Fear Factory
Aggression Continuum

I’m going to do my best to leave the drama out of this review because I’m sure everyone, myself included, has opinions of Dino, Burton C. Bell, and Fear Factory in general. So, I am going to do my best to just talk about this album and the band in general. If I fail, well I’ve done that a lot, so it’s not much of a surprise.

Despite what one may think about the band, in my opinion, their discography ranges from good to great, despite very little deviance from their traditional form. I feel like they’ve been heavily influential in multiple metal trends, such as nu metal and djent, although I’m sure they may not want to take credit. After all, who wants to take credit for Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water or that fucking “Butterfly” song? You know which one (you’re my butterfly, sugar, baby…)

Fuck. Do your best to get that last song out of your head, even if it takes a lobotomy.

So, the first question is: How long before the word “machine” is used? Your answer is two sentences into the intro for the first track, “Recode.” In case you were naively wondering if the band has abandoned its M.O., I figured I would throw that out there. Otherwise, the first track is a scorcher. Of course, Burton employs his trademark good cop/bad cop vocal style, along with a very Dino-sounding riff. Included are some symphonic elements and the chorus is of course an earworm.

The title track, which is number 3 on the track list, keeps up the intensity of the first couple. It’s a bit heavier because it has a chorus, but it’s not your typical clean chorus. Sure, there are clean vocals, but the chorus itself is not. The vocals in the bridge are clean. I’ve always been a big fan of Burton’s voice, clean vocals and screams, so it doesn’t bother me which method he employs. Another solid track.

The next on my agenda to discuss is track 5, “Fuel Injected Suicide Machine”, which has been released to the peasants already, and has one of those useless YouTube visualizers. Cool, I guess? As for the track itself, let’s be honest in saying that the chorus is cheesy, but it hits hard. So, really, who cares? The symphonic elements make up a nice backbone to the bridge.

Track 9, “Monolith,” is a little different. How different? Well, I did say a little… It has a catchy chorus, the typical staccato riffing, and what’s this? A guitar solo? Yes, friends, a guitar solo. It’s a good one. However, it is definitely far too short. When I first heard it, I actually stopped the music, then went back and listened again to make sure my ears weren’t deceiving me.

After that, track 10, the closer, “End of Line” comes. No “the.” It’s definitely the longest track here at over 7 minutes, but the chorus melody is quite possibly the best on the album. The middle section of the track slows down the pace quite a bit, but not quite as slow as the last 2 minutes, which is just atmosphere and spoken word. Machines and whatnot. You get it.

So, what everyone wants to know is where this one falls on the Fear Factory spectrum between good and great. In short, it’s far closer to great. Does this rival Demanufacture? How dare you ask! Of course not. How about Obsolete? Still no. Is it better than The Industrialist or Genexus? Yeah, I think so. So, the verdict is that if you like Fear Factory even a little bit, you’ll like this. If you’re bummed that Burton and Dino seem to have broken up for good, remember there were albums without Dino before, but they ended up reconciling, so despite all the drama, maybe it could happen again. Shit! I said I wasn’t going to mention the drama! Anyway, if you’re a fan, go out and grab this (or order it online).

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
May 31st, 2021

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