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And so arrives the long-awaited, eagerly anticipated new album from rejuvenated Los Angeles industrial metallers Fear Factory. Well, that is to say rejuvenated in that only two original members are present, frontman Burton C Bell and guitarist Dino Cazares. Absent, of course, are drummer Raymond Herrera and bassist Christian Wolbers (also guitarist from 2002), two men who claimed they never actually 'left' Fear Factory despite the band's indefinite hiatus, and began legal proceedings last year against Bell and Cazares for using the FF name when it was announced the singer and guitarist had patched up their differences and intended to record new material. Completing the lineup then are effectively half of Strapping Young Lad - Byron Stroud on bass (with FF since 2003) and legendary drummer Gene Hoglan. Disputes and lineups aside, does the new music live up to the hype? In short, yes. Classic Fear Factory musical idioms are audible in abundance - incisively heavy palm-muted guitar riffs; crisp-clear blast beats; industrial overtones; and the duality of Bell's clean/aggressive vocals. And all this wrapped up in an astonishingly brilliant production by Rhys Fulber. 'Mechanize' is flawlessly produced, in fact. Dare I say, and I know Fear Factory purists will perhaps disagree to some extent, that with 'Mechanize' the band have actually topped what is widely regarded as their seminal work, 'Demanufacture'. Go listen for yourselves and make up you own minds, but I certainly don't remember being as blown away by 'Demanufacture' this much upon first hearing the album in 1995 (albeit a very enjoyable first listening experience that was too). A well balanced album in terms of dynamics, the blast-beat led, riff-heavy intensity is sporadically interposed by moments of melodic relief such as on forth track 'Powershifter', and occasional hauntingly ambient passages like the intro to 'Christploitation' and second half of album closer 'Final Exit'. 'Mechanize' is a devastatingly good slab of aggressive industrial metal from the band that popularised said genre during the mid-90s. It's good to have 'em back on form. Brilliant.
AFM Records
Review by Mark Holmes
8th Feb 2010
1) Mechanize
2) Industrial Discipline
3) Fear Campaign
4) Powershifter
5) Christploitation
6) Oxidizer
7) Controlled Demolition
8) Designing the Enemy
9) Metallic Division
10) Final Exit
"...with 'Mechanize' the band have actually topped what is widely regarded as their seminal work, 'Demanufacture'."