Oct 2015 24

Fear Factory - GenexusFear Factory
Category: Industrial / Metal
Album: Genexus
Stars: 4
Blurb: Sticking to the knitting established by the band’s 20-plus years, Fear Factory continues to explore the merging of man and machine as no other musical entity can.


 

It can truly be said that no other musical entity sounds like Fear Factory. For over two decades, the band has developed a singular and inimitable identity, combining the cold precision and synthesized atmosphere of the machine with the unbridled intellect and emotional core of man. While this writer considered the band’s 2012 album, The Industrialist, to be a crowning achievement for the band, presenting a strong conceptual base with an effective augmentation of the band’s core balance of the mechanical with the organic, many felt the lack of a human being behind the drum kit affected this balance negatively. As such, Genexus may alleviate those fears with the presence of more live drumming – courtesy of Mike Heller, save for one track – in tandem with the programmed rhythms; as ever, Fear Factory’s sound remains driven by Dino Cazares’ crushing machine gun riffs and Burton C. Bell’s mix of growling aggression and soulful melody, a formula the pair have cultivated since the early ‘90s, aided once again by legendary producer and longtime collaborator Rhys Fulber.

From the onset of “Autonomous Combat System,” as steely pianos and bombastic synth/strings underscoring an ominous narration explode into an onslaught of rapid fire percussion and riffs, Bell’s voice cutting through like cannon fire until the ambient crooning of the chorus, there is no doubt that this is Fear Factory. As stated, the band’s sound is quite distinctive, and it is for this reason that while Genexus in many ways sticks to the knitting of the Fear Factory aesthetic (almost to a fault), it is hardly a detriment. For instance, the urgent intensity of blast beats and scathing electronics leading to a simple but familiar melodic progression on “Protomech” is somewhat reminiscent of “Powershifter” from 2010’s Mechanize. Similarly, “Soul Hacker” recalls the grooving hip-hop rhythms explored by the band in the past, like a mutated amalgam of “Replica” from 1995’s Demanufacture and more especially “Edgecrusher” from 1998’s Obsolete, the sparse but soaring guitar solo adding a rather quaint and catchy element. This catchiness is further exemplified by some of the group’s most striking choruses, particularly in “Dielectric,” which begins with an almost orchestral tension that finally gives way to blistering dissonance and soaring tonality, while the thunderous force of “Regenerate” does little to belie its harmonious nature nor hide the fact that beneath the cyber/metal shroud is a pop song… and a damn good one at that. Conversely, the stuttering robotic acidity of “Church of Execution” sets its sights right for the jugular, as does the title track with its grim howling of “Suffer in Slavery” given added punctuation with a sample from Blade Runner. Ending the album proper is the anthemic “Expiration Date,” a mournful eulogy for humanity on the verge of extinction, the hollow soundscape concluding the track in a manner so intrinsic to Fear Factory’s style that the album would have felt incomplete without it. Two additional bonus tracks are included, with Al Jourgensen’s remix of “Genexus” being noteworthy for its glitchy and heavily programmed industrial vibe offering an equally heavy take on the song, while “Enhanced Reality” presents a harrowing atmosphere of hope in the midst of apocalypse, offered by way of one the most passionately emotive vocal performances Bell has yet delivered.

In so many ways, Genexus is Fear Factory by-the-numbers; every musical and lyrical motif cultivated and perfected by Cazares, Bell, and Fulber is presented in full, which may do little to endear outsiders to the band now. And yet, after more than two decades, Fear Factory still remains true to its cutting edge and unsurpassed style, making Genexus an album as excellent as any other in the band’s discography, relying less on the narrative approach of the previous album and focusing more on a strongly cinematic and determined conveyance of the core concepts of man’s relationship with machines – constantly in conflict, yet symbiotic and even, at times, synonymous. Bravo, Fear Factory!
 
Track list:

  1. Autonomous Combat System
  2. Anodized
  3. Dielectric
  4. Soul Hacker
  5. Protomech
  6. Genexus
  7. Church of Execution
  8. Regenerate
  9. Battle for Utopia
  10. Expiration Date
  11. Mandatory Sacrifice (Genexus Remix by Al Jourgensen)
  12. Enhanced Reality

 
Fear Factory
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Nuclear Blast USA
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Nuclear Blast Europe
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Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Amazon Vinyl
 
2015-08-07
 
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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