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What compelled me to write this review? Well, fanboys did. Fear Factory’s The Industrialist finally saw the light of the day and opinions were mixed all around the globe, yet I failed to see a really honest review on the internet. Here I’ll try to be objective and neutral in my judgment, so you can get a proper opinion about the record. Yes, yes… fanboys made me do it.
Many things were done right with this album, and many were done wrong also. The more obvious one, and subject of many arguments concerning the record, were the programmed drums. John Sankey helped Dino write the drum tracks and damn he did an impressive job, no doubt about it, yet still after a couple of listens one can’t deny the fact that it makes the album sound a bit fake and plastic. That plus the eight string guitar tone of Dino’s guitar, getting more and more soulless as time passes by. Not that he’s loosing the mojo, not at all, his right hand is in perfect shape and the riff department delivers, as usual. But still, the tone you get out of an eight strings guitar just isn’t the same as a normal one.
Another gripe I have with the album is Burt’s voice. In Mechanize he kept his voice in a low range, avoiding to abuse the high notes, thing that proved to be a good move since he didn’t get to sound annoying throughout the album and something that also helped him on stage, cause let’s be honest, he can barely hold high tones live nowadays. Yet in this album he is all over the place with those vocals and the situation ends up in a mixed bag, sometimes it works, others doesn’t. For example, New Messiah and Depraved Mind Murder were achievements, the contrast between screams and clean vocals works beautifully, plus Burt’s “growls” sound ferocious when he just goes for it. But in songs like Virus of Faith or Difference Engine it didn’t work so well and I feel it ruined a bit the songs.
Letting Rhys to do the samplers on this album proved the band right once again and is one of the stronger points The Industrialist has. The talent of this guy nailing the most metallic parts of the record as well as the atmospheric ones is undeniable and, at this point, he should be considered a part of the band already. Listen to the transition between Disassemble and Religion is Flawed… and see what I mean.
Finishing the album whit a track like Human Augmentation having already Religion is Flawed… wasn’t really what I was expecting for and the remix of Difference Engine reminds me of New Breed (Spoetnik Mix), which isn’t a good thing at all. Pitchshifter’s cover was a good idea tho, here we can see the band sounding almost like how they used to sound in early demos and the album closes on a high note again.
After all, you might think this isn’t a good album since half of this review is criticism, but no, songs like The Industrialist, New Messiah and Depraved Mind Murder shows a solid Fear Factory, yes, I missed Gene or Ray behind the drums but even then what John Sankey did has its charm and is certainly impressive. People tend to compare everything the band does with Demanufacture, Obsolete or Mechanize, yet I think this record lands closer to Digimortal.
I gave Mechanize 90/100 back in the day, The Industrialist doesn’t gets closer to that, neither closer to the score Demanufacture or Obsolete have in my book, but it still stands proudly as a good FF album, a 70/100 would be the right score methinks. No fanboy bullshit, even when I admit it’s my favourite band, just a honest opinion.