Tracklist1. The Industrialist
3. New Messiah
4. God Eater
5. Depraved Mind Murder
6. Virus of Faith
7. Difference Engine
9. Religion is Flawed Because Man is Flawed
10. Human Augmentation
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I just want to get this out of the way: I love Fear Factory. There’s something about their futuristic industrial undertones and the consistently face-punching riffs cranked out by guitar-mutant Dino Cazares that never fails to get my blood boiling. It cannot be disputed that Fear Factory’s influence on modern-day metal has been tremendous, and current legendary metal masters such as Meshuggah, Strapping Young Lad, and Machine Head all owe a great debt to the groove-based alien metal that Fear Factory introduced with their arguable landmark album, Demanufacture. Furthermore, Burton C. Bell’s dual-personality contrast between harsh vocals in the verses and clean singing in the choruses of many of their songs has undoubtedly left a great impact on the lyrical approach for many metal vocalists today. With their 8th studio album, The Industrialist, Fear Factory certainly doesn’t try anything new or attempt to reinvent the wheel, but why would they need to? They already changed the game when they first burst onto the scene in 1989, and since then their mentality has always seemed to be, “Why fix something that isn’t broken?”
The Industrialist opens with its title track in typical Fear Factory fashion: electronic industrial samples overlaid with Burton C. Bell’s distorted voice reciting spoken-word lyrics pertaining to the world’s end, followed by a sudden full-throttle shift into a head-on aural assault, complete with rapid fire double-bass and a grinding riffs provided courtesy of founding member Dino Cazares, whose signature machine-gun groove has become a staple for the sound which Fear Factory is known for. “The Industrialist” is a fantastic opener which is bound to become yet another classic for Fear Factory, and it is indicative of what you’ll find for the remainder of the album: rib-splitting yet semi-melodic riffs, pounding drums (which are programmed, mind you!), and Burton C. Bell’s schizophrenic sci-fi lyrics. The next track, “Recharger,” keeps the trend alive with a catchy, swift punch in the gut, and it segues nicely into the first single of the album, “New Messiah,” which keeps the ruckus coming. If Fear Factory was intending to try anything out of the ordinary on this album, it would probably be most evident on track four, “God Eater,” which appears to have some dubstep-like experimentation going on during the pre-choruses and the outro. The addition of the *WOMP*, interesting as it is, seems rather unnecessary and doesn’t really add a lot to the song, but you have to give them kudos for trying to be hip with the industrial aspects of their music.
The songs found on The Industrialist could be best described as a sub-atomic fusion of the classic Demanufacture-era Fear Factory and the new breed of Fear Factory exemplified on their evolutionary last album, Mechanize. There were musical ideas introduced on Mechanize which carry over into the songs found on The Industrialist, but overall, the album has a much more classic Fear Factory feel than that of Mechanize. In keeping with traditional Fear Factory song structure, there are no jazz-fusion odysseys or extended guitar solos (let alone any guitar solos at all), to be found here; Fear Factory has always put more emphasis on straight-to-the-point throat-punches as opposed to extended musical passages, and on The Industrialist, it’s no different. As always, Dino Cazares appears to have an infinite amount of mutant riffs at his disposal, and he wields his guitar like a T-1000 bent on destroying the human race. Burton C. Bell’s concept-based lyrics and performance are as devastating as ever, and he proves once again he is a vocalist with a purpose. The Industrialist was recorded without the destructive-prowess of monster bassist Byron Stroud and drumming machine Gene Hoglan, both of which made-up the rhythmic duo featured on Mechanize, but thankfully, due to Dino Cazares’ mastery of the guitar and a superb drum programming job by John Sankey of Devolved, the musicianship on The Industrialist doesn’t even skip a beat.
Not all on The Industrialist is solid, however. The decision to close the album with two ambient tracks that go absolutely nowhere drops the actual song count down to only 8, and because of these two tracks, the album just doesn’t finish out as strongly as it could have. Additionally, if you have never liked Fear Factory before, this album is most likely not going to change your mind about them. The Industrialist is by no means a perfect record, nor is it the strongest album Fear Factory has ever written. However, whatever your opinion may be about Fear Factory, they are one of the most consistently crushing bands to emerge out of this generation of metal, and their influence can still be felt to this day. Even though they don’t stray too far from the formula they themselves concocted, Fear Factory once again prove they plan on sticking around well into the time when the machines take over, and on that day, you can be sure they’ll be there, providing the soundtrack to the apocalypse.