AFM Records (2012)
This industrialized metal act’s influence is undeniable on a plethora of bands. Be it the good cop/bad cop vocals of Burton C. Bell that bands like Soilwork and In Flames use as a reference point, on through to the mechanical percussion precision that other industrial (or groove oriented acts) took into account, Fear Factory has always had a distinct sound. “Demanufacture” in 1995 remains their defining masterpiece, and they lost me a few years later with their “Cars”/Gary Numan cover and forays into commercial radio accessibility with their “Digimortal” album in 2001.
Reuniting with guitarist Dino Cazares in 2009, Burton and company are now on studio album eight with “The Industrialist”- and it’s a return of sorts to their early 90’s roots with a new found maturity in terms of letting certain songs breathe and envelope you with their atmosphere. The coldness of tracks like “God Eater” with its echoing computer effects against the repetitive screams and clean contrasts as well as the all-out thrash volleys in “Recharger” serve notice that the quartet remember what the lifetime fans desire musically, lyrically, and sonically out of this group. Serious neck breaking will happen as the jackhammer drilling throughout “Depraved Mind Murder” consumes you, Dino responsible for the addictive industrial groove riff and the drumming follows close pursuit.
By the time the mood moving nine minute “Human Augmentation” instrumental closer concludes, you realize “The Industrialist” recaptures the blending of musician creativity along with the proper technology use- all without feeling as if the band had outside pressure from labels or management to do so. To those who cast Fear Factory aside for years- “The Industrialist” should be a welcome return to what you’ve known and loved.
Rating: 4 / 6
Composed by Matt Coe