Fear Factory
Aggression Continuum


4.0
excellent

Review

by KevinKC USER (19 Reviews)
August 2nd, 2021 | 4 replies


Release Date: 2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It's great and it really is disgusting.

Teenage Kalvin discovered Fear Factory in the year 2000 when his cousin introduced him to the band through the listening of Demanufacture. Quickly enough he became a fan and bought both Obsolete and Soul of a New Machine at his record shop. He felt so elated to have discovered a band he truly loved. What he didn’t know is that Fear Factory was the worst band to become a fan of in 2000.

The following year Fear Factory released a strongly disappointing opus called Digimortal. Clearly they were trying to become mainstream and had sacrificed key elements of the music. The songs were very short, the guitar sound wasn’t as heavy, the singing had become a strange aggressive whisper and to make things even clearer there was a rap-metal track.

Not one to despair easily, Kalvin just thought they’d have fixed the problems by the next album. But consequently to discord between band members that had led to the debacle that was Digimortal, or consequently to its bad reception, Burton C Bell left the band. Fear Factory was done for.

The bitterness of the story shouldn’t be underestimated. Fear Factory was great and unique and the betrayal of the sound that was Digimortal left those who liked their music quite frustrated. So much that when they reformed, they announced that they wouldn’t be playing anything off the album live.

The band reformed without Dino Cazares, the guitarist, who was held responsible for everything that had gone wrong. A new album was announced and everybody rejoiced, even though the fact that the former bassist had taken the guitar duty was really a bad omen.

In 2004, Archetype was released. And although it wasn’t perfect, it was well received. It was good enough, had a few killer tracks, wasn’t Digimortal 2, Fear Factory was back… and truly Burton had produced some quite awesome and unexpected vocals. All this managed to hide the averageness of the release. Archetype's guitar work and soundmixing are very dull. The album is truly more of a well-crafted illusion than a solid achievement. The producers weren’t deaf and more or less abandoned the band before the release of their follow up, called Transgression, which would certainly not have been worse than Archetype if given a chance, but wouldn’t have been better either. Transgression was released one year later and was to be considered the worst album of the band.

Fear Factory drowned again, Burton left again. In 2008, Wolbers and Herrera released an album under a different name, Arkaea, with the material that they had planned to use for the next Fear Factory. It was very weak and seriously proved that Wolbers really wasn’t suited for the role.
All this time, Dino Cazares played with Asesino, started a new band called Divine Heresy and never thought of suing anyone.

Four long years had passed since Transgression when, in 2009, Burton and Dino announced that they would be working together again. The band was supposed to be dead and buried and everybody was happy to hear of this new development. Fear Factory still hadn’t given a proper follow up to their 1998 Obsolete and the soap opera was getting extremely annoying.

Mechanize was released in 2010 accompanied by a legal tumult. Cazares and C. Bell didn’t have the right to use the band’s name which also was a brand whom the four members owned... or something like that.

The album was great but suffered from a few quirks that didn’t make it a proper Fear Factory album. Mainly, Gene Hoglan's drumming, which was very welcomed by most, didn’t exactly fit the band’s industrial sound making it sound excessively brutal and in your face that which in itself wasn’t bad but wasn’t Fear Factory. Also, the songs’ average length was shorter and the album only had nine tracks. Still, Dino and Burton had proved that there was no reason to despair. The time of Digimortal or Transgression was over.

After Mechanize, Byron Stroud (bassist after Wolbers who remained in the band as long as him) and Gene Hoglan both criticized Bell and Cazares for the way they had treated them and left/weren’t called back.

2012’s The Industrialist felt like the first true real hope that fans would get this true to the core new Fear Factory album that they had been waiting for since 1998.

But The Industrialist was a dud. For the first time, Burton’s vocals felt slightly uninspired and Dino’s songwriting was dull. Although the most probable reason for this misfire was the absence of a live drummer who would have known better how to bring the songs to life. Also, The Industrialist was particularly short, with only eight true tracks and no noticeable closer. The album simply felt unfinished.


Strangely enough, it was when all hope seemed lost that the band released Genexus. Arguably the band’s best album. Of course, Genexus owed a lot to everything that came before, (even to Transgression) but speaking only in terms of quality, it was the perfect FF output. Harsh vocals, clean vocals, guitar sound, guitar riffing, songs’ structure, drums, indus elements, synths, even the types of songs, everything was there and everything was done perfectly. Truly Genexus was an absolute gift and a miracle.

Quickly enough, one year later, the band announced a new album. Something went wrong, there was a fleeting moment of confusion, and it became obvious that again, something had gone wrong. And indeed it had, the suing men were back and Bell and Cazares had argued again.

We’re in 2021 and Monolith/Aggression Continuum is out and it’s great. Not as good as Genexus but as deserving a follow up to their nineties work. And listening to it, it feels as if Burton and Dino could produce material of that level until the end of time.

The thing is, it’s over guys. Burton C. Bell left and that’s really not cool.

In 2001, after the release of a disappointing album, the band split.
In 2005, after the release of two underwhelming albums, the band split again.
In 2010 and 2012, when the band was back and seemingly had everything to be great again, they failed to be.
In 2021, after having achieved the miraculous stunt of releasing back-to-back two awesome albums truly deserving of the FF name, after having given us hope and regained our trust… Burton left the band again, and this time for good.

I love Genexus and I love Aggression Continuum, and on both these albums Dino and Burton sound like nothing could possibly stop Fear Factory.

F****ing seriously. I’m going to sue him for emotional distress. I am disgusted.


(It's not obvious that I'm joking. I entirely respect Burton C. Bell's right to quit and give up on the band. He's got all the reasons to do so and I'm very grateful for Genexus and Aggression Continuum which are serious miracles).



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3.5
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Azog
August 2nd 2021


1070 Comments


Surprisingly, this isn't bad.

Dmax28
August 3rd 2021


1308 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's a great album. Honestly out of their whole discography this and Genexus are easily my favorites to listen to front to back

Coldday
August 4th 2021


72 Comments


This sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger music!



Flugmorph
November 6th 2021


34648 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

only KevinKC could write this lol



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