Conflict
Decision Code

Released at the tail end of 2019, Decision Code is the fourth album from this Russian industrialized death metal act, and if you are worried of Fear Factory and their apparently many and long running legal issues will prevent any future releases, Conflict will be solid stand in. In fact, ol’ Burton C Bell makes an appearance here.

At the forefront of Conflict’s clearly Fear Factory (somehow mixed with Amaranthe) influenced sound is vocalist Anna Hel (AKA Anna Vavilkina), who has a fearsome bellow/rasp akin to former Arch Enemy singer Angela Gossow, but then like Burton C Bell, mixes in a soulful clean croon here and there to carry the futuristic concepts of the album that ‘deals with human imperfection blinded by fanaticism which leads to the downfall of mankind’.

For a quick Fear Factory reference, skip forgetful opener “2048” and go straight to second track “Autonomous”, opening riff of third track “Act of Resistance” as well as standout “D-Evolution (featuring Dave Lowmiller of A Dark Halo for a cool chorus as well as Vavilkina’s addition ), “To Serve and Protect” and “Room 101”. All clearly Dino Cazares inspired riffage that chugs and stutters with rhythmic precision backed by appropriately futuristic programming and mechanical, Raymond Hererra styled drumming (both provided by Mikhail Conflictov ). Even instrumental closer and Fear Factory-ish song title “New Industrial Order”, has hints of the band’s more introspective side.

Other guests show up including  Karsten Jagger of German thrashers Disbelief on another memorable standout “Speechless” (where Vavilkina’s clean voice really shines along with a nice string arrangement) and Jayce Lewis of old British thrashers Losing Sun on moody ballad “Deadlock”. Bell’s appearance is a bit underwhelming on another ballad, “The Architect”, reminiscent of Fear Factory‘s softer moments (“Resurrection”, “Expiration Date”, etc”).

There are some cool options to pick this album at the band’s bandcamp site, up including a metal tin box set, a’government’ case set or a ‘rebel’ kit that all feature some of the band’s previous materials and various other goodies worth checking out. But musically alone these guys are pretty solid, not a year end world beater, but I keep coming back to it as its a fun, simple , familiar listen and certainly a worthwhile stand in for Fear Factory fans with or without Bell’s appearance.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 27th, 2020

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