Review by Lilen Pautasso, as featured on New York webzine Puluche.com (http://puluche.com/reviews/fear-factory-the-industrialist-67-5/)
Fear Factory has always been recognized for their illustrious fusion of heavy metal and industrial rock. Having released an impressive discography of albums that have cemented them as pioneers of their unique musical hybrid, their latest release was highly anticipated.
As revealed by vocalist Burton C. Bell, The Industrialist would be a concept album focusing on the imminent encroachment of humanity by technology. Sonically, the album captures this technological usurpation through mechanical bursts of sound. As the album moves from “The Industrialist” to “New Messiah” the unique industrial fusions add an engaging element and do well to emphasize the album’s dystopic auditory atmosphere.
Engineered to capture a real sense of defeat and “lost hope” The Industrialist is dominated by heavy, quasi-industrial sounds, staccato riffs and a mix of death vocals with clean choruses. Yet, while the concept of the album is highly defined, the album does not go beyond the usual Fear Factory “sound” they are famous for. Despite the smooth progressive transitions and interesting noise samples, the monotonous guitar tones and riffs are almost a nuisance. There is a loss of engagement that is only ever brought back through an ear-capturing drum patter or occasional vocal transcendence.
Often with albums, the introduction really counts for something and Fear Factory did this right – especially in rhythm and vocal melodies – where their fusion of heavy metal and industrial metal are really at its peak. Stand out songs are “New Messiah,” “Recharger” and “God Eater.” Fear Factory has really captured the uniqueness of the industrial metal genre on this album. Through the use of unusual bursts of noise combined with the depth and sharpness of heavy metal, The Industrialist continues to build upon the unique music fusion Fear Factory has helped to pioneer but not without room for improvement as noted.
Arguably the most disappointing part of this release was the replacement of drummer Gene Hoglan with a drum machine. In the past, Fear Factory’s reputation has been undoubtedly enhanced by Hoglan’s technical prowess. While the band has assumed the industrial metal identity in their own right, it is a shame that they could not record this release with a worthy replacement. While the drums are undisputedly sharp on this album and they add some fantastic elements to each song, it is a little disappointing that it was all composed on a computer. Perhaps an addition to Bell’s concept of humankind’s replacement by machines?
(c) Lilen Pautasso 2013