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Fear Factory - The Industrialist

Fear Factory
The Industrialist
by Karila "Femme Metale" Shannis at 21 June 2012, 12:09 PM

Headbanging.  As a Metalhead, it’s a hobby. As a citizen of the twenty first century, it’s what you do when you can’t figure out why your technology is malfunctioning. FEAR FACTORY’s newest album, "The Industrialist" contains a particular commentary on the ever-frustrating relationship between man and machine, transcending our everyday frustration with smartphones and diving deep into the realm of technology’s control over mankind and its growing dependency on artificial intelligence. While this album proves to be very strong conceptually, it doesn’t have the hard hooks or catchy grooves that capture my attention.

The strong thematic contents of this album have its advantages.  The concept of the struggle of man versus machine comes across with incredible effectiveness. Songs like “Human Augmentation” and “Difference Engine” give you several minutes to meditate on a mental image of a mechanical environment, letting your imagination run wild. But these long lapses of droning atmospheric sounds began to wear me out halfway through the album. Have you ever been to a Dance club and been rocking out to the DJ’s grooves when suddenly he turns on weird atmospheric music and makes you wait in sheer agony for an intense “drop”? And when it finally happens, you’ve been mildly bouncing up and down for so long that the “drop” seemed completely unexciting?  That’s the kind of feeling this album relays once you get to the halfway point.

The self-titled track is easily my favorite, followed by “God Eater”. The former is the most hard-hitting on the album, and it’s the only track that you will find yourself headbanging to. I started feeling déjà vu once I got to “God Eater”. Nevertheless, I appreciated the rich, sing-along harmonies in this song, which reminded me of why SYSTEM OF A DOWN is one of my favorite Metal bands ever. It can be incredibly refreshing to listen to Metal that can be sung along with.

What’s especially unique about this album is the band’s use of electronic systems rather than a live skinsman to control and track drum lines. It becomes very obvious even to a listener who doesn’t have much experience in the production side of the music industry that a human drummer is not involved. I found it rather superficial, and I was not accommodating to this idea.  However, I feel as if this use of electronics aided in FEAR FACTORY’s overarching technological concepts for the album. The seemingly artificial drum tracks also had an alternative purpose: it made me appreciate the work of all the legendary drummers who strenuously train to create heart-pounding rhythms…by hand. If you have enjoyed the band’s releases since their genesis, the album will be another good addition to your collection. But if the band’s industrial vibe is getting a little too rusty for you, I might suggest you skip out on this one. 

3 Star Rating

1. The Industrialist
2. Recharger
3. New Messiah
4. God Eater
5. Depraved Mind Murder
6. Virus of Faith
7. Difference Engine
8. Disassemble
9. Religion is Flawed Because Man Is
10. Human Augmentation
Burton C. Bell– Lead Vocals
Dino Cazares- Guitar
Matt DeVries- Bass
Mike Heller– Drummer (Live)
Record Label: AFM Records


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