Monday, November 9, 2009

New Fear Factory Sounds Like Old Fear Factory, But...

not quite as awesome. The first three Fear Factory albums, Soul Of A New Machine, Demanufacture and Obsolete, are personal favorites of mine, but on their fourth release, Digimortal, they lost me. To be fair, I haven't revisited that album since it came out in 2001 and there is a possibility that I might like it now, but at the time it came out, I thought it sounded like a failed attempt by Fear Factory to catch up with the nu-metal bands that were currently enjoying radio airplay and favorable record sales at the time. There was also well documented rumors of internal strife in the band between guitarist Dino Cazares and singer Burton C. Bell at the time that may (or may not) have contributed to the album not fulfilling the promise that was shown on earlier material. The band "broke up" after Digimortal and then got back together sans Dino and recorded two more albums. I did like the title track off of the first of those two albums, Archetype, but never felt the urge to check out the entire album or even bother with the second one.

Recently, Dino and Burton apparently made amends and decided to reform Fear Factory. The catch is that original drummer Raymond Herrera and long time bassist/guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers (he played guitar on the two releases Dino wasn't on) weren't invited to the party. I believe there were/are some legal disputes happening over the name between the two parties, but ultimately, for the fans, Fear Factory isn't Fear Factory without Burton's vocals and Dino's guitar playing. Byron Stroud and Gene Hoglan of Strapping Young Lad fame have been added on bass and drums respectively to make what sounds like, on paper at least, a pretty damn fine line-up. I don't know much about Stroud besides his work in SYL, but Hoglan is a monster of a metal drummer with a great resume including the aforementioned SYL as well as Dark Angel, Testament and Death among others.

A new track from this latest incarnation of Fear Factory has been "leaked". It sounds good and definitely has my curiosity piqued as to what the rest of the album will sound like. I don't expect to be floored like I was by their earlier material, but if they at least come close, then I'll be happy.

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