Fear Factory



by ExitWound USER (3 Reviews)
January 14th, 2005 | 72 replies

Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Fear Factory - Archetype

Prototype Fabricators
Burton C. Bell - Vocals
Byron Stroud - Bass
Christian Olde Wolbers - Lead Guitar
Raymond Herrera - Drums & Percussion

Evolvic Primer
Fear Factory's new release is on our doorsteps. They spent a while in disarray, and faded away from our ears. There were "internal disputes" among the bandmembers, ultimately leading to the release of Dino. The band's outlook was grim and it looked like it was over. But it all came back together and Archetype was created. The lineup didn't change their sound, but popularity has. Their nu-metal surge of Digimortal has been dampened, thank heavens, but it's still evident they have been influenced by either the glamour of the money or the fame.

Before we knew it, Fear Factory had set in motion the steps that would lead to an onslaught of mainstream clones. it's not until hindsight that we can see how bands like Slipknot came to be popular. Fear Factory had a big part in their design, whether they intended it or not. Archetype basically says "we are what you are destined to become". And it's up to us to accept that or not.

Slave Labor opens the disc. It's not as powerful as previous album openers, but really brings back the feel that Shock did upon loading Obsolete. I believe the tune hints at the music industry, perhaps their involvement with their previous contract, but it could relate to any entertainment industry, or any money-making industry for that matter. It's very 'typical' Fear Factory in structure and sound. But to me, the song fails to drive the meaning home, and starts to become redundant by minute 3.

Followed by Cyberwaste, it's a chest pounding venture into Fear Factory's second worst song to date. Perhaps if the vocals were removed, this song could actually work. The guitar lines are way too simple, too "nu". By that, I mean you could find this particular progression in about 100 songs on the market today. This song screams "Soul of a New Machine", but it's so blatantly defies everything which made that album unique. I can't help but think this was thrown together in 10 minutes. "Let's see how fast we can play, and how generic we can sound". Herrera doens't cease to amaze me though on the skins. The lyrics are so bad, it again could apply to any of a hundred bands.

Act of God is good up until 3.38. Burton opens his lungs here to the level he did on Obsolete. His voice is extremely solid when accompanied by the progression roots, something Fear Factory has always been known for. There's no magic, here, but that's why it works compared to the multitude of other acts. The melodies are so simple they stand out. and when Burton drops the growling, it can give off a refreshing vibe, a breather if you will. Act of God works until the breakdown where it screams "Nu-metal", something metalheads will notice immediately. It self-destructs as the entire feel of the song is disrupted by the lackluster progressions which follow until the chorus again. Blah. I just can't stand that sound.

Now, Drones brings back the days of Demanufacture, when Fear Factory had some truly remarkable song-writing talent. While the melody is absent outside the chorus, the atmosphere created by the keyboards and the pulsing drums and rhythm are enough to make this track stand out from the rest. There's an eerie feeling abound here. This track screams "release", but we shall see if that is true. Herrera has a chance to prove that he really is cybernetic. It's almost inhuman when you hear his kicks. Despite how heavy this track is, you'll be singing along in no time. Release-worthy or not, it's a well done track.

I can't decide if the title track, Archetype, is a misnomer or not. By definition, the Archetype is the prototype or the reference design for many to come. If this hints at what Fear Factory will become, then it might not be a bad thing. There's a lot going in this style. It's much more straight forward and easy to listen to than some of the other tracks on their discs (post Demanufacture). There's no disturbances between the chorus and vocals, and the guitar serves as primarily rhythm. My brain, at least, interprets the guitar in this song as pure noise, and filters it out, leaving room for nothing but the vocals and drums. I think that is why this track appeals to me. It's not forcing anything at me, obscuring what else is going on. It just feels pleasant and easy to listen to. It doesn't feel a chore to play along. If this archetype spawns a million clones, today's popular metal might benefit a little bit.

Corporate Cloning seems like more of an attack on everything. Who knows what spawned this mindset, but everyone of us can relate in some way. We hate Britney Spears. We hate the new VW Beetle. To me, it states that no matter what is given to us by the industries around us, the mindless populus will accept it and either adore it or despise it. There is no middle ground. The media will make or break the actor, singer, or latest gadget. The music is very sellable, a hypocritic design. It's cookie-cutter in just about every way. Nothing special makes it stand on its own, other than that it IS nothing special, another clone of what's become mainstream. Go figure.

Bite the Hand that Bleeds also screams "release me". I believe the use of something other than the bottom two guitar strings is used as well, but I can't be sure. The keyboards come back here and save this one from falling apart early. It's broken, though, and doesn't flow. Another five minute design. It's definitely a new sound though. It just doesn't scream Fear Factory at all, which you can decide is a good or bad thing.

Undercurrents is another Obsolete track. Changing between the melodic chorus and rough verses, it's the sound we love (or hate) from Fear Factory. This one isn't anything special though. The lyrics are at times lame. "Undercurrents, We cannot believe, Undercurrents, Slowly Drowning Me. Drown! Haha!" I feel like I'm drowning listening to this one. The typical nu-metal progressions stand out half way through. It's a design that I guess works to sell albums today. I personally despise how overused it is. It signifies "easy to implement" and "everyone's doing it". Blech.

Default Judgement is another run of the mill tune constructed of subpar Fear Factory guitarwork and drumming. This one will appeal to the masses, but not to the veteran fans of the band. Bell's vocals are extremely powerful, but that's about it. There's too much repetition and lack of a forward push. The track will probably be excruciatingly good live, though. But where it is in the playlist, it feels as a gap-filler. Never, Never, will this one be anything more than that.

Bonescraper. That's what it sounds like. It's out of place on this album. It just shoudln't be here. It's a completely different style, the same way Cars shouldn't be on Obsolete. It's not that it's bad, it just noise. There's no melody, and the guitars play no more than 4 notes. Today's youth might like it, but this fogie of 26 doesn't. If you like the death metal edge, then okay. I guess it fits there, but NOT on this disc.

Human Shields crosses a chasm that Fear Factory should have lept over years ago. They don't have to put out #1 hits, or be on the MTV rotation to be enjoyed. This one's soft and very harmonic, so it's not for everyone. In fact, I'm sure most would despise this one for that reason. There's not much lyrically to it, but every instrument perform in perfection to what the Fear Factory of past has stamped into our heads. The drums drive the tune, with the bass kicks and crashes leaping out immediately, even if they're not at 200 beats per minute. The guitars are rhythm only, and Burton's vocals are as powerful as ever. It doesn't sing mainstream, or release, and that's why it's good. Each element becomes a song within itself, showing us what Fear Factory is...something they having done since Demanufacture. Removing all outside influence can really bring out the band's talent. This is a prime example of that.

In typical Fear Factory style, the final track is the longest and uses the most keyboards of them all. Ascension is boring in comparison to the other discs' finales. Someone found the Windchime instrument on the Casio, so it seems. It's 7 minutes of air whooshes. While their final trakcs have always had a signal of closure, this one is far less dramatic than A Therapy for Pain or Timelessness. I was disappointed. Seven minutes of near silence. Seems like a cheap way to say "we have enough length for the album". There are far better instrumentals out there. This one's a flop, since the disc isn't conceptual in design.

Throwing in a cover of Nirvana's School is just another tactic to increase sales, or downloads. It's not a clone like Gary Numan's Cars. It's written from the ground up, but it's nothing special. Get Nirvana's original. It's much more satisfying and less irritating. What was written for one genre often doesn't translate into another, and this is a fine example of that. It's like transforming NIN's Closer into a country song. It just....doesn't.....work.

Fear Factory has changed. And in my opinion, in the wrong direction. While this disc turns a corner, it's definitely not the same corner Digimortal took them around. That was a flurry of semi-concrete tunes, released to satisfy the mainstream, in the hopes of reviving their name after the long downtime. They lost a lot of fans' trust with that release, cruising from being a uniquely sounding and loved group to just one of the many looking to make a buck. They should have realized that they have talent, and didn't have to appeal to anyone but themselves. There's so much mainstream wound into Digimortal that it's strangling them, suffocating their progress.

Archetype is a mix of what made them famous to begin with, with what is keeping them afloat now. There's hints of every prior album. The edgy, death metal sounds of Soul of a New Machine occur more than I expected, to be honest. Demanufacture's melodies are present. Obsolete's fast and furious drumworks, and Digimortal's mainstream sound are also obvious. And that's what bugs me the most. The days of Demanufacture and Obsolete are over. They had a sound that was defined, concrete in structure and glory. Now we have a mishmosh of indecision, with mainstream playlists getting in the way of their growth. They had a chance to push the envelope of their sounds and define a new genre of metal, but they stumbled and hesitated, and now it's too late. The 16-20 year old target audience doens't want that and wouldn't accept it. It's a simplistic cookie-cut sound that sells, and Fear Factory bought into it.

Half of the tracks on this disc are worthy of my attention, and the other half could be dismissed and I'd never look back. The release is coming up, and there are so many Digimortal fans that are anxiously preordering. There are also the Obsolete fans. I use that word literally, not in reference to the album of the same name. I fear that it's over. Unless they can conjure up the original aura that their band produced once again, I will cease to be a follower. That's tough to hear myself say when I look back at how many times I've popped prior albums into the player.


user ratings (646)
other reviews of this album
HSThomas (3.5)
Though he may never admit it, Dino owes a debt to this album....

therealkerryking (1)
Hell Awaits...

Comments:Add a Comment 
April 16th 2004


I knew someone would rag on the genre choice. It's not important.

April 21st 2004


Hindsight Reinvention
Now that the album has been released, I'm sure many more of you have heard it. And it's actually growing on me much more than I thought it would. But I can't quite put my finger on what makes it do that.

BestBuy premiered the disc, as well as Circuit City, for $7.99. The "limited edition" digipak included the 3-flap paper case, lyric insert, Archetype, a Golden Ticket (a la Willy Wonka) for a chance to win a trip to see the band perform, online bonus footage when released, and a DVD. The DVD was one of two being produced. One featured the making of the album constructed purely of interviews of the bandmembers, the other of studio footage. Marketing ploy or not, it's fun to be able to get that much data (read: hours of enjoyment), for $7.99. Many people online have stated that they've bought multiple copies because of the price. I am happy with the packaging, and pricing, of the release.

The disc, after more and more listening hours, has really started to grab my attention. It's not so much the drumming from Herrara in this release, though, that I'm detailing, but it's more the lyrics and overall texture of the band. The drumming is phenomenal, but it's not the focal point of the disc. Certainly, it drives the music as typical Fear Factory albums have shown. But what's vastly different from the prior discs is lack of a concept.

The typical FF theme, that is. The concept of "here's what it is, plain as daylight" shines brightly on Archetype. No matter the song, the lyrics don't hide any meanings, or elude to events or history or a future to come. It is what it is. And topped off with melodies that aren't as easy as previous works, the tracks really start to separate from former releases. They're much more brutal and true to themselves than I thought possible.

The band has opened up in terms of feeling safe, and not confined. Without a horrible record contract looming over them, they are free to express what needs to be expressed, and nature will...naturally bring that forth. The melodies are prominent, the drum beats are exquisitely fine tuned, and the guitars and keyboards are an entity of their own as well. They all come together to form an atypical Fear Factory sound, one that we've never really experienced, most likely due to suffocation by what Roadrunner wanted and expected. Now, the band can be true to itself and write an incomparable record.

I think I need to rethink many of the lines I published in the review above. In hindsight, the disc is far more enlightening and expressive than I originally thought. Here are the revisions:

Slave Labor
The redundancy I mentioned has faded, and I have come to really enjoy this disc-opener. It's one of the more brutal tracks, with Burton's growling top notch. I never noticed the keyboard atmosphere stuck behind the chorus. There's more than just the "howl" instrument. it really works to maintain that eerie, cybernetic sound we've come to enjoy from Fear Factory.

This song sticks in my head only second to Undercurrent. I am still not very fond of the track. The lyrics are still straight forward, just as the entire disc is meant to be. However, they're still infantile and cliche. Everyone has seen and had the reaction the lyrics describe. "Just shut up because you know nothing". We've all wanted to stand up and scream that to someone. But applying it to the internet forums in the way the band did was a little corny. Musically, it's vastly different from the other tracks on this disc. It still doesn't touch me in any way I'd like to be touched, and I feel that this track could have been replaced with something with a little more calibre and really pushed the limits of the disc further.

Corporate Cloning
I have really come to enjoy the partially sung verse and the chorus. It's nothing like anything Fear Factory has done before. Burton's voice is exceptionally clear, and the song is very simple in nature. But I think its placement after Archetype in the tracklist is perfect. Those who want Fear Factory to be nothing but intense and brutal won't enjoy this one. But those who can see Fear Factory's lighter side and potential will certainly be singing this one. It it typical of what's mainstream nowadays, which bothers me still. But I have fallen in love with it.

Bite the Hand that Bleeds
I've come to see that this one is another very simple track, but shows that Fear Factory aren't afraid to experiment. It's still very 'friendly' to the masses. My statement regarding its fluidity needs to be revised slightly. I feel that the breakdowns have helped to keep the song under control and give it a more sorrowful sound. It's one of their few ballad-style pieces and I continually hear something new each time I listen to it, or can relate in a new way to the lyrics.

Another "soft" track. As mentioned above, it's the song that sticks in my head the most, even on days that I haven't put in the CD. I absolutely love the emphasis Burton gives to certain syllables, and his layered vocals. I still haven't accepted the change that occurs around two minutes into the song. I feel something else could have been done to keep the track just as lively, but not sound so commonplace. I might be so bold as to say this is my favorite song on the album, despite the criticism it's getting in most reviews.

Default Judgement
The chorus has become one of my favorite the band has ever constructed. The "day in which God judged humankind" breakdown doesn't follow typical Fear Factory arrangements. They've sidestepped my expectations and it worked really well.

Indeed, this one sounds like it came from the chiseling of bones. It's dissonent and hard to listen to. It's very different from the rest of the album. Again, I believe this is a step in defining the Archetype, Fear Factory's core design. They are by nature a metal band. Remove the fluff, and Bonescraper can be enjoyed on many different levels. I have an attraction to the lighter edge of Burton's vocals and Fear Factory's sound so I don't find myself skipping ahead to hear this one. I can accept and respect the qualities that make it unique though.

I am not a fan of this track. It's an odde mix, grunge and Fear Factory. I don't believe that it's a well-done track. It certainly depicts Fear Factory's design and attitude, but nonetheless, I can tolerate it. Covers are something Fear Factory will always do, as stated by Burton on the DVD. But packaging them along with a 7+minute instrumental just doesn't cut it for me.

Self Bias Resistor
I was very skeptical of this release, as were many Fear Factory fans around the globe. What had happened to the band was unmistakable. The band exploded from within, its core ripped apart and torn. Bonds were broken, and ties were severed. And after three horribly masqued releases (Digimortal, Hatefiles, and Concrete), the fans were upset, and rightfully so.

I believed they had taken their final trip down the red carpet, that the magic which made them so memorable had been dissolved. And it wasn't Dino singly which would cause that. The entire fabric which held the band together had disintegrated. Even if a comeback was possible, would they feel as together as they once did? Was it possible to overcome the prejudice that many of us had and release a record that would destroy the naysayers and their beliefs?

In my case, yes. I am thrilled that Fear Factory walked through their differences. They are on a new plane of emotion and thought, and being able to craft in their own true image on Liquid8 gives them the freedom to be who they were destined to be. It's a new beginning for Fear Factory. But to remove the band's past would remove the entire essence of Archetype. They know who they are, and what their sound is. Having a record label distort their soul not only hurt record sales, but their fans and friendships as well.

I am going to bump the review score up to 4 thumbs out of 5 and state that all fans of metal, and the Demanufacture era Fear Factory should purchase and enjoy this disc. It's heavy, powerful, and straight to the point. Fear Factory is alive, and churning out tunes and images and sounds in a completely new mindset, one that will hopefully set the record straight, and allow their past history to be just that. They've turned a new leaf, and released not only a typical Fear Factory disc, but an atypical one as well. From both sides, it's an incredible view.

:thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :upset:

June 23rd 2005


My summary:

Some superb songs, some not so superb.

A great album all the same, was good live at Manchester Academy 2004. The album has just come out, so Burton was well up for it ;).

My favourite: Archetype / Act of God.

August 28th 2005


I've only heard the singles on this. Cyberwaste is actually good, it grew on me and Archetype is reaking awesome. The drummer is really good.

December 10th 2005


i would give this a 5 but i realise im a bit too 5 friendly. this album is another awesome effort by FF, as is everything but digimortal

good review

March 12th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review, This is a great FF album.

My favorite songs are: Slave Labor and Archetype

March 13th 2006


A much better album than either Digimortal or Transgression.
Cyberwaste is shockingly nu-metal, but the rest of the album is business as usual...the title track is cool, plus stuff like Slave Labor and Undrecurrent. Apart from that, they seem to be ripping off their own riffs a bit, but then a lot of their songs always blurred together for me.
Still, it's all good. You don't buy a FF album expecting them to have reinvented the wheel.

March 18th 2006


i like all the insane palm muting that they do

fear factory kick ass and in my opinion this is their best album

August 14th 2006


Tracks 13 "School." Is an excellent Nirvana cover. It took me a couple extra listens to realize that it was a cover song.

what the fuck it is not they butchered that song and they also did it to cars but cars wasn't that good of a song in the first place they should only do covers of metal shit cuz thats there type of music not grunge or any other genre

August 14th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

screwatrocity, i like the cover of "School." i dont care if you don't.

Storm In A Teacup
August 14th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

I think I might own this and am listening to it currently. I thought it was a mix my friend gave me, but apparently it's this whole album. Of course I'm just guessing since "Archetype" is the fifth song on the burnt disc and the fifth on the official tracklisting.

September 11th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

Dude, the same exact thing happened to me! I've been an avid FF fan since Demanufacture, and without Dino, I didn't even plan on picking this up. But I always liked Christian, and since he was handling six-string duties, I decided to give it a try. And it was soon shoved to the bottom of my CD collection. Then, just about two weeks ago, my buddy said he was going to see them here in Jersey in a couple months and asked if I wanted to go with him. Well, out came all the old FF discs (except Demanufacture. I still listened to that regularly!) and I decided to give this one one more go. And I loved it! Especially Corporate Cloning. I've never seen their live show, but if they play that I'm gonna flip!

September 20th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

1,3,7, 9 and 10 are all my highlights. This album gets better with every listen. And I've been listening to it off and on for about a year now.

May 14th 2007


Album Rating: 3.0

Im gonna get this soon, the title track is one of their best ever.

August 22nd 2007


Good cd but Fear Factory is nothing since Dino Cazares left.

Digging: City Hunter - Deep Blood

August 22nd 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

the intro to Act of God is one of my favs. this song and/or album got me into double bass drumming

October 11th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

I remember listening to this album in 2004 in the album store I usually go 2, It was my first encounter EVER listening 2 FF! I was so impressed with the album I bought it immediatly

December 11th 2007


Album Rating: 2.5

Archetype is awesome. Slave Labor is decent. The rest just sucks.

December 11th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5


Check out Demanufacture and Obsolete. Those albums slay this one.

November 23rd 2008


Album Rating: 4.5


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