Review Summary: The gears of the machine turning once again.
"What will become?
What will we be?
When we can see our own eternity."
These lyrics from Fear Factory's "What Will Become?" very well define the band from their 2001 album, 'Digimortal' and onward.
The question remained evident through the off-sounding, Nu-Metal influenced 'Digimortal,' the departure of guitarist Dino Cazares, the breakup and rejoining of the band, the uninspired attempt of a return in 'Archetype,' and what seemed like the final nail in the coffin with 'Transgression.' No one knew exactly what to expect from Fear Factory.
They flew well under the radar until 2009, when vocalist Burton C. Bell announced the reconciliation of his and Dino's friendship. Upon this, they also announced a new Fear Factory album, though drummer Raymond Herrera and bassist/guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers out of the fold. Instead, Strapping Young Lad's Gene Hoglan (drums) and Byron Stroud (bass) entered the mix. Many eyebrows were (and still are) raised at the classic lineup not being on the album.
The final product proved any of those thoughts illusory. From the opening track to the "Final Exit," 'Mechanize' proves that Fear Factory is just that; Mechanized. The entire album plays as an endless onslaught throughout, not letting up until the last few minutes of distorted noise.
The opening track, "Mechanize" packs the intensity of previous album openers, such as "Shock," "Demanufacture," and "Martyr" (which on a side note, was re-recorded for the Japanese Edition of the album along with "Crash Test").
With the ominous mechanical noises building up, to the shouted/screamed chorus, the song immediately makes one forget of the last ten rocky years Fear Factory has endured.
The industrial sound Fear Factory once held has almost been abandoned entirely on this album. Instead, songs sound from sinister ("Fear Campaign," "Christploitation," and Oxidizer"), to almost thrash-like ("Powershifter," and "Controlled Demolition"). The lack of the industrial sound doesn't really take away from the album, though a long-time fan might be longing for it.
Instead, the true flaw is the lack of variety on the album. It isn't as much harkening to previous albums (the opening track, the epic closing the record, etc.) as it is the instruments. Throughout the entire album is machine gun riffing over fast double bass kick patterns coinciding with each other, with little reprieve. It begins to grow tiresome, though it doesn't make anything terrible.
After bordering a decade on mediocre albums, detrimental lineup changes and even breaking up through frustration, it seems Fear Factory have finally returned to the greatness they once achieved.
"Designing the Enemy"