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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.