Fear Factory are one of those bands that has a singular sound, and you know instantly when you hear their music who it is. This is both good and bad for them. Good, in that they are pretty unique and distinctive in a world of copies and soundalikes, but bad in that you can easily tell when they’re just not pulling out all the stops.
I must admit that I am a bit late to the party on this one. I didn’t even realise they’d released a new album until a week ago or so, and I call myself a Fear Factory fan?! To be honest though, as much of a fan as I am of FF, I was sorely disappointed with their previous two albums Mechanize and The Industrialist, and lost a little bit of interest in them since then.
This made me kinda sad, as I can remember watching them live back on their Archetype tour at the Manchester Academy and they were phenomenal. I remember waiting outside the back of the venue afterwards in the hope that I would get to meet the band, a dream that did come true. Burt sat with us for almost an hour, chatting about music, the world, the tour and all sorts, and was genuinely down to earth and lovely. I also credit myself with convincing him to go and tour South Africa, a country which they were hesitant to visit due to rumours of violence and deaths at gigs. You can thank me later, South Africa. But anyway, I digress.
Lucky for us, they’re back on form, bringing us a new story and some excellent music. Back with their 9th studio album, Genexus plots the journey of a humanoid robot gaining sentience and becoming disillusioned with the world it has been brought into.
Starting with Autonomous Combat System, we are introduced to “The Model”, a machine that realises it is “dying”. The Model soon becomes angered that the industry who created it cannot extend its life and becomes a weapon to destroy those who made it. The journey continues as the machine first strengthens itself, and then sets out to discover more about the world. The album then proceeds to take you on a journey with the machine, which doesn’t feel much different to our modern day lives of being controlled by media and big corporations, and how difficult it is to strive to be different.
Journey and story aside, this albums is made up of what we know and love about Fear Factory: slamming riffs, technical drums and Burt’s distinctive mix of melodic and growling vocals.
While it’s difficult to pick a favourite, my two favourite tracks overall have to be Regenerate and Expiration Date, two songs that couldn’t be more different yet encapsulate all the things I love about Fear Factory.
Firstly, Regenerate. Reeking of determination it makes me want to get up and punch my fist in the air, and feel like I can do anything. This song has some beautifully featured drums, and a very catchy hook. Talking about how we have power to effect change and bring yourself back to life, regardless of suffering and strife, it’s a very uplifting and powerful piece of music.
Secondly, there’s Expiration Date. This song is orchestral, melodic and melancholy. It charts The Model’s final acknowledgement that everything must die, everything must end, and is the perfect track to end this album with. Sadly YouTube licensing laws means I can’t get the video for it in Australia but please go have a listen.
The whole album is worth a listen, in order, at least 3 times. Then you can go pick out your favourites, if you can.
In conclusion, all I can say is “Fear Factory are BACK, baby!”.
Gorephile. Singer. "Lady".