Fear Factory is back with Mechanize, their seventh studio album, and they’re breakneck metal sound is heavier than ever. With a brand spanking new line-up, the mighty FF sets out to redeem themselves from their ill-received sixth release, Transgression. While this isn’t the best record in their discography, it certainly gets the job done.
First, I’d like to address the line-up change. To my delight, Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares have reconciled, and Dino is now back as the chief axman. In an odd turn of events, Christian and Raymond are gone, replaced by Byron Stroud and Gene Hoglan of Strapping Young Lad fame. While I found this to be kind of a shocker, the SYLers are more than apt at performing in their respective roles. Now, onto the album.
Mechanize is not exactly the bee’s knees, but compared to other albums in Fear Factory’s catalog (Digimortal and Transgression come to mind), it’s certainly not a failure either. In fact, this is possibly one of the heaviest Fear Factory records since Demanufacture, and a lot of this is due to Gene Hoglan’s masterful beats. He is a true monster behind the drum kit on this recording, just as he is in every band that he graces with his presence. The guitars are very fast and heavy, but at the same time, kind of simple and uninspired; where they excel in thrashing my face off, they lack in holding my attention. That’s not to say they’re completely without their enjoyable moments, as songs like “Christploitation” and “Final Exit” exemplify.
As you might expect, Burton C. Bell’s vocals are the same as they’ve been for the last 15 years, and I couldn’t be happier about that: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. He still excels at heavy screaming that doesn’t mask what he’s actually saying, and his singing voice is still one of the best in the heavy metal world. The lyrics are maybe getting a little old, but if anyone expects Fear Factory to release a decent album that’s not about a war against the technology of an out-of-control police state, they’re high on friggin’ glue.
The bottom line is that, while Mechanize may not be the greatest Fear Factory record ever, it’s far from the worst. Check it out for yourself to see where you stand.
02. Industrial Discipline
03. Fear Campaign
04. Power Shifter
07. Controlled Demolition
08. Designing The Enemy
09. Metallic Division
10. Final Exit