Released Via Nuclear Blast
Genre: Industrial Death Metal
1. Autonomous Combat System
4. Soul Hacker
7. Church Of Execution
9. Battle For Utopia
10. Expiration Date
Fear Factory are unique within the metal scene. Off the top of my head, I cannot think of another band that sounds like them. Their long career has seen them go through highs and lows. The most recent high being 2010's 'Mechanize', which was a complete tour-de-force, backed up by the cannonade percussion of Gene Hoglan. Since then, Hoglan left the band and 2012 saw the release of 'The Industrialist', which was a fractured affair. Not a terrible album by any measure, but it definitely had something missing at its core. It lacked that certain spark that helped previous Fear Factory albums breathe and grow. For their new record, Cazares and Bell brought in Malignancy drummer Mike Heller.
As it happens, Heller was a great choice. He gels in well with Dino Cazares' mechanical, down-tuned riffing. Over this, frontman Burton C. Bell's barks and snarls weave their magic over opening track 'Autonomous Combat System', which begins this record's story of sentient machines living among mankind, and all its questions of religion, mortality, climate control and the essence of being human.
Without a doubt the music is very familiar to anybody who has heard Fear Factory, and there isn't much new to hear on this record, save for on the final track 'Expiration Date', which sees Fear Factory take us on an ambient journey. Before that, though, it is staccato riffs and triplet-based drumming wound super-tight and topped off with roomy choruses that feature the always superbly produced clean vocals of Bell. However, what helps this album is that the song writing has a lot more soul within it, it's been thought out more but not forced. The whole entity flows really well and each song has its strengths. It sounds like the album that 'The Industrialist' tried to be, and at times even sounds better than 'Mechanize', which is saying something since that album was one of my favourites of that year.
'Dielectric', 'Soul Hacker', 'Protomech' and 'Church Of Execution' are all the kind of powerful, pulverizing and thought-provoking metal songs that really bring an album like this to life. It goes without saying that the moral questions of Artificial Intelligence have been a hot topic over the last number of years as mankind seems to move swiftly towards that particular moral crossroads. 'Genexus', with its description of mechanization being a part of the next step in mankind's evolution shows how this band have presented the case both for and against this issue, while bearing the rebellious metal connotations within the songs, aimed at political systems, dehumanization and religion. Fear Factory are sharp again, back on track again, ready to grind your ears into dust again.