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I used to love Fear Factory. They were one of the original bands that got me into metal and helped me discover more extreme aspects of the genre. After hearing Fear Factory, I moved on to extreme metal bands like Strapping Young Lad, Napalm Death, Meshuggah and many others. Releases like Soul of A New Machine with its death metal influence was my first real forte into death metal music and exposed me to even more new bands. For that I will always respect them.
After all of their hard work touring and putting out phenomenal albums, it seemed as though Fear Factory was done in 2002 after guitarist Dino Cazeres left the band due to issues with the other members. In other words, Dino and the rest of the band clashed due to Dino's douchebaggery. Surprisingly, the band reformed in a couple years later in 2004 minus Dino. The result was two albums; 2004's Archtype and the 2005's Transgression. The former being good and the latter was pretty mediocre.
Dino formed a new band in the meantime called Divine Heresy. The band was basically your typical metalcore band. The plus side was that the band had recruited drummer extraordinaire Tim Yeung into its' ranks, but with Dino's boring stacato riffs, it still sounded like generic metalcore. After Fear Factory toured for their 2004 and 2005 albums the band went on hiatus. It seemed as if Fear Factory was done until the summer of 2009 when lead singer Burton C. Bell announced that he had reconciled with Dino. Later that summer, the two announced they were reforming Fear Factory minus original members Christian Olde Webers and Raymond Herrera and in their places were Byron Stroud on bass and Gene Hoglan on drums. This had all the ingredients for an awesome project solely due to Hoglan's involvment. I loved his work with Dark Angel and Strapping Young Lad. I also thought maybe Dino would return to creating crushing industrial riffs like he used to back in the old days so this had no reason not to be awesome.
But what did we get instead? We got music that sounded almost identical to Divine Heresy, only with Burton doing vocals, and it was still labelled as 'Fear Factory'. The band was the same formula as Divine Heresy too. Just take a kick ass drummer and try to keep up with him with heavy guitars, do the same thing for ten tracks or so, and there you have this album.
One sad note is that this album barely has any trace of the industrial edge Fear Factory pioneered, instead they went on the easy route to just the same trendy modern metalcore sounding shit for every song. But Dino's efforts with Divine Heresy and new Fear Factory were an obvious attempt to get his band back into the mainstream's grace by crafting music that was 'brutal' so that everyone could forget all about his flirtations with nu metal back in 2001.
Many tracks on this seem to suffer from the same problem as Divine Heresy. As I mentioned before, it's just a bunch of random heavy drum fills packed in a with matching guitar following and with that formula you basically have the entire album. This is cool at first when you get to a song like Powershifter, which is the closest highlight song in my opinion, but they keep re-using this formula as the album drags on and on, making for one boring listening experience.
The one other highlight for me was Burton's vocals. He still sounds fantastic for his age and manages to transition between screaming and soaring melodic vocals quite well. However, Burton's vocals were always one of the stronger parts of Fear Factory.
In short, if you like 'brutal' yet boring modern metal with no soul, then by all means pick this up. This may be passable if it were labelled as a Divine Heresy album but alas, it is not. There is no trace of the original Fear Factory sound on this at all without Raymond Herrera.
Sadly, Fear Factory has been draw into two camps similar to Sepultura. Back in 2002, vocalist Burton C. Bell quit because of feud with guitarist Dino Cazares. Bassist, Christian Olde Wolbers and drummer, Raymond Herrera decided to fire Cazares so Bell would return. The result, Archetype (2004) and Transgression (2005), both seemed to foreshadow a bright future.
2009, Cazares and Bell reconciled their feud and decided to phase of Wolbers and Herrera. Byron Stroud would remain Fear Factory’s bassist, a role he’s played since Cazares exit. Herrera is replaced by heavy metal scab, Gene Hoglan. Early 2010, this new incantation of Fear Factory released Mechanize.
The album’s strongest moments are in the vocal department. Bell’s screams sound fierce and intimidating, especially for his age. Clean vocals are your typical Fear Factory clean vocals you’d expect. Rhys Fulber also returns as producer and keyboardist, bringing back that classic Terminator atmosphere.
Upon first listen, you might notice Cazares has upgraded to the 8-string guitar. The problem is, the 8 string’s tone sounds hollow, especially when hitting the F# and B strings. This can be heard during the opening riffs of Mechanize and Oxidizer. Note: for further examples of this sound, check out Meshuggah’s Obzen and Ihsahn’s After.
Another flaw of the album, like current Machine Head, Cazares sounds like he wrote Mechanize with the intention of distracting fans of his nu-metal phase ten years ago. By the use of recycled riffs and trendy metalcore leads, Mechanize sounds more like a third Divine Hersey album.
The biggest problem on Mechanize is the drums. Yes, Gene Hoglan is a good drummer and to the untrained ear sounds like Raymond Herrera, but to a long-time Fear Factory fan, you can tell the difference.
Herrera was responsible for pioneering the “stop and go” double bass kick. This technique is one most important aspects of Fear Factory. Herrera doesn’t simply trigger his set to hide mistakes. What makes Herrera’s hits so unique is that they’re precise and still audible. Hoglan’s, drumming on Mechanized sounds like a wall of sound, quite similar to his work in Strapping Young Lad. This may sound good in Strapping, but not Fear Factory.
In conclusion, there are two ways to look at this album. The first, this is quite possibly one of the heaviest Fear Factory albums. Or the second, long-time fans may be confused and alienated by this sudden “Powershift.” In 2004, Archetype made it pretty clear that Dino was considered an “infection” to the machine. In, 2010 that same infection is back minus half of the machine (Wolbers & Herrera). One might say that the soul of this machine has been removed.
2010 was a year of surpises for me, good and bad, and Mechanize is most definitely one of the good ones.
Though I've often enjoyed Fear Factory, in particular Demanufacture and Obsolete, they've rarely actually blown me away, until I heard this album that is. This is the very definition of a band revitalised and showing the world just what they're capable of.
The most immediately striking aspect is the sheer unbridled rage. This album is ferocious, it is furious, coming out as an aural assault of brutality the likes of which they haven't had since their death metal tinted debut. Though there are still the occasional more melodic breaks, the whole album is on an unstoppable rampage from start to finish. With each new song I kept thinking, "Surely this is where it eases off the gas", but no, it just keeps on coming. While still firmly in keeping with their earlier sounds, here the band take a distinctly thrash-oriented turn, full of aggressive speed and thrashing riffs.
This raw intensity is due in no small part to the master of metal percussion, Gene Hoglan. To be a complete geek and quote Obi Wan, "He's more machine now than man". Few drummers are capable of genuinely transforming an album for me, but Hoglan enhances everything he comes into contact with, adding a whole new layer to the sound and giving Mechanize just the punch it needs.
He's not the only thing doing that though. Everything on this album is geared towards smashing your fucking skull in. Dino and Byron's guitar work perfectly meshes with Gene's drumming, coming at you like a bulldozer with Burton Bell roaring atop it and sounding more enraged than he has in a decade. The album trashes along at breakneck pace with riffs and drums pounding away, yet like the vicious-looking cover art it's capable of a little more finesse as well, and the music picks just enough times to ease up and become catchy to keep it from sounding repetitive, as in some of the choruses or the epic closer, Final Exit.
Opening title track Mechanize showing their intention perfectly, the explosive roar of Fear Campaign, the religious outrage of Christploitation, the infectiousness of Powershifter and Controlled Demolition, the band keep on throwing more and more at the listener. Really, it shouldn't have come as a surprise to me that a band half Fear Factory and half Strapping Young Lad would craft such a masterpiece of industrial-thrash annihilation, but after a few distinctly average albums I never expected something like this. In Mechanize Fear Factory have crafted the album of their career, every aspect that defines their sound cranked up to 11 and then some.
Mechanize, the long awaited album by L.A.’s most famous machine-like metallers Fear Factory is finally here… the first single, Powershifter, did put expectations sky high for sure yet, does Mechanize live up to the hype or is just another hit and miss album in today’s over polluted metal scene? I would say yes, it does, it certainly does and what is more important, it sounds fresh for what it is, a Fear Factory record… yeah! maybe you don’t like Fear Factory’s style and you think it’s always the same with them but I’ll get things clear once and for all on what’s relative to that topic, just keep reading… avoid the haters people, this is what Mechanize really is.
So, do you wanna know how Mechanize sounds? Well, my answer to that is that Mechanize sounds mechanized indeed… you got all the classic things Fear Factory always had yet, this time, we got a brand new element to appreciate and that element is no other than legendary drummer Gene Hoglan going berserk at the rhythmic section. Hoglan’s contribution to the band’s classic sound is, with no doubt, his ferocious thrashier edge, leaving absolutely no doubt he is the drummer this new Fear Factory incarnation deserves, tracks like Industrial Discipline and Christploitation shows him filling the spot like no other could ever do, nailing an absolutely monstrous performance, mechanical yet completely organic (you won’t get the feeling you’re listening to pro-tools and such, no matter how machine-like the songs are)… in two words, energetic and memorable, he’s simply all over the place with flawless execution, doing justice to the legend his name already is.
But what’s even more obvious than Gene behind the drum kit? I’ll tell you what, Dino Cazares once again on the 8 strings, that’s what! You know, I’ll never get all the haters bitching about him playing the same riff all the time cause he’s, obviously, not playing the same riff all the time, you must be deaf and also have an extremely diminished IQ level to avoid the fact he’s not playing the same riff all the time! What you do get here is his classic guitar picking style yet with a thrashier approach and here is where I wanna make a point, would you tell Trey Azagthoth to change his guitar picking style just cause a thousand bands have ripped off his trademark to boredom? No, of course you won’t, so yeah, Dino deserves an amount of respect equivalent to his weight for being one of the most imitated guitar players ever to grace the metal scene yet he’s still capable of pulling out insane right hand riffing without being generic like most clones do. Dino’s back, thrashier and heavier than ever (literally).
Now, if I would have to make a critic to the band’s sound, what would it be? Easy question, the bass being always way too low in the mix… I know what Byron Stroud’s capable of and I would love to hear him without having to concentrate on getting the bass tracks while I’m listening to the album. I guess he does what he’s supposed to do and that’s adding the low-end to the music… but still, imagine an entire album with a bass mix like the one you get on Replica’s Electric Sheep Mix and tell me you don’t think that’s something to look forward to, lie to me.
So, for someone into the whole Fear Factory sci-fi world, what’s the strongest point of this album? Yes, the conceptual theme… Burton C. Bell is, and will always be, Fear Factory’s main man, not because of his voice but his lyrics. This time, he went for a different approach yet keeping the main “man becoming machine” theme he have been developing since the Demanufacture days. He wrote a full-on critic to USA’s terrorist state and his fear campaign to justify an illegal war made up to establish a fascist new world order, it’s not sci-fi anymore, it’s about reality, about our reality, about what we all have had to witness this last decade and oh boy he did a good job at getting himself clear with that, take a look at songs like Fear Campaign or Controlled Demolition and see for yourself what's Burt accusing… but of course great lyrics demands great vocal performances and I assure you, there’s nothing to fear, he sounds just as aggressive as the rest of the band and this time he keeps his clean vocals in a lower range, kudos for that, there’s no need to go high-pitched on us every time you get a chorus verse so, this way, everything follows a proper standard that makes the album flow smoothly.
As far as production goes everything’s done perfectly, sterile sound with triggered drum kicks plus a killer guitar tone, typical Fear Factory … check Christploitation and Oxidizer for some awesome keyboard sections courtesy of Rhys Fulber, Fear Factory’s main producer that’s also back on the folder. The artwork is nicely done, specially the album cover and, as a product, I would say it’s definitely a good buy, so I can safely say, this is the Fear Factory album we all have been waiting for, avoid the haters, the score Mechanize truly deserves is hands down a 90 out of 100… this is the album that blends all the Fear Factory elements in perfect balance, what Mechanize really is!
After many years of playing some of the most emotionally intense drumming in metal in Strapping Young Lad, the famous Gene Hoglan has finally released his first solo album! Needless to say, I’ve been anticipating this for a long time, and now I can finally review my drumming idol’s debut solo release.
The album starts off with some cheesy-as-fuck electronics. I never knew that Hoglan was into the whole “cyber-apocalypse” theme that some old shitty band that I can’t quite remember used, but whatevs, man. The electronics might not sound original, but that’s not why I’m listening to Gene Hoglan’s solo album.
Why the fuck is some bad guitarist playing shitty riffs on top of Gene’s drumming? Like, holy fuck, Gene has some pretty cool rhythms going on, but this awful guitarist is just chugging away. Maybe this is some avant-Gene method of obscuring his wonderful instrument that will someday be the craze in awesome metal. Well, whatever it is, I can’t quite say that I like it. Anything covering up his drums is a bad idea. Shit, now a whiny vocalist is “singing” about some shit that I honestly couldn’t give a rat’s ass about. But the drums! The rhythms are pretty subtle under all the shit in the way, but they sound pretty nifty. I don’t think it tops his older work, but it’s certainly worth hearing for the subtleties if you’re a fan of his older work (as you should be!).
I think Gene is just trying to prove that even under countless layers of shit, his drumming will reign supreme. This avant-Gene techinique is actually working quite well, then. When he was in other bands, I unfortunately had to devote some effort into listening to those other chumps like Devin Townsend and Chuck Schuldiner play good guitar parts and provide good vocals. That distracted me from Hoglan’s drumming prowess. Luckily, that is not the case here! All I have to do is focus on how awesome Gene is!
You know how some black metal bands make their music intentionally “raw” sounding for atmospheric effect? Maybe that’s what Gene is doing here. I mean, it’s not like the guitarist or vocalist are contributing to the music in any other way–that’s Gene’s fucking territory! Don’t fucking mess with Gene’s fucking territory! Still, the shrouding of his drums underneath the murk of chugging guitar riffs just adds more mystique to the legend that Hoglan has created for himself through his music.
The rhythms on this album are all consistently catchy, groovy, and subtly complex. Unfortunately, it feels like this style of music doesn’t fit his skill set too well, so all I’m wondering is why he is playing this instead of some more chaotic material or ballsy death metal. Surely that would be a better use of his talents than making this relatively restrained solo album. Still, these other chump musicians would probably sound like the worst band ever without Gene.
As I keep listening to this, I’m noticing how the other noises going on always seem to be following the drums. It’s like Gene’s masterful drumming is leading a “noise parade” of sorts, and these other “musicians” are the floats blindly following him that wouldn’t dare change their path for any reason. They follow him at all times, with no exception! I just don’t get why Gene would want these other horrible floats following him. I mean, the awesome leading float is great and all that stuff, but the other floats are such a let down.
Gene, please get better floats next time you make a solo album.
Written for http://thenumberoftheblog.com/
I've been a long-time FF fan since Demanufacture, introduced to said album through Headbanger's Ball and the video for "Replica" back in the early 90's (i think). Even though I've loved this band immensely for quite a few years, I must admit that they were treading the waters of mediocrity with Archetype and especially Transgression.
When I heard Dino was back, I was fuckin thrilled. When I heard about the inclusion of the goddamned almighty Gene Hoglan, I was extatic!!
Well, after spending the past few weeks ingesting this album, I'm glad to say that this band's birthed a monster of an album! I would describe it as a modern era Demanufacture, with cleaner production that works to enhance and sharpen the clarity and attack of every instrument.
The big difference in this album from anything else Fear Factory has produced in the past is the lack of Rhys' contributions. Its few and far between, but Rhys' contributions are utilized for maximum dramatic effect. There's a greater emphasis on heaviness and straight-ahead attack. Gene's all over the place here, and I mean that in a good way! His fills and patterns are incredibly crafty and clever in their delivery; he maintains a consistent level of freshness in his playing throughout every track. Burton sounds fuckin pissed off throughout, like someone seriously knocked him in the grapes! His melodic vocals are more ranged at some parts, yet he sounds like his old familiar self. Dino's better on this album, the difference on this album are his solos. He doesn't produce any real face-melters on this album (has he ever in FF?), his solos are more the type that work to accentuate the melody and add to the overall feel of the song.
The only reason why I knock off 20 points from this review is due to tracks 7, 8, and 9. These songs really don't go anywhere and leave no lasting impression on the listener's mind, they're sort of just "there". The last track "Final Exit" is true to the time-tested FF formula of having a melodically progressive closing track to the album. It deals with death and the final thoughts that one goes through. I found it to be quite beautiful, but also quite depressing. I think it would hit anyone who's experiencing the death of a loved one pretty hard, its a mature and gripping track. If anything, I'd recommend this track over the rest for it's feeling and the fact that it highlights the emotionality that FF specializes in, that makes them truly unique.
Well, that's the long and skinny of it. This is my first review on this site, and I pumped it out at midnight with work looming in the early morning!
Notables: Industrial Discapline, Fear Campaign, Christploitation, Final Exit.
I’ll admit it now; me and FEAR FACTORY haven’t had a good relationship. I wasn’t too thrilled by their earlier deathly roots and found their later KORN-fed machinations all the more abhorrent. Still, prattled on they did, churning out albums and tours despite their apparent dismissal from the overt popularity radar screen, And outside of seeing a few songs of theirs live back in 2005 I’d pretty much forgotten they were still around (save for rumbling news on behalf of a few projects that contained the FACTORY workers), and as a result I wouldn’t know how time had worked for them lo these many successive years.
And with that, my curiosity as to how re-or-demanufactured FEAR FACTORY had become became a bit too loud to ignore…
Well, I know this much…they still don’t really throw me. And if nothing else they seem low on gas in this regard. While I am not counting their way too processed production values (theirs is of the mechanized type, thus the album name, I get that), the artificiality is also equal in part with the musical scheme of things, which does nothing for anyone save for the band themselves and what fan base is still present. There’s attempts at brutality present, as if the band spent a few months improperly ingesting mid-to-late-era SOILWORK before it came time to write this new album, but for the most part FEAR FACTORY take the nu metal/hardcore elements that made them a household name in the 90s for Adidas-clad wiggery, Mansonites and those who raged against the machine to a new level of banality, where faux machismo, feeble acts of “heaviness” and attempts at modern melodic tendencies do nothing to coalesce or gel into anything that tickles the ear drum. To make matters worse it also doesn’t seem like the band gives a damn this time around; a sensation of simply going through the motions is in play, where the gear-grating guitar riffs, drum machine-emulating percussion (always sweet how one-time mainstream acts take to blast beats like it could very well be a new feature) and a combination of hardcore shouts, whiny clean vocals and attempts at further vocal grimness may work for the band at a performance level, but when it comes to actually LISTENING to this dreck, it doesn’t work. At all. And it’s even more irritating when the band toys with you; the way they seemingly have the ability to create decent riff work but spend most of the time interspersing the stop-start -core bullshit over and over and over again until you’re begging for mercy…huh…maybe that’s what they were shooting for. Nevertheless, this makes for a bothersome, overtly digitized listen that could’ve been better created by studio gimmickry rather than a collection of real musicians, as songs like “Industrial Discipline”, “Powershifter” and “Oxidiser” show as bright as the molten metal they seem to want to musically create.
In the end the latest FEAR FACTORY again reminds me of everything I never liked about this band. And for all the increase in melodic heaviness, it still sucks and I’m better off staying away from the factory for good. Oh well.
I've always been a huge Fear Factory fan. Demanufacture was just awesome. Obsolete was freaking epic. OK, Digimortal was a little weird in places, and Transgression...well, at least they had the crushing Archetype between them, right? After Transgression, the drama that has plagued the band since Digimortal decided to come back in a new fashion. Nobody knew what to expect when Burton and Dino announced that a new Fear Factory album was in the works. Well, the album got made, and damn, this is the best thing I've heard in a pretty long time. Overall, this is just a solid blast of classic Fear Factory aggressive sonic domination. Dino can still play. In fact, the riffs on this album seem a lot more intricate in places than the band's usual guitar work. Burton is still one of the most under appreciated singers out there. Byron is Byron, and Gene Hoglan has proven all of the doubters wrong, showing that he can play Fear Factory's high-intensity drum beats with remarkable proficiency.
Before continuing to praise Mechanize, it's important to realize that the album isn't perfect. There are some negatives on the album, just like with any other CD. The difference with Mechanize is that the negatives are pretty minor and don't distract from the album as a whole. OK, Burton sounds a little bit strained in his screaming at times, but come on, the dude is 40. When he cleans it up in places, such as the chorus of Fear Campaign, he's still a vocal force to be reckoned with. The other main nitpick with Mechanize is that some of the songs seem a bit short. Take Industrial Discipline, for example. It blasts along, and then goes into a dead-cool breakdown at the end. But, all of a sudden, the song just seems to stop. A few of the tracks have this problem, where they seem to be a little stripped down, or perhaps purposely shortened. But overall, those are pretty minor gripes given the strength of the album as a whole.
With the negatives out of the way, what are the strong points? Well, basically, the whole damn thing. I can't get over how good this album is, as is evidenced by the fact that it's pretty much all I've been listening to for a while now. Mechanize just refuses to get old or lose its impact. It’s also hard as hell to isolate the strongest tracks. They damn sure made a good choice for the first video single, Fear Campaign. Fear Campaign is one of Fear Factory's best songs, and not just on Mechanize. Oh crap, is that Dino playing a lead in there? Seriously? A little more of that type of experimentation on future releases and Fear Factory might evolve into something even more bombastic. Another absolutely awesome track is Oxidizer. The breakdown/out-chorus at the tail end just begs to be blasted at obscene volume. Had they repeated that bit for 45 minutes, they'd still have delivered a serious album. Controlled Demolition is another standout, even if Burton has apparently missed the fact that all of the post-9/11 "the government blew up the Twin Towers" crap has been debunked by basic science. But regardless, it's still a damn good song musically, even if the flawed message is a bit out of date at this point anyway. The rest of the CD, including the album's teaser release Powershifter, is just as good as those three tracks. Another aspect of the album that really drives it over the top is the really solid work by Rhys Fulber. This is not surprising, as he was the man behind the electronic soundscapes of Obsolete. That aspect of Fear Factory's music really stood out on Demanufacture and Obsolete. It seemed to be a bit of an afterthought on later releases, so it's nice to see it return with more force and effect on Mechanize. When the band is hitting on all cylinders, they seem to be creating atmospheres rather than songs, and Fulber's work is a key element to that style.
At the end of the day, this will stand out as one of the best metal albums of 2010, and one of the best in Fear Factory's catalog. If you really want to know what this album represents, it's what Megadeth and Metallica have been trying to do for well over a decade now: recapture past energy and musical vitality. Megadeth is coming along while Metallica seems to be stumbling around, but Fear Factory has obliterated both of them in both the effort and the results. Here's hoping that they stay the course and deliver us an equally solid release the next time around.
How long has it been since there has been a Fear Factory album that was so intense it pretty much ripped your face off every second that it spun? Years? Probably not since Demanufacture for most fans, with Archetype coming in a close second. Well, after the atrocity that was Transgression, Fear Factory have reunited with Dina Cazares on guitars, and bring us the album we have all long been waiting for: Mechanize. This album is fueled by absolute intensity, melody, and technicallity, just what we all have come to know and expect from their releases. Welcome back, Fear Factory.
The title track of Mechanize is simply breath taking, but in the sense of that is crushes you to the point where you can't breath. However, this punishing track doesn't really set the tone of the album, though it's far from the heaviest track available. What comes next is a combination of various elements that have made Fear Factory a household name. Many of the tracks come at you in a blistering assault that blends furious music throughout with a more melodic chorus that is sung, the main thing that put the band on the map. But when you hit "Christploitation", things seem to change up a bit and we go right back to furious and angry Fear Factory that would make any of their recent discography quiver in fear.
Everything on here goes great until you hit the track "Designing the Enemy". While this track isn't that bad at all, it just feels so out of place and tame compared to the rest of the album. The track is slower, has simpler Meshuggah-esque guitar riffs and drum kicks to it, and severely watered down focusing more on singing then anything else until a little more then half way through, when the whole thing comes into perspective a bit thanks to the distorted gutteral vocals, then back to the clean singing. It acts as a nice intermission if you want to consider it that way, but it does disrupt the flow of the album and will have you itching to strike the skip track button. It's clear that this track was added to prepare you for the closing track "Final Exit", as "Designing the Enemy" and the isntrumental track "Metallic Division" make for a more powerful closing to the release, but even if you look at that song as a form of interpretation to the album as a whole, it's still not that great a track. Had it been left out and let it end with "Metallic Division" and "Final Exit" instead, it would have been perfect, since the entire album rips your face off, but then gives you a feeling of hope and closure at the end.
The Deluxe Edition of Mechanize comes in a nice digipack, and comes complete with four bonus tracks. The first of the four is a newly recorded track entitled "Crash Test" which is very diverse from the rest of album, beaing a very heavy and intense song that relies more on the band's older Death Metal roots then anything of the more established Groove Metal sound. This makes for a very furious track that fans of the original sound will like, but the track doesn't have much of a lasting appeal here, and seems to be one of those songs that would gain a bigger response live if used to really get the crowd pumped during the performance. Aside that, you also have the band's entire second 1991 demo tape recording placed on here as a bonus. It's great to hear some of the classic songs from earlier Fear Factory as they originally were when they were first recorded, before the record deal and access to better production equipment. These tracks are clearly a plus and worth the few extra dollars to obtain.
Mechanize, with the exception of "Designing the Enemy", is hands down one of the best Fear Factory releases in nearly fifteen years. The album is just a non stop thrill ride from start to bottom, and ends on such a powerful high note that actually resolves this album, giving you closure, which is something that many albums seem to lack anymore. This is one album that will be lodged in your player, and that you'll probably wear out from repeat listens before you even attempt to touch another release. If you're going to be any new release for this year, make sure you pick up Mechanize.
Originally posted on Apoch's Metal Review
Well I’m not going to lie about anything when it comes to Fear Factory. They are one of those bands with their albums they tend to go through this Bi-Polar string of releases where the last one was considered shitty and now the new one there are all back and angry and with “Mechanize” they are just that. They’re back and sounding more pissed than ever. And that is where I’m having a problem at.
Fear Factory are a band that is known and has been known to create some wonderful pieces of music be it “Zero Signal”, “Big God/Raped Souls”, even “Resurrection” and “Slave Labor” are all excellent pieces of musical aggression that will have most metal heads giving two thumbs up and most entry-level metal heads blowing their loads over in sheer amazement. Even with Fear Factory doing this, they’ve sure made a lot of filler. Not because the music sucks, it’s just hard to top a song like “Zero Signal” or “Piss Christ” on your album and expect the listener to take the rest of the album seriously or the vast majority of your music. On “Mechanize” we see Fear Factory going for broke in the aggression department. I mean, if anyone knows anything about Fear Factory, they can bring the hurt. The shitty thing is that to ME, not any other listener, it’s hurting my ears. It’s like they forgot a lot of what they were trying to do over the years and just said double-bass, synchronized palm-muted riffs, Burton’s trademark melodic/growling/shouting vocals that every single band seems to deliberately rip-off these days (and poor fucking Burton is never given the credit where it’s due). It has all the Fear Factory musical trademarks. But it just seems like they are trying way too hard.
“Mechanize” starts off…wait…I’m sorry did I pop-in “Demanufacture” by mistake? We hear the opening title track which gets things started off on the right foot. No fucking around here. But it lacks something, in which I am not sure. “Industrial Discipline” starts off the same way, but picks up the tempo a bit faster, but we get more of Burton C’ Bells melodic vocals. “Fear Campaign” continues and….now I know what is bothering me about this album; IT SOUNDS TOO MUCH LIKE DIVINE HERESY. With original guitarist Dino Carzers coming back into the fold after a long hiatus, but subtracting the other half of the band, it's half of the deliverance of the songs. Burton C. Bell's vocals half of the time seemed forced and contrived. You would think with Gene Hoglan laying down drums and even getting long-time keyboardist Rhys Fulber it would be out-fucking-standing......but it's lacking the power. The few stand-out tracks here are “Powershifter”, "Industrial Discipline", and the last song “Final Exit” which for the first time since I was a kid in high school has been able to be put in the top of the Fear Factory crop of songs that will gets stuck in your head for days. My best friend has been raging about this album because it is supposed to be an attempt for Fear Factory to be that raging machine again, but in the end, it sounds too forced. It’s not a bad album and if you are a die-hard Fear factory fan, you’ll no doubt love it, but for me, I rather pop-in “Demanufacture” at the end of the day.