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Fear Factory
April 2004
Released: 2004, Liquid 8
Rating: 4.8/5
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland

A lot has happened in the Fear Factory camp since the release of the much-maligned DIGIMORTAL in 2001. There have been two compilation releases (2002’s CONCRETE, which was the first “real” Fear Factory record and 2003’s rarities/remix release, HATEFILES) and the band temporarily dissolved. Guitarist Dino Cazares and vocalist Burton C. Bell had been butting heads over the direction of the band and things finally came to a head as the two members went their separate ways and drummer Raymond Herrera and bassist Christian Olde Wolbers were left to pick up the pieces. Once the dust settled, Bell was welcomed back and the band began recording again. Strapping Young Lad bassist, Byron Stroud, was enlisted with Wolbers now filling Cazares’ void on seven-string. ARCHETYPE, the fruit of their efforts, is about to be unleashed on the metal world and this is, without a doubt, Fear Factory’s strongest release since 1995’s DEMANUFACTURE. The mid-tempo numbers that saddled the last two releases have taken a back seat to the triggered rhythms and aggressive, dirty vocals that made Bell one of the best extreme metal vocalists of the 90s. Herrera is a double bass maniac with his machine gun beats pulverizing your ears. Stroud’s bass is in perfect synch with Herrera, too, as if he was born to be in this band and Wolbers has officially closed the door on those who doubted his ability to fill Cazares’ shoes. The guitars are not as polished as they have been and the music benefits greatly from it. The ever-present lyrical theme of man vs. machine is still intact, but the band’s song structures have taken on a less formulaic feel. Fear Factory has always incorporated that cold, industrial element with their music, but 1998’s OBSOLETE and, to a greater extent, DIGIMORTAL were becoming too slick and polished under the production duties of Front Line Assembly/Skinny Puppy mastermind Rhys Fulber. ARCHETYPE is the return of Fear Factory to past glories but without seeming forced or desperate.

“Slave Labor” and “Cyberwaste” are two of the heaviest tracks Fear Factory has done since their 1992 debut, SOUL OF A NEW MACHINE. “Slave Labor” features a meaty bassline and Bell’s vocals alternate between a soaring clean vocal and gruff death rasp. “Cyberwaste” incorporates a thrash break over Herrera’s punishing drums. There are no clean vocals to be found here, either, as Bell roars through the track “nothing…you say…matters…to us!” “Act of God” features an interesting vocal performance from Bell as he drones on at one point imitating the Gregorian monks who chant in that deep glottal tone. Along with “Corporate Cloning,” this track sounds most like a DEMANUFACTURE-era song, with its subtle keyboard line and clean vocal chorus. “Archetype” is catchy as hell with Bell’s impressive vocal range in the spotlight. The song also features a scathing line directed at Cazares, “the infection has been removed, the soul of this machine has improved.” “Bit e The Hand That Bleeds You” is a slower number with Bell’s soaring vocals at the forefront. “Default Judgement” is another of the heavier tracks found here and Stroud’s bass echoes through the track. Bell’s roar is counteracted with a clean chorus and Herrera’s drumming wavers between technical prowess and speedy blastbeats. “Human Shield” slows things WAAAAAY down and segues into the seven-minute instrumental, “Ascension.” This track is like the intro to “Resurrection” from OBSOLETE with its faint robotic voice and soothing new age-y keyboards. The final track, a cover of Nirvana’s “School,” is an excellent reworking of the original, although Bell is never able to nail down Kurt Cobain’s whiny screech.

ARCHETYPE is one of the most anticipated releases of 2004 and the band has delivered an amazing piece of music here. Despite the fact that Fear Factory was dead and buried less than 2 years ago, they are back with one of the strongest releases of their 14-year career. DIGIMORTAL was a great CD and I remained a fan of the band, but Fear Factory had softened from their trademark aggression and were almost a completely different band (see the rapping on “Back The Fuck Up”). Rest assured that ARCHETYPE leaves all that behind as Fear Factory is back, baby!

KILLER KUTS: “Slave Labor,” “Cyberwaste,” “Archetype,” “Default Judgement”
Track Listing

1. Slave Labor
2. Cyberwaste
3. Act of God
4. Drones
5. Archetype
6. Corporate Cloning
7. Bite The Hand That Bleeds You
8. Undercurrent
9. Default Judgement
10. Bonescraper
11. Human Shields
12. Ascension (Instrumental)
13. School (Nirvana cover)


Burton C. Bell—Vocals
Christian Olde Wolbers—Guitar
Byron Stroud—Bass
Raymond Herrera—Drums

Next review: » Fear Factory - Archetype
Previous review: » Fear Absolute - The Truth

Fear Factory
May 2004
Released: 2004, Roadrunner Records/Bonnier Amigo Music
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

Fear Factory started out back in 1990 and their debut SOUL OF A NEW MACHINE came in ‘92. They were one of the first bands who mixed metal with industrial metal and some hardcore. No further introduction is needed for this American band.

Fear Factory’s previous album (their fourth) DIGIMORTAL was released in 2001. Long time guitarist Dino Cazares left the band sometime after that album and for a time the band fell apart. Luckily they solved the problem within the band and recruited their bass player (Christian) to play guitar and took in a fill-in bassist (Byron from Strapping Young Lad). Both of the bands knew each other for years since they had toured together. Fear Factory took a break in the middle of 2002 and according to vocalist Burton Bell it was because of some well-needed rest and repair. The guys have produced the album and they have done a great job with it. It has a brilliant, aggressive, and brutal sound and is one of the rawest things I’ve heard from them since the begiing of the band. Greg Reely mixed the album. Drummer Herrera and guitarist Wolbers have written all the music while Burton Bell penned almost all the lyrics (11 of the 13 songs). The other two songs “ASCENSION” were co-written with Rhys Fulber and the other one is a cover of Nirvanas “SCHOOL”.

Fear Factory plays a mix of aggressive/brutal metal that sometimes borders into thrash and I also think that some influences of hardcore and industrial metal. Mr. Bell has still an impressive voice and he alters between his very angry/aggressive sound and ordinary lead vocals. He has many different nuances in his voice. Mr. Wolbers has a very razor-sharp guitar style. Mr. Herrera has a very dynamic drum playing with incredible speed, especially with his extensive use of double bass pedals. The album is filled with frequent tempo changes and different speeds the whole way through. Sometimes the speed can vary between a thrash-like moment into some ballad-like parts. It’s hard to describe exactly what their music sounds like but I’ll do my best.

The album opens brutally and with the determined with “SLAVE LABOR”. The intro is calm and grinding before the tempo rises enormously with double bass pedals and heavy metal that partly borders to thrash/hardcore. Mr. Bell shifts between his aggressive and ordinary vocals. Song number one goes straight into the second one called “CYBERWASTE”. Now the band takes the music a step further. This song is even more aggressive and brutal. It is thrash/hardcore almost straight through the song. “ACT OF GOD” sounds more like the opening song with heavy grinding for the intro before Mr. Bell comes in. This song also borders to thrash/hardcore but with some calmer passages to where Mr. Bell uses his ordinary lead vocals. In “DRONES” the speed drops into some more grinding metal with an angry Mr. Bell. In “ARCHETYPE” they have used some keyboard in the intro before the vocals comes in. The tempo is not extremely fast but still very heavy. This song is a well-needed break from the rest of the album with its extremely hard music. “CORPORATE CLONING” is also a bit of a slower song most of the way through but there is some passages with double bass pedals and riffing guitars. “BITE THE HAND THAT BLEEDS” has guitar and whispering vocals in the intro before the rest of the band kicks in. This could be taken for a ballad because the tempo slows down and for the whispering. With “UNDERCURRENT” the break is over and the tempo rises in this hard metal song. In “DEFAULT JUDGEMENT” and “BONESCRAPER” the tempo and speed rises and once again they have used keyboard. Mr. Stroud takes a big part of the sound picture with his bass playing here. “HUMAN SHIELDS” is a slow ballad that in the middle turns into an up-tempo song. With “ASCENSION” it is time for the instrumental song where the main instrument is keyboard and nothing more. It’s quite a long song at 7 minutes. The only vocals here are whispering vocals where you can sense some words from the previous song. The last song is the Nirvana cover “SCHOOL”. Fear Factory has done a pretty good cover of it. It’s grunge/metal with influences of punk on this 2-minute short song.

Fear Factory delivers a strong injection for those who thought they almost became history just 2 years ago. This is brutal and aggressive and it feels like they have found a new spark in their music. The minor thing is some songs feels weaker and they could have skipped the cover song. They could also have put a little more time into the cover art.

My favorite tracks are “SLAVE LABOR”; “CYBERWASTE”; “ACT OF GOD”; “DRONES” and “ARCHETYPE”. A worldwide tour for Fear Factory is next and with this album they have showed that they are not to be counted out yet.

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Track Listing

Slave Labor
Act Of God
Corporate Cloning
Bite The Hand That Bleeds
Default Judgement
Human Shields


Burton C. Bell – lead vocals
Raymond Herrera – drums
Christian Olde Wolbers – lead guitar
Byron Stroud – bass

Next review: » Fear Factory - Demanufacture
Previous review: » Fear Absolute - The Truth

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