Fear Factory – The IndustrialistCandlelight, June 20129/10
Like any band around for more than 20 years, Fear Factory has had their highs and lows both in terms of sonic output and bizarre personnel changes. Fortunately, The Industrialist sees Fear Factory back at the top of their game after after some sub-par efforts. Written entirely by the triumvirate of guitarist Dino Cazares, vocalist Burton C. Bell, and keyboardist and producer Rhys Fulber, The Industrialist is the missing link between Demanufacture and Obsolete. This a crushing album of short, fast, crunchy riffs melded with Burt’s trademark screaming-melodic clean singing style aped by countless metal- and mall-core bands over the years. Curiously, the album only merely dabbles in industrial metal despite what the title suggests. Much has been made of the fact that drum machines, rather than a live drummer, were utilized for the entire recording, but the fact is that only a drumhead or studio buff could immediately tell that Raymond Herrera or Gene Hoglan isn’t sitting behind the kit. One of the primary things I consider when critiquing album is: Is this a complete recording that can be enjoyed in its entirety, even over multiple listens? Or, is this a collection of some good or great songs mixed in with filler that usually has me skipping to select tracks upon attempts at repeated listens? The Industrialist is the former, and it’s rare when I can say that 10 songs over nearly 50 minutes kept my attention. This is especially remarkable since most would agree that Fear Factory’s best days were seemingly long gone. It’s futile to pick favorites, but “Difference Engine”, “Recharger”, “God Eater”, and “New Messiah” are particularly strong tracks. I gotta hand it to Dino and Burt for persevering through hardships and doubters like myself to deliver one of the best Fear Factory albums. Hopefully this is only the beginning of a new era of creativity for the band.
Fear Factory headlines the Shockwave tour on Thursday, July 12 at Station 4 in St. Paul with support from Voivod, Misery Index, Revocation, Havok, Dirge Within, Last Chance To Reason, Vildhjarta, The Browning, and Forged In Flame.