Review – Fear Factory: The Industrialist

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Review – Fear Factory: The Industrialist
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Fear Factory: Industrialist
Death Metal, Groove Metal, Industrial
Candlelight Records
June 5th, 2012
Release length: 50:01
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Fear Factory has always been a rather varied group as far as their sound goes. However, their 2010 album Mechanize seemed to recharge the band with their more recent Groove Metal meets Industrial sound. Still signed with Candlelight Records, they bring their ninth full-length album, titled The Industrialist, to the table for their fans. But, does this one offer as much of a punch as their previous outing?

Well, one of the main drawbacks here is the lack of bass. It’s present, but only in a small quantity, finding the main guitar chords to carry a slightly deeper presence with them. If the volume is turned up to a certain point (which was at the half-way mark of what my speakers would allow) it just drops entirely. On top of that, the material sounds largely in a haze with a bit of an empty mechanical bite to the distortion of the guitars, but when heavier, richer rhythms kick in, you can get caught up in it. The drums are pretty good thanks to the strong click of the bass kick, as well as the full sounding snares that come through over everything but the rest of the kit. Unfortunately, the cymbals really sound machine-like, and while it’s good at first, the more you get into this release they will start to get bland and repetitive if you don’t flatout dislike them. Vocally, it’s what you would expect, having a rougher shouting approach with echoed or altered clean vocals, or a deep spoken word narration to “The Industrialist” and “Virus of Faith.”

Unfortunately, this makes the music feel heavily restrictive outside the richer rhythms that appear like during the start and finish of “The Industrialist” are present. But, despite the haze and higher pitch, the compositions themselves are still not bad, and the drums sound sharp enough to really assert some aggression into the mix that otherwise is lost, thus allowing your neck plenty of moments to be exercised along with the groove. Outside of the title track, “New Messiah” really grabs the listener with stronger riffs that are just infectious, and while the chorus is not as atmospheric as others, the simpler lyrics and clean singing against music that honestly makes you feel like you are ascending towards the clouds can instantly have you singing along. It makes a great contrast to the heavier material, and what little bass is present comes through surprisingly well with plenty of verses and chorus passages that dwarf what “The Industrialist” has to offer.

“Depraved Mind Murder” has plenty of heavy material that hammers away at the listener, but unfortunately falls prey to the typical Fear Factory formula of scream the verse, sing the chorus. But, unlike the others, that clean passage doesn’t become lighter in music. The more assertive and richer performances throughout the verses and bridges sticks well here, but a little more intense, making this a tighter and vastly chaotic offering. “Difference Engine” ends up being a bit of a different beast. The song has a bit of a Punk fueled angst in some spots, and starts with a different shout, being more of a back-of-the-throat style. For a while, it’s just intense material before awkwardly shifting into another soothing, cleaner passage. It’s not bad, but from this point on it becomes typical of everything else you’ve already heard. There’s some harmonized screaming during “Dissemble,” which replaces the clean singing, but unfortunately it just ends up sounding horrible and unimpressive in the end. The layered vocals all seem to be a bit off-key with the music, and the effect doesn’t help any. However, it does carry over beautifully into the spiritual and uplifting “Religion is Flawed Because Man is Flawed” instrumental. This would have been the perfect conclusion to The Industrialist, but it ends up bleeding into “Human Augmentation,” the longest cut from the recording, which is an Ambient piece that carries the mechanical idea well. It’s an interesting conclusion, and a good one, but ultimately just not necessary.

In the end, The Industrialist has plenty of solid compositions that the higher pitch nearly destroys. However, when the mood is right, the band are still able to hold their own. Despite the extended longer-than-necessary-ending, this release is your typical Fear Factory fan fodder that has plenty of enery at times, is patterned to hell, but still ends up giving enough catchy material with a blunt, assertive backbone that fans will still come back for more. It may not be the most engaging or unique album of their career, but it’s one fans surely wouldn’t want to pass up.


01. The Industrialist – 6:07
02. Recharger – 4:09
03. New Messiah – 4:30
04. God Eater – 5:57
05. Depraved Mind Murder – 4:44
06. Virus of Faith – 4:35
07. Difference Engine – 3:38
08. Dissemble – 4:13
09. Religion is Flawed Because Man is Flawed – 1:52
10. Human Augmentation – 9:01
Overall Score: 7/10

Digital review copy of this release provided by Candlelight Records.