An unexpected triumph for the band’s (obviously) more important half
“Yeah, of course you’ll say it will be something like two of your best albums”, all of us thought when Burton C. Bell was telling the press how the new Fear Factory will mix the heaviness of “Soul for a New Machine” with the more mature songwriting of “Obsolete”. Turns out, to our complete amazement, that the bastard wasn’t lying at all!
“Mechanize” came along with the big discussion if this is Fear Factory at all or not, as only half of the band’s original lineup is involved with the album, while the other half angrily is looking from the sidelines, waiting to sue… Here we have Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares along with bassist Byron Stroud and drummer Gene Hoglan.
Yet it is from the very first, and title track that it becomes clear that this is exactly Fear Factory. Not the bad copy heard in “Transgression”, but the band the way it sounded at its zenith. “Powershifter” then brings in the catchiness of Burton’s trademark melodic chorus and the picture is complete. The songs somewhat surprise us with a little bit more thrash metal sounding riffs and more death metal sounding drums. Turns out this works out just fine with the band’s concept. And if anyone doubted if Death and Strapping Young Lad’s Holgan will cope with Harrera’s machine gun style of drumming… My God! He totally wipes the floor with him!
“Christploitation” is something I always expected to hear from Fear Factory - creepy keyboards over fading guitar riffs that lead us into an industrial metal massacre. The dark symbiosis between man and machine that is the band’s essence is supposed to sound exactly like that! The last song “Final Exit”, as it turns out quite often, is probably the biggest gem here. A TV documentary type voice explaining to us what a funny experience it is to hold someone’s hand as they die is rudely interrupted by machinegun drums before the song shifts back into the typical Fear Factory style ballad mode - awesome vocals by Burton, catchy melodies, 8 minutes of shifting between darkness and crushing riffs…
The perfect culmination of a surprisingly cool album! And the fact that we honestly didn’t expect anything worth listening from Fear Factory just makes this triumph bigger!
(Candlelight Records/Stomp Distribution)