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01. The Industrialist
03. New Messiah
04. God Eater
05. Depraved Mind Murder
06. Virus of Faith
07. Difference Engine
09. Religion Is Flawed Because Man Is Flawed
10. Human Augmentation
Fear Factory looked dead and buried with the Transgression record, but reignited and back to life with 2010's Mechanize. Featuring the return of guitarist Dino Cazares, and the first album without long-time members Raymond Herrera and Christian Olde Wolbers, Mechanize felt like a clean slate for the band. The start-stop riffs, the blasting drums (courtesy of the godly Gene Hoglan), and industrial-sounding keyboards from Rhys Fulber brought many fans back to the days of Demanufacture and Obsolete. Now they have the tall task of following up on a great comeback; enter The Industrialist, a new concept album full of science-fiction jargon and more of the same from Fear Factory.
Very little has changed musically for the band between the time of Mechanize and The Industrialist. Cazares is playing the same riffs he wrote 15 years ago, which could be good or bad depending on a listener's admiration for Cazares. Vocalist Burton C. Bell bellows out harsh screams and lifeless crooning, both at the same level of quality as previous albums. Hoglan is MIA, replaced by drum programming that sounds the same as Herrera or Hoglan behind the kit.
Like on Mechanize, the keyboards immerses The Industrialist into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. They can be harsh and dissonant for a spell; calm and lush for a period. Prominent keyboards have always been a defining trademark of Fear Factory's sound, and this continues on The Industrialist. The synth used on "God Eater" wouldn't have sounded out-of-place in any of the Mad Max films, and the building samples and noise used on the title track introduces listeners to the barren landscape Fear Factory have conjured up.
While they aim for a moody state of despair with the keyboard-heavy tracks, the band is more simplistic in being aggressive. "Recharger" and "Dissemble" strip bare the essence of the band, both tunes tailor-made for fans who have stuck with the band since the Soul Of A New Machine days. About half of The Industrialist is more of a leveled pace, keeping the heaviness up, but laying back on the speed. The band even flirts with electronic beats early on in "Difference Engine."
After starting off in such an uproarious fashion, it's discouraging how dull the last few songs are. The instrumental "Religion Is Flawed Because Man Is Flawed" has a dark tranquility (insert Dark Tranquillity joke here) with its soft piano and occasional stinging guitar riff, but the closer "Human Augmentation" is a decent concept ruined by a laborious execution. Having a stark ambient track is something the band has done well in the past ("Ascension" from Archetype being a prime example), but this is just nine minutes of non-directional torture. As a closer, it pales in comparison to the awe-inspiring "Final Exit" and "A Therapy For Pain."
There have been claims that The Industrialist is this generation's Demanufacture, but there's little chance this album will create the same shockwave effect that Demanufacture did back in 1995. The Industrialist is Fear Factory doing what Fear Factory does best; chunky industrial metal, with slight melody. It's not as resourceful of an album as Mechanize was, and there isn't a song as emotionally resonant as "Final Exit" or as anthemic as "Mechanize," but The Industrialist has enough qualities to justify purchase.
Bottom Line: The comeback continues for Fear Factory with a solid follow-up to Mechanize, yet one that doesn't match the stellar attributes of that album.
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