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Not that this is techno… but it is Fear Factory. The typewriter drums of this band have always perplexed me. Too perfect, seemingly, but after seeing these dudes live with drummer Raymond Herrera I can rest assured that it’s real. That was 2001, on a tour for the rather sub-par Digimortal, but despite the weak album, the live performance was aggressive and flawlessly executed.
“Shock” is exactly fucking that, a perfectly named and heavy as fuck opener to a brutal cyberthrash journey into the ionosphere. Here’s the thing with Obsolete, the only real downfall, which indeed becomes apparent within this opening track, is repetition. Coming off the success of Demanufacture, Obsolete finds Fear Factory at a creative plateau; this album may well be the peak of this band’s potential, it’s angry yet polished, but at any rate, probably the darkest and most hateful of what this band would go on to do. Let me reiterate that Herrera is an absolutely crushing drummer. He and Dino seem to be locked into a formulaic system of composition for Obsolete, which lends to this conceptual album its needed feeling of continuity. The synchopated 32nd note machine gun riff of “Securitron” is jaw-dropping in its pin-point accuracy. The soaring clean vocals of Burton C Bell spellbind the listener with Om-like vibration. Say what you will about the ‘uplifting’ melody of the single “Descent,” but the utterly nihilistic lyrics make for an aesthetic dichotomy. This song fucking rules. Fuck it, I don’t care how poppy it sounds, there’s no way I can keep from screaming “NOOOO-THING” when I hear it.
“Freedom or Fire” is where things start to get nice and heavy. Can you say drum 'n' bass? Despite the dancy groove, this shit is fucking heavy, and as much as I hate this fucking word, the ‘breakdown’ that begins at 2:55 is absolutely ball crushing. The schizophrenic and thrashing chaos of the title track will fuck you up. “Obsolete” flows flawlessly into the operatic grandeur of “Resurrection,” a sci-fi disasterpiece that resolves itself in that weirdly uplifting feeling that is recurrent throughout this album.
“Reach for the sky, touch the sky. Reach for a hope for mankind.”
Such is the refrain of “Resurrection,” which is at once an atheistic proclamation as well as a triumphant destroyer of conditioned boundaries. This is a great album. It’s intellectual and catchy. It’s well orchestrated and abrasively heavy. The closing piece, “Timelessness” is a brilliant rendering of the talented Burton Bell. An ambient end to a violent album, but conveys a feeling of closure nonetheless.
Obsolete also comes in a quite worth-it extended version with five additional tracks. A guilty pleasure, yeah, so what, but Fear Factory’s cover of Gary Numan’s “Cars” is a total feel good rock and roll song, which is great if you feel good, and its waaay better that the original. Wiseblood tribute“0-0” is just plain evil, and very tastefully done, truly scary in its stark and sinister delivery. The other three tracks are FF originals, with “Concreto” being a particularly devastating beast.
After enjoying the hell out of their more death metal seeded debut, Soul Of A New Machine and their nearly flawless followup Demanufacture, this was an album I had not invested much time in it. I had heard a few of the songs individually but after learning that this was a concept album, I thought that this was one best bought and heard from start to finish.
Musically it seems to me that it was a further departure from their original sound, more-so than Demanufacture which could possibly be attributed to a slight streamlining for greater sales. Not that this is a terrible thing.
Shock and Edgecrusher have an obvious nu-metal type of groove, fewer riffs and changes and less of the rawness and attitude they began with but nevertheless are good choices to start with. Things improve a bit with Smasher/Devourer and Securitron with Raymond Herrera having a way of following the rhythm with the kick drum and clever placement of the snare. The chorus from the latter bearing resemblance to choruses that appear in Hi-Tech Hate and Resurrection which I assume is to be self-referential to keep with the concept.
Descent is a well written semi-ballad, using a melodic yet heavily distorted guitar (not a hint of clean or acoustic anywhere) in a song that has a downer feel to it, yet is heavy and metallic.
Freedom of Fire loses my interest as the buildup seems too overstated and drawn-out. The vocal effects attempting to emulate someone drenched in liquid (the story being someone dousing himself in petrol and self-immolating in protest) breaks the suspension of disbelief and a bit of a weak link in the album.
Obsolete starts out in a similar fashion with a "little-too-extended" intro and odd reverb effects until the chorus, which gives a decent up-beat thrashy chorus.
Ressurection has the best vocal work of the album and the riff is interesting. It starts as a typical catchy riff with the listener suspecting they could telegraph the next chord until it drops down to something a little different on the low string. The appeal does not last very long though, the previously mentioned recurring chorus is revisited and seems to wander along until the end.
Timelessness is the closer featuring Gary Numan pretending to be some kind of announcer. The song consists only of strings and Burton's dramatic vocals ending the story. In the right context for one following the story it could be somewhat of a Tear Jerker, but to me it's quite boring and nothing I could stand listening to for 3 minutes plus. It usually gets skipped.
The production of this album is very crisp and has a polished sheen which is to be expected from an album at this point of the bands career and expecting to sell as well as it did. The guitar tone is one of the best Fear Factory have had and is the last of Dino using his modified Marshall before he would later go digital. However the riffs are more basic than Dino has ever performed. Although it's rare for Fear Factory to do solos, some good leads that Dino is more than capable of would have really perked up my interest in this album.
The drums are of course very punchy and clear. Some of the main beats are quite clever but there are not very many fills or changes that keep up the appearances of Raymond's previous work. In fact by direct comparison, he's downright underplaying.
The bass has never been a standout part in Fear Factory and it is felt more than it is heard as it serves mainly to support the guitars. Occasionally it plays outside of the guitar in the form of riff tails as heard towards the end of Descent and Hi-Tech Hate.
The main vocal style is similar to the rasp heard on Demanufacture but is delivered in more of a spoken style than yells. The clean vocals are used more often and attempts at soaring clean vocal work can be heard on Resurrection whereas Descent and Timelessness have the softest in their discography.
There is not much actual industrial to be heard from the industrial movement aside from the few sound effect laden intros which are a constant for Fear Factory. Alot of the sound effects during the songs are closer to hip-hop and nu-metal than industrial, I was annoyed to hear DJ scratching in Edgecrusher.
In total, it's a decent album, if not a slight letdown. The tracks are at least listenable and some of the moments are fun to bang your head to.
I dig this album a lot, though whether that enjoyment hinges more on musical quality or on nostalgia to when I was first getting into metal is anyone's guess. To deny the obvious and pervasive nu-metal leanings of the material here is essentially impossible, but equally impossible is to deny some of the purely excellent songwriting that is indeed present. Well, excellent as far as pop music goes; by this point, Fear Factory had left essentially all vestiges of death metal behind apart from the barest of aesthetics, and was clearly leaning towards a much more mainstream direction. If you can get past that, though, you can find a core of great songwriting, which is not only accessible, but also surprisingly deep and a worthwhile listen for even the more jaded metal listeners among us.
Weirdly enough, I feel that the most ignorant and lame songs on 'Obsolete' are those that stubbornly cling to the 'Demanufacture'-era sound instead of just abandoning that. 'Shock' is a clumsy attempt at an aggressive opener, and it's hard to enjoy beyond a sort of 'WHOA THIS IS HEAVY' adolescent fervor. But it's for that same reason that I can still enjoy 'Edgecrusher', with it's ridiculous tough-guy lyrics and silly hip-hop influence: instead of masquerading as death metal, it finds that big, stupid delight in the new sound and delves fully into it, resulting in what's possibly the ultimate metal 'guilty pleasure'. The title track is similar to 'Shock' in clumsiness, but that's about as far as the particularly offensive tracks go; the rest range from a tad mediocre ('Hi-Tech Hate') to really excellent ('Descent'), and unsurprisingly, the most fundamentally pop-leaning are the best on here.
The trio of ballads- 'Descent', 'Resurrection', and 'Timelessness'- are legitimately great songs that stand as some of the best that Fear Factory ever turned out. Burton C. Bell's clean vocals are used to amazing effect on these tracks, and are woven into the fabric of the music much better than on previous releases. 'Descent' and 'Resurrection' are the obvious standouts, with anthemic choruses and mammoth riffs, but closer 'Timelessness' is a more subtle beast, devoid of percussion and relying on pure, keyboard-soaked melody. It works. Each of this trio is a great example of what stereotypically progressive influences can do FOR an album instead of TO it, and, open mind provided, could likely convince a lot of people that the inclusion of poppy melodies, keyboards, and (to some degree) uplifting things can, in fact, be used to the benefit of extreme metal.
On the more genuinely underground side of things, there's two more standouts: 'Smasher/Devourer' and 'Securitron (Police State 2000)' are particularly of note, with sets of great riffs and memorable song structures in each. Admittedly, a great deal for my admiration for them comes from the past: they were some of the first extreme metal songs I'd ever heard. I have to say, though, that they're still great in their own right, even if they are a very poppy and accessible version of extreme metal. Even in their earliest, heaviest days, Fear Factory was never lacking in catchiness, and in this regard, I can't really accuse them of selling out as much as resorting their priorities in songwriting. Is 'Obsolete' essentially a pop album? Yeah, I'd say that's a fair assessment. However, it is a pop album geared to a metalhead crowd, and it does succeed in the attempt of crafting such a release. Plus, you have to give them credit for attempting such an ambitious concept and pulling it off so well; clearly a lot of time and energy was put into it.
I feel about this album the way many people probably feel about, say, 'God Hates Us All'. I still like it, even though my tastes have 'advanced' past it in a lot of ways. It's a disc that I like to bring out occasionally to remind myself of that feeling of discovery when I was first getting into metal. It makes me happy to hear; transports me back to being eleven or twelve years old, furtively downloading Meshuggah MP3s off Kazaa nonstop and always sharing what new musical discovery I'd stumbled upon with my friends. Such a view is a bad way to critique music. It's a great way to experience it, though.
As has been previously pointed out, the descent of FF into nu-metal/mallcore/whateverthehellthatshitiscalledtoday looms large over this release. It's rather sad saying goodbye to such a good band. Still, this album has merits in its own right, and stands as a pretty damn good piece of industrial metal.
The guitars are somewhat basic, and Dino Cazares has been criticised for this. Still, it matches the feel of the album well, conjuring technocratic nightmares and providing the soundtrack for a nice little man vs. machine showdown, as it should. The sound of the guitars is downtuned (not yet nu-metal, though) and heavy, not in an extreme, but still very headbangable way, and the slightly repetitive chugging is appropriate for this style. The drumming is moderately good, but it gets damn annoying sometimes, though not in a way to cripple the record.
Bell's mix of clean and 'rough' (not growling) vocals gets a tad grating. It's not that he can't sing; it's that he shouldn't. Still, he has a reasonable voice, and can convey a reasonable sense of menace, as in 'Obsolete' and parts of 'Smasher/Devourer'. However, the latter is also a good example of what he shouldn't do and persists in doing; the excellent track, with hints of death metal riffage, is hamstrung by his bogawful whispering interlude. 'Resurrection' and 'Timelessness', bad enough as is, suffer even more by Bell's inability to hit the notes. The atmosphere of the work doesn't require a great singer, though, since the rough nature humanises the protagonist of the concept album's narrative, and suits the mood. Still, tracks that centre around his voice alone could musically only really be justified by an above-average performance missing here.
It must be noted that, yes, this is concept album. The liner notes and excellent artwork explain the narrative, though not in a Bal-Sagoth way. Most of FF's work deals with a man-machine tension, and Demanufacture, Obsolete and Digimortal are a kind of trilogy of a man-machine war. The first shows the war; the second the results of the machine's victory (man is, ahem, obsolete) and the trials of Neo-like rebel hero Edgecrusher; and the third deals with the merging of man and machine into cringeworthy 'digimortality' (whoever came up with that one should be punished severely). So 'Descent' and 'Resurrection' show Edgecrusher's despair, and 'Timelessness' is a suitably mournful contemplation of his desolate loneliness and struggle to find the motivation to continue. Bad song? Yeah, kinda. Still, it's appropriate, and matches the album's concept well.
In general, the good parts - and they can be thrilling - do outnumber the bad. Most songs have excellent parts, and songs such as 'Obsolete' show how good FF can be. The overall heaviness and dark, desolate, Matrix-ish feel make this a must for industrial metal fans, and those who enjoy not merely the straight-out riffing, but the whole shebang of a well-put-together concept with matching artwork, lyrical intention (if occasional cheesy) and music.
"Obsolete" is an intersting peace of industrial material. However, it is neither as good as its predecessor nor as its successor.
The album is many times lyric-driven. This means two things: 1 - Burton C. Bell sings like a fag many times in this album, and 2 - basic riffing. Maybe Dino Cazares was too lazy this time, I don't know. For the most part of the album, the riffs are desperately basic and far from original and are used only as background. True, Dino and Christian play in perfect harmony, but that is really not that hard when most of the music is Nu Metal.
Other than that, the album is technically good. In the many parts where the drums take the lead, they do excellent work. Sometimes it sounds like they are forced to, as if the drummer felt that if he wouldn't do something the songs will suck ass. Raymond Herrera is one of the best drummers I heard, and he is fast, diverse and sharp on this album. However - he's not heavy. The album lacks the feel of Metal. If you're looking for headbanging you won't find it here. maybe if you look real carefully. "Shock" and sometimes "Obsolete" are the only exceptions here.
"Descent" is totally Nu-Metal and "Timelessness" is a semi-A-Capella song, totally boring. I assume it is meant to lyrically complete the story (it is a concept album).
One aspect must be pointed out: The production of "Obsolete", as all of Fear Factory's albums, is flawless. Every instrument is audible in its full sound, the bass is felt well and the drums - oh the drums. Every pound of every drum, cymbal and pedal is felt. The sound is mostly metallic-industrial, yet still possesses some grove. The synthesizer parts which are distantly scattered along the album are always in place, tactfull, and never obscure the other instruments.
Eventually, "Obsolete" is mostly a Nu-Metal/Metalcore album, with metal drumming here and there. My personal favorites: "Shock", "Edgecrusher" and "Obsolete", which are the only good songs here. True, fear factory make excellent Nu-Metal/Metalcore, but they better leave it to other bands and focus on the real metal they are good at.
Not a bad album at all, but the combination of repetitiveness and cheese (sweet lord the last two tracks are shit - tastic) brings it down a bit. Tracks like "Shock" and "Obsolete" are why you are happy you bought it, songs like "Securitron" and "Hate -whatever whatever" tire you out, songs like "Timelessness" piss you off.
"Shock" is pure gold, one hell of an aggressive, angry song and the stop - start section at the end with Bell screaming SHOCK! is extremely headbangable. "Edgecrusher" is fucking sweet as well, an actual good use of scratching, I can see why they called it "acid scratching," caustic and hissing sound. I have always liked the more deathy side of Fear Factory as opposed to the melody, but Bell's singing does hold them apart from other death bands. Then again, it was also their downfall into cheese, and while "Descent" is a good tune, you can tell it forebodes dark times of rancid radio filth for FF. "Freedom or Fire" is a good, chaotic and speedy track, "Obsolete" is good as well with an intro by Mr. Gary Numan (who, by the way, is a kind of punky -new wave space alien wierdo whose album with the Tubeway Army is worth checking out), and a very entertaining chorus.
Overall, good, but the fear that Concrete - era FF will become Shitbag -era FF soon overwhelms the listener, and at the end there's no denying which era will soon be dominant.
Fear Factory released two albums previous to this that I thought were good but not great. Then this monster came along and totally realigned both my opinion and my spinal column while it was at it. This is, for me, the heaviest, best-structured, and most cohesive album FF released before they degenerated into nu-metal suckage and is my personal favorite of the lot.
The concept of the album is fascinating and intelligently-delivered, spinning a yarn of one man's (cyborg's?) search for freedom and independence in a post-apocalyptic scenario where individuality is devalued to the point of nonexistence (hmm...sounds kinda like the direction the USA is heading in politically these days...), and the intense struggle within and without he goes through to find it. During this story he questions everything including the existence of god and his own self-worth, and it is actually a pretty cool little story once you latch onto it. I find it really adds to the album's feel.
OK, but is the music any good? Hells yes, it is! Raymond Herrera, although I HATE his drum sound (triggers to the max), is one of the most precise drummers I've ever heard, anchoring every song with grace as well as perfect time and killer double kick chops. Witness the rapid-fire flurries of double kick he tosses into the bridge part of "Smasher/Devourer" right after the second chorus...oh, man, is he TIGHT. Sounds like three-round bursts from an Uzi.
Dino is, of course, the MAN in the riff department--his writing style really defined FF's sound in the beginning, with his crisp yet deep downtuned 7-string (down to A, but this ain't no Korn wussjob). He gets in a nice clean chorused part in the chorus of "Securitron (Police State 2000)" that really suits the shifting of gears to a more melodic feel on those parts, as opposed to the syncopated, Pantera-like verses and the absolutely devastating mosh part that immediately follows the first chorus with a machinegun-like riff that chugs along with gut-wrenching intensity. As if you can't tell, this is one of my favorite songs on this album.
Dino also really owns on "Edgecrusher" with its simple, ultra-heavy riffing that is perfect for the song, and guest DJ Zodok's scratching on that tune adds to the chaotic-ness of it. The title track will compress your head down between your shoulders with its odd-meter verses, frenzied segue riffs, and its chorus is great to scream along to at the top of your lungs ("MAN! IS! OBSOLETE!!! ERASED! EXTINCT!"). Bassist at the time, Christian Olde Wolbers, doesn't let himself fade away, either; he gets plenty of exposure in the excellent and appropriately chilly-sounding mix with a variety of tones--from deep fuzz to clear and resonant, to even a bit of upright plunking and strumming on "Edgecrusher".
My other two real fave tunes here are the last two, "Resurrection" and "Timelessness". The first one is unabashedly melodic and catchy and features some nice and unobtrusive string parts on the chorus that really make the song soar and seem hopeful as the hero talks about finding the courage to go on in the face of incredible odds. And the last track...well, it takes a huuuge set of cojones to end a staggeringly heavy album like this with a song that is nothing but soothing strings and Burton singing his heart out, and it achieves the feel of the title perfectly. Before FF disappointed us all with their "Descent" into suckage, this was their apex--get it, already!
Here we have Fear Factory's last album before 'selling out' with Digimortal, which may or may not be 100% mallcore. I'd have to hear it myself to form an opinion. This is a concept album revolving around a machine being called Edgecrusher who tries to stop Smasher/Devourer from destroying the human race or something like that. Hell, I can't remember the storyline exactly, but it's something along those lines. Fear Factory prove that concept albums aren't just for progressive and power metal bands and don't have to be devoid of killer riffs and aggression.
The album begins with Shock, which is one of those defining songs that lays the map for the rest of the album. Hatred and anger just spews from this song, and Bell explores his higher vocal registers later.
After this is Edgecrusher. This is just straightforward metal, but it's great. Following Edgecrusher, it's Smasher/Devourer, which begins with a savage groove and is one of the heaviest songs of the album. Gotta love those evil, whispered vocals that give way to a reprisal of the chorus sung with all the belligerence and aggression you could ask for.
Next is Securitron(Police State 2000). This song has some great syncopation and has one of the catchiest choruses of the song. Coming after this, Fear Factory gives us something with radio credibility, the track Descent. This is more hard rock than metal, and it's very soothing.
Coming after this is Hi-Tech Hate, which has one of the most awesome introductions ever. It's an insane crescendo that starts out very quiet(almost inaudible) and gives way to the main melody. This song deals with nuclear weapons.
Freedom or Fire follows (don't you just love the alliteration there?)and the lyrics deal with persecution and violence. It's much like Hi-Tech Hate in it's bludgeoning force.
Next is the title track, Obsolete, which is more ass-kicking. I'm not listening to the album while reviewing this right now, so I can't pick out prominent aspects of every song on this album, but rest assured that this song continues the trend of catchy vocal arrangements, melody, and aggression.
Coming after the title track is the amazing Resurrection. Wow, this is very moving. It's surprising to think that a band so in-your-face as Fear Factory can hit us with a song of such beauty. Lyrically, it deals with the feeling that God has abandoned the singer.
Next is Timelessness. This song is not metal at all and is more of an atmospheric ballad. Bell's vocals are just gut-wrenchingly beautiful on this song. It's full of strings and mournful atmosphere.
Finally, the last song is the bonus track is the Gary Numan cover "Cars". Who is Gary Numan anyway? Holy shit, this song is killer. It's not aggressive, but it's one of the most fun songs ever. It just screams catchy and the English vocals are great. On the digipak version of this album, it consists of four bonus tracks, but I'm reviewing the original. This is truly a classic album and should be picked up by metalheads from all walks of life.
Yes, I said it, and I meant it. In the days of recordable CDs I don't listen to many actual albums very often, and this is one of the few metal CDs which I do listen to all the way through. Quite simply it is the best CD from the most original heavy metal band since Black Sabbath started the whole thing.
Fear Factory's music is at its best when Burton C. Bell's ability to jump from a thrashy roar to his surprisingly beautiful natural singing voice is displayed. In fact, while I normally focus on guitar and drums, Bell outshines both Raymond Herrera(D) and Dino Cazares(G) and makes Fear Factory one of the few bands in existance which I will reccomend primarily on the basis of the vocals. Christian Olde Wolbers(B) is hard to hear since he mostly plays along with Cazares note for note, but his playing is quite good nonetheless.
(Note: All songs are rated on a 1-4 * scale)
The album opens with "Shock" (****) whose intro makes it impossible to put anywhere else. This is not only one of the best songs on the album but in all of Fear Factory's catalog. "Shock" serves as an introduction to the story (it is a concept album), introducing us to the resistance against a futuristic police state. Bell takes on the character of a resistance leader declaring himself to be the one who will deal a crushing "shock to the system" that will destroy the establishment. The music is pretty generic thrash, but that is more than made up for by Bell's performance.
"Edgecrusher" (***1/2) tells of the prison break of the title character, who also happens to be the main character of the story. Bell and Cazares are both in fine form, as Bell provides some great agression in his vocals, while Cazares provides us with a surprisingly old-school riff as opposed to his usual palm muted speed picking. In addition to this Wolbers provides a stand-up bass (!) riff to the verses.
"Smasher/Devourer" (**1/2) describes the government's enforcement droid as it encounters a protest during its search for Edgecrusher. The song is not bad per-se but apart from Bell's heavily processed vocals during the chorus, there's nothing much to make it memorable.
"Securitron" (**1/2) is the "mission statement" of the fictional regime: "There is no place to hide/Plugged in your mind/Conformed design." This is one of the few tracks where Wolbers is audible due to the arrangement of the intro, which leaves him to finish the riff while Cazares only plays the first half.
"Descent" (***) is arguably the "hit" on the album, getting a decent amount of airplay on hard rock stations. Considering that the best part of the song is Bell's smooth performance, which is virtually devoid of screaming and contains quite possibly his best "hook" ever with the "I am nothing" chorus. In the song Bell portrays a tired and despairing Edgecrusher as he ponders his place in the world, and winds up sleeping alone and forgotten in an abandoned building.
"High Tech Hate" (**1/2) is the low point of the album. Bell takes on the character of a resistance leader berating what he sees as sheep for their complacency. In keeping with this character the song is all agression and has very little melody, although Bell's screamed "Cowards you all" is somewhat catchy. Still, while it provides little as an individual song, it serves a very important purpose in the storyline of the album.
"Freedom or Fire" (****) is obviously the climax of the story, as the orator from "High Tech Hate" douses himself with gasoline and decides he'd rather set himself on fire than live one more second in the world of Securitron. Musically the song has that "big" quality that I personally love.
"Big" is a hard quality to describe, but it involves full sounding production, and heavily layered musical elements. Synthesizers and/or orchestrations usually add to a songs "bigness." Queen's "The Show Must Go On," X-Japan's "Silent Jealousy," and (don't laugh) Elton John's "Believe" are the best examples of this "big" sound.
The title track, "Obsolete" (**) finds a Securitron enforcer telling the crowd that their cause is futile, and that mankind is a lost cause which is not worth their efforts to protect it. The song, like "High Tech Hate" serves more as a narrative element than as a good song in and of itself.
"Resurrection" (****) tells of Edgecrusher's rediscovery of his purpose and meaning as he witnesses the events of the previous three songs. Bell's narrative (included in the liner notes) describes Edgecrusher walking into an abandoned building, which based on Bell's description is obviously an abandonded church. Bell takes on the character of Edgecrusher, singing the surprisingly hopeful lyrics as he gazes curiously at the crucifix. The music of the song is an odd twist for Fear Factory as it includes a real string section in addition to Bell's tremendous singing talent.
Bell's narrative provides us with a stirring image as the "dampness in the air" makes the Christ figure appear as if He had been weeping. He backs this up with the string driven, and guitar/bass/drums free, "Timelessness" (**1/2). This is probably the main flaw in the album, as it would have been better off closing with "Resurrection." "Timelessness" comes off as "Resurection-lite" and is somewhat of an anti-climax both musically and in terms of the story.
Overall this album has just about everything going for it, and what few flaws it has are easily overlooked in the context of the concept album.
This was the first Fear Factory cd I ever purchased. When I first heard it I loved it. I think I gave it a 90. The album just blew me away. So why did I praise it so highly? Well, I never heard their older stuff and this was the first metal cd I ever bought. I was listening to The Tea Party all day(I still do and a great band they are) and one day I saw Obsolete on sale so I bought it. Of course being a fan of Front Line Assembly will only make me even more anxious to hear this band. So in the cd goes and out comes my review...
The album starts with Shock and a nice opener it is. Burton screams "Shock" with all his might and vocal power. The song features a nice clean-vocal chorus backed by the usually keyboard power.
We hae Edgecrusher which is said to be one of Chirstian's favorite songs. The song is probably the most straightforward on the album. It's heavy and fits fairly well on the second track. Some will notice the use of a DJ. While I normally feel DJs have no business in metal, it seems to work well. However, they are playing with fire and this becomes far too evident on their next album with the song "Back the Fuck Up".
Smasher/Devourer is probably the least accessible song on the album. It features almost no chrous and spans for over 5 minutes. However, when Burton does his clean vocals they sound great. When he sings "Salvation" it just seems so nautral. The song is the heaviest on the album but is by no means a bad song.
Securition(Police State 2000) has an extremely chrous. It somewhat reminds me of Self Bia Resistor but with more keyboards and snare drum hitting. A strong song throughout but it gets a little too predictable. At this point of the album things are getting just that. Thankful the next track throws a monkey wrench into things
Decent is an extremely catchy song throughout. The vocals arent harsh and the keyboards and guitar just have this radio-hit feel to them. It is a surprise to me that this song wasnt a hit. It is one of the most melodic things the band has ever done. The song is straightforward and doesnt offer anything new, but is a good song nevertheless.
Hi-tech Hate sounds similar to Securition(Police State 2000). Nothing new here. Just a basica Obsolete-session song. Not a bad one and pretty catchy. Both melodic and death vocals used here.
Freedom or Fire is my personal favorite song on the album. It is a lot darker than the other tracks and features a killer chrous with Burton's vocals sounding better than ever. He utilizes his voice to the fullest potential. Why he didnt do this on Digimortal is a mystery. A really nice song with extremely hard snare drum hitting.
Obsolete is another straightforward song much like Edgecrusher. There is some interesting tom action during a fairly easy chrous to chant. The Gary Numan intro sets up the song. A faitrly basic Fear Factory song. I tend to pass over this one a bit because it is too predictable
Resurrection is the bands attempt at a progressive ballad. The band sounds at home on this one after doing A Therpay for Pain on their last album. The song is strong and features absolutely no death-metal vocals. There are also some orchestrated music going on which adds to the song's qualitiy. More progressive than any other of Fear Factory's work
Timelessness is the closes balled. It resembles Front Line Assembly more than anything else(figures since Rhys Fulber is doing the keyboards). The song has no drums, almost no guitars, and no bass. A song based on keys and just keys. A fitting closer but were two closing ballads needed for a 10track album? Still it sounds fine
While the album is a good one it lacks diversity. Sure thing band used a DJ and an orchestra but thats not going to cut it. Some of thr songs get very predictable and Dino needs to play some moer riffs. Overall I like this cd a little more than I should. Maybe its because of the weakness of Digimortal. Not the bands strongest release, but far better than all those mallcore junk.