “Protomech” are classic Fear Factory tunes. “Regenerate” is a purely melodic thrash number that kind of breaks the mold, and the closing track “Expiration Date” has an oddly ethereal ’80s pop vibe going on, with some industrial tinges, making it one of my favorite closing songs by this band.
Everything else is good, too, but the album as a whole is pretty much junk food if you already like Fear Factory. You’ll eat this shit up like I did.
So pick it up if you like Fear Factory. It’s fucking good.
I’d say this was more Fear Factory at the middle of their game.
Also, Archetype was a great album.
I don’t know, I think that’s sort of harsh. How so do you think so?
Fear Factory has sort of seemed to have the “every other album is good” problem. Obsolete was good, followed by the poor Digimortal. Then the good Archetype, followed by the poor Transgression. Then good Mechanize, followed by the (ok, not poor by any means, but not as good) The Industrialist. So now have the good Genexus, which will be followed by….
I concur; Archetype is strangely overlooked .. there’s some real crushing tracks on offer
Fear Factory is one of those bands that I tried to listen to but just couldn’t get into until I heard the first single for “Genexus” and I loved it. So I went back and listened to their other albums and really enjoyed them. Maybe my tastes have shifted in their favor? Or I just wasn’t open minded enough when I first heard them? I don’t know, but I love the new album, it’s fantastic 🙂
Hey, Themadisraeli, sorry to go off topic, but I’m a desperate man. Do you live in Israel and/or know the Israeli metal scene? There’s a band there called The Great Machine that I desperately wish to own some music from, but they don’t seem to sell it in any capacity. Can’t buy it physically or digitally, can’t download it. At least not in the States that I can find.
They’re based in Tel Aviv. Do you know this band? Do they make their music available for purchase anywhere?
(Again, I know it’s a super long shot, and I’m sorry for wasting your time. I can’t remember the last time I hit such a brick wall in trying access a band’s music.)
Not sure when he’ll check the comments on this post again, so I’ll let you know that TheMadIsraeli is based in Tennessee. 🙂
Thanks. I knew this also was a likely outcome.
… so uh, any The Great Machine fans on the NCS staff?
Archetype was a great Dino-less album.
Nonetheless, “Mechanize” was probably their high-water mark since “Obsolete”. This album has done little for me so far.
I’ve really enjoyed all the tracks released from this album thus far. Very good review. Makes me want to hear more!
I love(d) FF. Mechanize was a great album… but this? I dunno. It just feels like cannibalism. I don’t mind recycling but I feel like all these ideas have appeared in other better songs. Not a bad album but just not essential.
As a big time fan of early FF, it is cool to hear words like this. Maybe they can take tour with Godflesh, and take Skrew on tour with them…yeah right Justin hates this shit haha.
Demanufacture is one of my all time favorite albums, so its always cool to see other Metal fans that enjoy them as well. Sometimes feel like the odd man out.
If anyone is a fan of EBM music, this goes well with Icon of Coil’s Machines are us. Definitely the best that genre had to offer, which isn’t saying much.
I’m strangely surprised to see this reviewed on NCS – like Patrick Bertlein says above I often feel like odd one out still loving Ff after all these years. I’ve pretty much grown up with them and they’ll always have a special place in my black little heart 😉
I wasn’t sure what I’d make of this album from the pre-release tracks… they seemed quite manufactured and more mainstream (but granted, my tastes have probably gone further and further from the beaten track). But I picked it up when I saw it come up on Ff’s facebook feed last week… and I love it.
It feels like quite a ‘fun’ album, less Terminator-inspired and more like Chappie and those bots from Automata got together to thrash out some tunes. Agree there’s a definite 80s sci-fi tinge (but less than say, Believer)… even before I’d heard the Blade Runner inspired lyrics towards the end. It makes me wonder if secretly Gary Neuman quietly cloned himself in the early 80s and that clone grew up to be Burton C Bell…different, yet not so far from the tree… . or that there’s some parallel universe version of Burton that’s an 80s pop/rock star who slips into this dimension on occasion. It’s melodic, and bouncy… and despite (or is that because of?) the catchy clean choruses it still leaves a ridiculous grin on my face.