Fear Factory
The Industrialist


3.5
great

Review

by Deviant STAFF
June 2nd, 2012 | 211 replies | 31,758 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Against all odds, and despite a few setbacks, The Industrialist is something of a minor triumph for a group that has spent nearly a decade attempting to redefine itself

With Digimortal serving as the only stain against the enduring legacy of Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares, it’s a pretty fair notion to posit that Fear Factory as a sound and an idea belong chiefly to both singer and guitarist. Amidst the ever-changing lineups, the behind closed doors reformations and the side projects (Divine Heresy and Arkaea respectively), the band have never sounded quite as potent and relentless when they weren’t being driven by this particular duo. Dino attempted to replicate the group’s success on his own terms with mixed results, and Burton, now relying on his former bass player for inspiration gave us the so-so Archetype and the turgid Transgression. If Mechanize proved anything (and lets be honest, it had a lot to prove), it was that through difference was inspiration born. If the arguments and conflict that led to the group’s first big disbandment were to be believed, it showed a group of individuals willing to fight it out for the chance to be heard; conflict might be bad press but at the very least it shows a band still caring about what they’re doing.

While perseverance might be appreciated in the same way that we champion the underdog and praise the individuals who can overcome adversity, there’s a certain comfort to be had when going into The Industrialist that comes from the knowledge that Burton and Dino are still in it to win it. That Mechanize wasn’t just a one time only rehash and attempt to cash in on the band’s influence and legacy. And The Industrialist is essentially the Dino and Burton show: Rhys Fulber returns and his influence is felt in just about every track, but it’s Dino who handles not just the bass guitar duties but the drums as well (programmed with the assistance of Devolved’s John Sankey). This limitation on outside presence gives the album something of a unified front, but it also shows the band (duo) stretching themselves to full capacity, and with Dino essentially pulling triple-duty the album suffers as a result. Now there are a few things to point out before we get into the meat and potatoes of the album: The Industrialist might very well be the most pissed-off that Fear Factory have sounded in a long, long time (and given that everything seems fine in paradise one can only assume that this aggression lies strictly in the band’s intentions to release top product), and for the majority of the album’s length there’s very little in the way of breathing room. Even Obsolete, (arguably the most spine crushing the band have ever been) relieved the pressure with ‘Descent’, perfectly placed at around the halfway point of the album.

The decision to place both ‘Religion Is Flawed Because Man Is Flawed’ and ‘Human Augmentation’ together, and at the end of the album no less, raises a few questions; granted it only escalates the intensity of the album, but it also cuts that temperament off far too abruptly, rendering the forward-thrust and momentum of the album strangely mute. It almost cuts the album off at the knees, and while adding a few more tracks to the runtime and spicing up the variety might have served to better strengthen the album’s later stages, the attempt to replicate the band’s previous successes with album closers just feels weak and tacked on. In some ways The Industrialist ends up feeling like half an album with an extended outro thrown in that does little more than extend the runtime. It could perhaps serve as some grand gesture or invocation of the album’s concept, but unlike Obsolete, here the “narrative” just feels like an excuse to give Burton something to write about – it certainly isn’t tantamount to the crux of the album’s mentality.

The other issue with the album lies within its production: granted that music technology has finally caught up with Fear factory’s ambitions, but the sheen with which this album has been polished to is simply far too glossy and ineffective. The bass is simply inaudible, both in string and percussion, and more times than not does the album feel as if it’s being presented in a vacuum. There’s a claustrophobic feel to everything here, not just in its approach and veracity, but there’s an oppressive force that seems to push against any kind of sound from being greatly illustrated; granted that this all ties into the aesthetic of the group, but truthfully it gives everything a sterilized kind of nature to it. The percussion needs to be addressed as well; while the band has always relied on its fair share of double-pedal action (Kerry King’s remarks against former drummer Raymond Herrera do hold some truth to them), but now without the need to rely on human endurance the group push the approach to an almost obscene amount. Which works when the patterns are accentuated by Dino’s machine-gun string work, but when left to fend on their own (the opening salvos of the title track for instance) it all sounds like little more than accentuated clicks and taps. There’s no emotion to be had with their performance, every snare hit rings out with the same level of ruthless authoritarianism and the cymbals just feel washed out and hollow.

These are all major faults to be addressing, and while they do certainly hold The industrialist back from being any kind of grand defining statement for the band, once every track begins to settle into its rhythmic groove you begin to simply accept the faults and actually enjoy the music. And there is a lot on here to be thankful for: the songwriting has greatly improved since Mechanize, and ample time is given to both brutality and melody, with Burton giving his best performance since the glory days of Demanufacture and Obsolete. Dino, while still cashing in on the same riffs he wrote two decades ago, has never sounded more vital than he does here. While he’ll never be a virtuoso he’s an artist who has recognized his strengths (in this case, his right hand), and in that respect he plays up to expectations admirably. As previously noted, The Industrialist marks another appearance for Rhys Fulber and his influence is felt everywhere, from his best John Carpenter impersonation on ‘God Eater’, the synthesizer overload of ‘Virus Of Faith’ to the little fills and pops that he employs at just about every moment of the album, that while accentuating the cognitive process of the album also help to assuage the emptiness of the album’s final mix.

What this all boils down to is another solid outing for the group, who in the light of a controversy that’s spanned almost a full decade have managed to hold onto the vitality and balls to the wall approach that was rediscovered with Mechanize. It’s not the grand return to form that we all might have hoped for, but barring the far too polished production and the abrupt finality of the album, The Industrialist is yet another fitting reminder that Fear Factory are still a driving force in the metal community and a band to be respected for still knowing how to throw it down some twenty years after the fact.



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Fear Factory showed they could still pull it off with Mechanize, but with this album they set out to...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2012



30316 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Mr Fisterbut

Today, my name, is Mr Fisterbut

Digging: L'Orange - The Orchid Days

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2012



5619 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Moment I saw this, thought it was a Trey Spencer review.




Dino Cazeras

Cazares


Other things of a similar nature

Excellent rec man, will check out for sure :-P


[The entire 4th paragraph]

This is what industrial and its metal branch are all about, for better and for worse.


Otherwise, an excellent review.

Digging: The 3rd and the Mortal - Painting On Glass

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2012



30316 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is what industrial and its metal branch are all about, for better and for worse.


Except for the fact that Demanufacture, Obsolete, and Archetype don't suffer from this

Thanks though man, and good catch on the bad spelling

Storm In A Teacup
June 2nd 2012



12688 Comments


I was into Fear Factory by the age of 12. I haven't really listened since junior high school though. Good review, I've probably missed the last two or three releases already so I'll have to see how this album sounds.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2012



5619 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Except for the fact that Demanufacture, Obsolete, and Archetype don't suffer from this

True, but that was because the metal factor was equally strong in those albums.

Plus, i don't think Obsolete was industrial metal, imo it feels more like groove metal.

If you listen to Streetcleaner from Godflesh, for example, you'll notice about the sound production what you noticed for the new FF record.


BarkHammer
June 2nd 2012



125 Comments


^Disagree. Pitchshifter's Industry had a similar gritty edge to it and that was far more industrial than metal. It's more down to
Rhys Fulber's production job.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2012



30316 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

True, but that was because the metal factor was equally strong in those albums.


Errr, and it isn't here?

Plus, i don't think Obsolete was industrial metal, imo it feels more like groove metal.


No it was still industrial metal

If you listen to Streetcleaner from Godflesh, for example, you'll notice about the sound production what you noticed for the new FF record.


Okay but I'm not talking about other band's or what are requirements or stereotypes of the genre, I'm just talking about this band and how it wasn't always like that


ZedO
June 2nd 2012



1096 Comments


Dev loves metal too, don't you know Base???

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2012



5619 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Errr, and it isn't here?

The metal factor is present in here too, but, as you say in your review, they chose to neglect it during sound production.

AlexLifeson
June 2nd 2012



213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i reckon this is their best since obsolete and fade suck my red wrinkled dick

Tyrael
June 2nd 2012



20441 Comments


Moment I saw this, thought it was a Trey Spencer review. [2]

good job dev

StayTrueSwagXXX
June 2nd 2012



112 Comments


dis band i now dem from like da really popular song on mtv2 yers ago yeah they got sum swag to 'em

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2012



30316 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5


The metal factor is present in here too, but, as you say in your review, they chose to neglect it during sound production.


Uh, no I didn't

ThroneOfAgony
June 2nd 2012



3485 Comments


Band has always been boring as shit, except for some of their catchy choruses on their previous albums

AlexLifeson
June 2nd 2012



213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

agreed self bias resistor so boring lmao

BassDemon333
June 2nd 2012



3291 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Liking this more than Mechanize now because its more diverse and every song sounds different. Great review Deviant.

Digging: Chevelle - La Gargola

AlexLifeson
June 2nd 2012



213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

mind blown

BassDemon333
June 2nd 2012



3291 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I mean different not the same haha. Even though the last two songs on here are a letdown when compared to songs like Final Exit, Timelessness, and A Therapy For Pain I like that they go with Burtons concept

Xenophanes
Emeritus
June 2nd 2012



10556 Comments


I honestly did expect this to be a willie review


Digging: Saintseneca - Dark Arc

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 2nd 2012



20830 Comments


Dev is metal!

Next thing we know, Trey will be reviewing dubstep.



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