Release Date: Feb 9, 2010
Record label: Candlelight
Genre(s): Rock, Metal
An intoxicating chemistry that’s going to leave jaws simply agape... To encapsulate the anticipation of Fear Factory’s welcome return is a tricky task. Having been starved for some seven years (kind of), fans will no doubt be tearing down walls to get a mere taste of what the new line-up has produced. Fortunately they can be safe in the knowledge that this new offering ain’t no quick fix fast food, instead it’s a gut-busting three courses with a doggy bag for later.
When Dino Cazares' band Divine Heresy was gaining more and more momentum in 2007 and 2008, it seemed doubtful that he would ever be a part of Fear Factory again. But in 2009, the guitarist surprised the metal world by reuniting with vocalist Burton C. Bell in a new Fear Factory lineup that also included bassist Byron Stroud and drummer Gene Hoglan (known for his contributions to Strapping Young Lad, Dark Angel, and other bands).
Although they played a crucial role in broadening the sound of metal music in the 1990s and were able to hang around long enough to put together a respectable career, Fear Factory has never been able to top their two most important albums, 1992’s Soul of a new Machine and 1995’s landmark Demanufacture. Still, the Los Angeles band’s straightforward but very effective formula managed to retain a strong fan base with audiences still showing interest in Fear Factory’s classic “man-machine” sounds well into the 2000s. In the Fear Factory world, mechanical riffs are in perfect lockstep with double-kick drum beats, synthesizers providing some welcome ambient touches, and the lead vocals deftly shifting from powerful death metal growls to soaring melodic choruses.
It might sound dismissive to say that Fear Factory's discography consists of botched attempts at making an alt-metal version of OK Computer, since their formative albums actually predate Radiohead's opus, and its clear that the industrial rock vets are fellow travelers, not imitators. Like Radiohead, Fear Factory embraces the digital age, sonically, complementing their riff-driven rock numbers with electronic sampling, while bemoaning said age lyrically, with alienation and dehumanization tropes frequently providing a thematic focus. And when singer Burton Bell stops shouting and starts singing, he reveals another similarity with Thom Yorke: a potent strain of Bono-worship, which he forthrightly acknowledged by wrapping up 2005's Transgression with a hard-knuckled rendition of U2's “I Will Follow.
A powerful statement from a revitalized and still-relevant band. Greg Moffitt 2010 Although Mechanize is Fear Factory’s third studio album since they officially disbanded in 2002, it’s crucially different from its immediate predecessors. Both Archetype (2004) and Transgression (2005) were controversially written and recorded without founding guitarist Dino Cazares, the main victim of 2002’s acrimonious split.