Fear Factory
Aggression Continuum


3.4
great

Review

by Trey STAFF
June 19th, 2021 | 97 replies


Release Date: 06/18/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Archetype

In 2004, Fear Factory released an album called Archetype, but they really should have saved the title for this release – Replica would have been a much better title for that album, but we won’t get into that here. Across Aggression Continuum’s forty-nine-minute runtime, there are facets of just about every full-length album’s unique niche (barring the band’s death metal debut). There are the predictable elements that have graced just about the entire discography -- including the rapid-fire riffs, harsh vocals, electronics, and catchy choruses. There’s the mainstream groove of Digimortal, the melodic undercurrents of Genexus, the crushing industrialized metal of Mechanize, and even a little hint of Transgression’s aimless experimentation. All of these callbacks to previous releases are Aggression Continuum’s biggest draw as well as its biggest weakness.

Just about every song on Aggression Continuum can be traced back to something remarkably similar on a previous album. This has the unfortunate consequence of making the entire release sound familiar even on first listen. It is unfortunate because, despite the familiarity, Aggression Continuum is another great Fear Factory release -- it is just… archetypical. The riffs – you have heard them before. The machine gun percussion – no surprises there. The aggressive vocals on the verses, and clean singing on the choruses – predictable. The industrial flourishes – still there, just (mostly) not done by Rhys Fulber. You get the point. What that description might not impart is just how solid an album Aggression Continuum is. After thirty years, Dino and Burton know exactly how to make a Fear Factory song, and some of the most consistent of the bunch are here – they just owe a lot to their past.

There has been a lot of talk in this review about how much Aggression Continuum owes to the Fear Factory discography, but the album is not just a total rehash. Despite every Fear Factory release since Demanufacture essentially working from the same blueprint, each album has also had its own unique facet that made it worth listening to -- Aggression Continuum will be known for some of the band’s best songwriting. Dino and Burton have taken all the things that made previous songs stand out, and re-crafted them using thirty years of songwriting experience, and it shows. Most noticeable, they have taken the melody-dominated sound of Genexus, the unrelenting drive of Demanufacture, and the crushing production of Mechanize. With those elements, they have managed to produce their most easily accessible album while still clearly sounding like Fear Factory.

If you didn’t know, Burton Bell exited Fear Factory before the release of Aggression Continuum; leaving behind a 30-year legacy, and a sound that was 100% unique when Fear Factory first came onto the scene. Over that time, they released ten consistently solid albums (yes… that includes Transgression) and even defined a genre. Aggression Continuum is the culmination of that legacy, offering nothing new, but gathering all the band’s best elements under the collective wing of thirty years of songwriting experience. If they could have called this release Archetype (and called that other one Replica … just saying), it would describe this album to a tee; and that is not a dig. At the end of the day, though, the album name is just semantics because Aggression Continuum really is the career-spanning archetypical Fear Factory release that ends the era of Burton Bell in style (whether it’s called Archetype or not).



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user ratings (125)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
June 19th 2021


18937 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

My review writing is rusty. We'll see if I can manage to get consistent again.



Anyway, if you like Fear Factory, you shouldn't be disappointed.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2021


9181 Comments


I've only listened to the first 2-3 songs, and I agree with the review rating and assessments, band appears to be adequate, but blunted, running on fumes.

Digging: Unmother - Lay Down the Sun

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2021


14531 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

A Willie review? What a blessed way to close out the first half of 2021

Muzz79
June 19th 2021


936 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah credit to Fear Factory on an awesome 30 year career and this album. I saw them on the Demanufacture tour and followed them since and this album is a career culmination, absolutely agreed. They’d be ecstatic with the quality of this album this far into the future from their late 80’s beginnings. And a nice full circle moment with the Fear Is the Mindkiller reference in the outro. Congrats FF and great review

Digging: Times of Grace - Songs of Loss and Separation

ChrimzonCanine
June 19th 2021


802 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty much Genexus 2.0. I’m happy with this.

Digging: Fields of the Nephilim - Elizium

Dizchu
June 19th 2021


341 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is a great Fear Factory album that pretty much builds on the last one. Nothing groundbreaking, but this is the best either Burton or Dino have ever sounded. Too bad there's so much toxicity in the band though.

Toondude10
June 19th 2021


14544 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I enjoyed this, prob their best album since Mechanize. That being said it feels like they've been trying to remake Mechanize for the past 3 albums so...

InFlamesWeThrash666
June 19th 2021


10104 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good album but not very memorable



Monolith is a banger though

Dmax28
June 19th 2021


892 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Collapse slaps so hard and Manufactured Hope is so slick and catchy. And the vocals on the title track seriously pump me up

BigPleb
June 19th 2021


63128 Comments


Heaviest album since Mechanize, definitely.

Not as immediate as Genexus but it's definitely a grower.

Only major complaint would be the inconsistent nature of Burton's vocals, he is really off key at times then others sounds great.

PortalofPerfection
June 19th 2021


2524 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think I will probably not like this as much as Genexus, but it's good to know these guys went out on a solid album.



Speaking of solid, great review!

Digging: Noctule - Wretched Abyss

Eons
June 19th 2021


3166 Comments


Who even is in the band now? Last I heard it was just Dinos project. He owns it. He's the only member?

EDIT: This review says Burton is in the band but that's not what I read. I read that he left the band.

Madbutcher3
June 19th 2021


2848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeh i think this one is less memorable than genexus but pretty consistent and a bit heavier. overall about the same quality

conesmoke
June 19th 2021


6807 Comments


Fair nit pick. I liked the review Willie.

Coldplaz
June 19th 2021


122 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

>"atmospheric" ambient or spoken word intro

>heavy chugga chugga verse

>Burton shouting about hating God or society

>cheesy chorus with synths and clean vocals

>something about man vs machine

>repeat chugga verse

>cheesy chorus again

>bridge where Burton keeps repeating something edgy

>chorus again with more synths

>repeat formula 10 times

ResidentNihilist
June 19th 2021


2129 Comments


Nocte rating: Not enough bm or dm - 2.0

ChrimzonCanine
June 19th 2021


802 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Truth

KjSwantko
June 19th 2021


12053 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really enjoyed this actually, and it's a suitable end to an era. "Disruptor" being my fav here - having some strong old school Nevermore vibes and even a groove ala Meshuggah in there too. All in all a fun listen. Fear Factory being Fear Factory.

bloc
June 19th 2021


66214 Comments


Damn their last few album arts all look the same

Digging: Hiatus Kaiyote - Mood Valiant

heck
June 19th 2021


6085 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

wish they'd stuck with the Monolith name and cover art for this, the art looked unfinished but with some polishing it'd be a cool departure from the same style they keep using.

Digging: The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out



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