Not very long after the critically acclaimed ‘’Mechanize’’, Fear Factory offer us their new and eighth album called ‘’The Industrialist’’, somehow breaking the tradition with the one word only titles in the band’s albums. ‘’Mechanize’’ was an album that grew instantly in the hearts of FF fans, as it was the album of Dino Cazares’ return to the band and the mark of a heavier approach to the FF sound, compared to the result of ‘’Transgression’’ especially (and less the one of ‘’Archetype’’). With the help of the Strapping Young Lad rhythm section, Byron Stroud and Gene Hoglan on bass and drums, the band sounded totally renewed and this also showed on their live performances. Everyone thought that the next album would be much better than ‘’Mechanize’’ and a bright future was ahead for Fear Factory. The first sample of the album with the single ‘’Recharger’’ was very promising, as we deal with a typical FF bombastic track which surely will become a live favorite.
Moreover, as I pushed the play button and the title track emerged from the depths of a rather spacy atmosphere, I was more than certain I’d be blown away with the whole album. ‘’The Industrialist’’ is a flawless track, ideal to open the upcoming gigs of the band, creating an amazing duo with ‘’Recharger’’, where you’ll listen to Burton C. Bell more mature than ever spitting venom with his harsh vocals and bringing redemption with his clean ones. The problems start to appear after the first two tracks. Without any intention to minimize the effort of the two mainmen, it sounds to me that something’s missing here and there. Tracks like ‘’New Messiah’’ or ‘’God Eater’’ make you bang your head like a maniac but maybe for the first time in history, you get a feeling that FF play a safe card and haven’t evolved that much, as you might want. The riffs are there, the double bass that invades your mind and tears it into pieces with the bass being the pulse generator that leads this massacre are also there. Then what the hell is wrong anyway?
Take your time as you listen to the album and try to bring in front of your eyes Fear Factory’s evolution through time as a possible movie series. No matter if the main ideas are the same, there was always something new from the band to keep your interest at a high level. This time it is clear that the recipe of ‘’Mechanize’’ is somehow repeated but not in the same successful way. The sound that leads to the future is also there, but the songs aren’t there I guess, meaning that ‘’Mechanize’’ was much better as a sum with tracks like ‘’Fear Campaign’’, ‘’Christploitation’’, ‘’Oxidizer’’ and ‘’Powershifter’’ to mention a few. There aren’t such tracks on ‘’The Industrialist’’ apart from the beginning duo that really proves that Fear Factory still write colossal tracks. The main problem is the album’s consistency. It may keep the interest for a while, mainly because fans will be enthusiastic in listening and living with the album, but from a point and on, it is most certain that a feeling of small disappointment may come to them.
Since I’m a declared and more than obsessed Fear Factory fan, I never thought I’d be in a place to judge one of my most beloved bands of all time in a strict way. I must do it though, as we always must judge who we love in a more special way, due to the high expectations we have from them. Fear Factory is still a band which can lead the whole modern/groovy metal scene and the fact that some of the album’s tracks like ‘’Depraved Mind Murder’’ or ‘’Virus Of Faith’’ might be an unreached dream for some other bands, doesn’t mean that we must be satisfied from Fear Factory. A food baked over and over again in recycle will never bring you the same satisfaction just like the first time you tasted it. And that’s how the case is with ‘’The Industrialist’’. A good effort from the band to give something special, aggressive, bizarre and experimental at parts but not succesful in the end. The truth is that the fans who got to know the band recently will like the album, but as far as the old fans are concerned, things will start to get worse with the climax each track includes and the change of rhythms that this time tires more than brings interest.
What makes me sad is the ending of the album with eleven NEEDLESS minutes included in the final two tracks ‘’Religion Is Flawed Because Man Is Flawed’’ who works as an intro to ‘’Human Augmentation’’. The last track in each Fear Factory album was always special, such as ‘’A Therapy For Pain’’, ‘’Timelessness’’ and ‘’(Memory Imprints) Never End’’. This time, it’s simply not. If you add the fact that they follow two filler tracks such as ‘’Difference Engine’’ and ‘’Disassemble’’, things get worse. There are blank spots on the album which may not be that much and others wouldn’t give a big deal about, but it’s Fear Factory we’re talking about, once the hope of all the American sound and much more times a new proposition to something refreshing. The band’s elements are circling around the album, it’s all a matter of taste in the end, I personally expected more and surely not an album at least one degree lower than ‘’Mechanize’’ (if not more). I keep in mind the good parts of the album, the great beginning, Burton’s vocals and the feeling that the band acted as if in pressure. I wish them not to do the same mistake again, as they don’t have to prove anything to anyone.
P.S. : The bonus tracks are simply awful!