The Industrialist (Candlelight)
FEAR FACTORY have managed to remain one of the most original and endearing bands for better than twenty years and it hasn’t been through luck. The bands’ temerity to survive in the face of many up and downs within the band and with in the music industry as a whole has been remarkable. The main appeal of the band, besides the music, has been the ability to tell stories full of drama and context. In a world softened by the convenience of incredible technology, somehow never respecting the inherent danger that comes with it, the band has been a commentator on humankind’s potential folly. Continuing the man versus machine theme they have explored on every release, The Industrialist is the most fully developed story the band has ever produced and it is a great platform for the compelling music that comes with it.
Starting off with the title track, there is a noticeable difference sonically between 2010′s Mechanize album and this new release. Mechanize was thrashy and had solid songs, but was missing something for me in the mortar that held it together. This album sounds like the classic FEAR FACTORY sound albums from the 1990s. That is pretty weird to even type that since I am a huge fan of Raymond Herrera, who is still not part of the the current incarnation of the band. I have felt like his absence was hard to overcome in general. Perhaps in an attempt at getting back to the pure essence of the music, DINO CAZARES and his collaborator John Sankey (DEVOLVED) programmed all of the drums, bringing in some of the original essence of the style. GENE HOGLAN fans, please don’t send me hate mail, I love “The Atomic” clock as much as anyone. I just felt he wasn’t the right fit for the band. It’s more about power over precision, but it does make a difference in their sound. On the album the beats are punishing and fit perfectly with Dino’s patented superhuman, staccato down-picked riffs. The first song also sets the table for the story, masterfully laid out with BURTON C. BELL’s brutal vocal performance and harbinger of doom lyrics. The overall story is not so new, but as far as recurring themes go you can’t go wrong with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) becoming sentient and then trying to eradicate its masters. “Recharger” is another slice of primo, old school FF. Cutting riffs, sinister beats and crafty keyboard work set the stage while Bell shreds his vocal lines. The chorus is great, and Bell reminds us how he was one of the originators of modern metal singing, switching up his brutality and adding melody with ease. The bands’ secret weapon is also back on board in Rhys Fulber (FRONT LINE ASEMBLY), who is as integral in the producer’s chair as one can be. “New Messiah” is just a beast of a song. It could have come out at any time in the bands’ career and has some insanely good riffs in it. It’s almost a breath of fresh air in this day and age to hear this track with its great synth work, key changes and dynamic chorus parts. When Bell screams “Future. Begins. Now.” you really feel the passion and pain of his delivery. This will be a great song to hear live. “God Eater” moves the story along dramatically with an eerie keyboard/guitar riff that may be partly inspired by one of the greatest horror themes ever. Even if it wasn’t a conscious nod, it definitely fills your ears with dread. “Depraved Mind Murder” sounds like the late 1990′s version of the band, unrelenting and harsh. “Virus of Faith” delivers more of the same vitriol and punch as earlier tracks. This cut also has some of Dino’s best stop on a dime rhythms, another key to his unique style. Other top tracks include “Difference Engine”, and “Disassemble”. This is definitely the best album under their moniker since Archetype (even if they won’t acknowledge that) and certainly right in line with the bands finer work from their heyday. I suddenly have the urge to watch a The Matrix Trilogy marathon and you will too!
by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes