July 31, 2012 | , | 3.5

Fear Factory, The Industrialist

Fear Factory: The Industrialist

I don’t care what you sonsabitches say, I liked Fear Factory’s 1998 concept album, Obsolute. I played the hell out of some “Edgecrusher” and “Smasher/Devourer.” But it was also an album at which point I sort of lost interest in the band. I hadn’t heard anything from the group until I received a promo for their 2010 full-length, Mechanize which saw the group sort of re-embrace a sound similar to the one I overplayed horribly back in the day. Well, Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares are back with another helping of their brand of industrial metal with The Industrialist, the second full-length since reforming in 2009.

Based on a story that Bell wrote, the ten tracks on this blast of mechanized mayhem are peppered with Cazares off-kilter riffing, Bell’s growls and soaring vocals as well as a flurry of programmed drums — I thought Gene Hoglan did a great job on Mechanize and fully expected him to appear on this recording, as well. At any rate, the hard-charging, industrial metal on this latest opus from Bell and Cazares is right in light with what the guys have been producing the past few years, meaning it’s not anything revolutionary, but should fall comfortably right in the laps of fans of their latest material.

The opening, title track is a solid start to the album and should have fans drooling almost instantly. The duo of the second and third tracks, “Recharger” and “New Messiah” respectively, sees the band hit their stride aggressively with churning, technical riffs and drums that are pretty bludgeoning, despite their overly and maddeningly digitized sound. “Recharger” is pure Fear Factory and just about an instant classic in the group’s discography.

From this point on, however, the guys seem to lose their way a bit. Each track, except for the closing combination of the rather pedestrian instrumental “Religion is Flawed Because Man is Flawed” and the way-too-long, meandering of “Human Augmentation, is capable and standard Fear Factory. They just don’t live up to the expectations that Mechanize and the first few opening songs of this latest had set in fans’ minds. There are a couple of memorable moments of course: the electronic influences in “God Eater,” the flat out fury of “Difference Engine,” and the technical riffing of “Dissemble.”

In the end, it’s always good to have new Fear Factory material even if it’s not up to the caliber to which we expect the guys to deliver. The Industrialist certainly has it’s moments and a couple of possible instant classics, but it just doesn’t live up to expectations on subsequent listens. Now where is my copy of Obsolete damn it?