Review Summary: A surprising comeback from a band that many thought were dead and gone, "Mechanize" stands as one of Fear Factory's most impressive releases since "Demanufacture."
For the longest I have heard many great things about Fear Factory. At first, I never really understood the draw or, better yet, why the band was such a highly regarded Metal act. After several listens, mostly from the years of the band being without lead songwriter and riffmaster, Dino Cazares, I really wasn’t too impressed by the bands catalogue of music. For some reason, after that, I just decided to disregard Fear Factory’s music all together. It wasn’t until recently that I actually gave Fear Factory a chance, and I can honestly say that I’m extremely happy that I did. First off, I will go ahead and say that this is by far one of my favorite Metal albums of 2010 and quite the hell of a comeback for a band that had pretty much been forgotten about after their classic album “Demanufacture”
Fear Factory is a band that has, unfortunately, been through quite a bit. Like a lot of bands, they have changed members more than Justin Bieber fans have changed their panties. After taking a look at their history as a band, I came to realize that the true Fear Factory, the band featured on their highly regarded album, “Demanufacture,” has never truly been up to snuff like they were on “Demanufacture.” It’s pretty easy to see where the band got off course. With the departure of guitarist Dino Cazares in 2002, the mastermind behind Fear Factory’s crushing riffs and the band in general, Fear Factory seemed to truly loose their way. Their discography after “Demanufacture” can be seen as nothing more than a nosedive to the bottomless pit of mediocrity. However, with the introduction of “Mechanize,” Fear Factory seem to have found their way once again. By bringing back the long missed Dino Cazares, adding the amazing drumming of Gene Hoglan (of Death and Strapping Young Lad fame), and deciding to write an actual true successor to the highly regarded “Demanufacture,” it is clear that Fear Factory is here to stay and embarking on a journey to become the Metal monster that they never quite evolved into.
As the album starts off, it is clear that this band is truly a new kind of monster, but, at the same time, the same band that they have always been. One thing I noticed about “Mechanize” is the ability it has to sound so modern, yet, stay so true to Fear Factory’s Industrial Metal roots. The opening song “Mechanize” is a crushing tune that never relents. Many will be extremely pleased to hear Dino pounding out his ridiculous 7 and 8-string guitar riffs as Gene Hoglan absolutely bombards the listener with an amazing array of blast beats and blazing fast double bass drumming. It is certainly easy to see that this is not only the most technical form of Fear Factory, but, by far, the damn near heaviest form of Fear Factory. Some of the stuff I heard on this album just outright made me want to beat the hell out of someone; that is, of course, in a good way! Everyone on this album works together to truly make the band stand out, and, I can honestly say, that Gene Hoglan is probably the best thing that has happened to this band in a long, LONG while. His drumming is so crushing and technical and, mixed with Dino’s extremely low tuned riffs and licks, he really makes Fear Factory a much heavier band then they have ever been.
Now, while the instruments on this album are certainly fantastic, I will not give them all the credit for making this album one of this years’ must have Metal albums. Vocalist Burton C. Bell’s performance on “Mechanize” is, by far, probably the best of his career. He doesn’t use a Death Metal growl or anything extreme; however, he uses his natural scream to add to the ferocious nature of Fear Factory’s music. In every single song, Bell sounds like he just got back from his kids funeral. He sounds so pissed, yet everything is precise and clear. Most amazingly, though, is Bell’s singing. I really wasn’t expecting much at all, but Bell has a great voice and many of his vocal melody’s on this album are extremely catchy and really add to the album in many ways.
I was certainly pleased when I listened to “Mechanize” for the first time. It starts off amazingly with the crushing opener “Mechanize,” which leads into other killer songs like “Fear Campaign” and “Powershifter” and ends with, in my opinion, the two best songs on the album: “Designing The Enemy” and “Final Exit.” “Final Exit” happens to be one of the most creative songs on the album; mixing brutal riffs with the major scale, which is something rarely seen in the Metal scene these days. The song has a happy overtone to it because of the scales used, but, at the same time, it also comes across as dark and extremely heavy, something that I found to be pretty awesome. From beginning to end, this album just doesn’t relent and I can honestly say there is very little filler. I will say that some songs such as “Oxidizer” and “Christploitation” didn’t really add up to the other songs on this album, but they are still great songs in their own right.
As long as it took me to finally give Fear Factory a chance, I really am glad I waited to start listening to them with “Mechanize.” It’s by far one of their best albums and certainly paves the way for a promising future for Fear Factory. I hope that with their next release Fear Factory can capitalize on the success of this album and come up with something that will truly overshadow their whole discography.