Fear Factory

Unlike most, I really didn’t think that Digimortal was as big of an abomination as some make it out to be. Sure it had its fair share of jumpdafuckup-elemenets, but it was still unquestionably a pure Fear Factory album where the things done right overweighted the things done wrong. Guess the success of the album wasn’t enough and things boiled down to the fact of founding member Dino becoming disgruntled and the the metal-meets-flesh fetish was put in ice. Few years later, after a couple of cash-in albums from the label’s part, most of the line-up have returned to the crime scene, swearing for a vengeance.

And vengeance they got with their latest musical epoch, Archetype. Yes, this time the talks about “going back to the roots” can be justified and the band is now closer to the days of Demanufacture than they’ve been in years. Ironically, Dino is nowhere to be seen or heard on the album. Instead, Christian Olde Wolbers has filled the big fat shoes better than anyone could have hoped for. Playing, not only the guitars and bass lines on the album, he’s also responsible of co-writing most of the songs. Rest of the band didn’t seem to want to remain standing still either, and Burton C. Bell returns to give one of his best performances caught on digital tape. Growls come from the deep end of the bowels and the clean parts are nowhere near as irritating as they once might have been in 1995. And not surprisingly, Herrera beats the hell out his kit with the surgical precession as we’ve come to expect from him.

The songs themselves are somewhere in the vicinity of Demanufacture. Having a bit heavier sound, the songs also seem to be a bit slower too – even if the beats per minute – count rises to new heights on some occasions. It’s hard to explain the thin line of difference between the two albums, but while they might aesthetically look the same, they are quite different in the core. Whatever the truth behind the image conveyed to me might be, if you liked Fear Factory once, you’ll certainly enjoy the 60 minutes of flesh having sex with cybernetics put on display here. And unlike most (again), I enjoyed the ‘ballads’ (ie. “Human Shields”) and I definitely didn’t mind the instrumental, “Ascension“, at the end of the album. For some reason, I’ve always thought that such calming and perhaps a bit apocalyptic soundscapes suited the band’s general purpose.

Indeed. During the past couple of years, many have tried to continue from where the band was left off, but as many have failed to get near of Fear Factory’s glory days. Against the pessimistic expectations some might have had, the band that originally pioneered the sound have returned and rightfully taken back the crown. What will Dino do? That remains to be seen.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
April 20th, 2004


  1. Commented by: E. Thomas

    I just picked this up in one of my used hauls- missed it when it came out. its pretty damn good- ‘Drones’ is one of the best songs they have written

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