Granted this will probably be a biased review as Fear Factory are without a doubt one of my favorite bands of all time...On the other hand in my attempt to write a fair review I could overcompensate while trying to find faults and end up unnecessarily bashing any little detail I don't find to my liking on the album. Do I compare it to the past masterpieces that they've put out? or view it instead like a new album from a band I've never heard before? Do I smoke a bowl while reviewing it, or write sober? Does it make a difference if I review it at night, or early in the afternoon? Do any of these little details really make any significant difference in my insignificant existence? Did I spell any of those big words correctly?
Well, here goes...
This album definitely sounds like Fear Factory, make no mistake about that, however this time around they've managed to change it around a bit. I'm hearing more keyboard samples, more melodic guitar parts, more singing. While that right there may be enough to freak out most of you reading this, it's not what's freaking me out, what's getting me is the sounds. Dino's guitar isn't as "in your face" on this one, and Christian's bass doesn't seem as prevalent this time around. As for the drums, Raymond's kit sounds a bit too much like a drum machine, (we all know it's not, but it SOUNDS like it). Even Burton's vocals sound like they're being run through some sort of processor on most songs, (and they don't need it!) though it does give a trippy effect to a few tunes. Seems the album's title also applies to the overall sound...
The songwriting itself however is nothing short of amazing, "Invisible Wounds" is dark, moody, and melodic enough to make In Flames cry in their cherrios. Burton's vocal ability was really put to use on this album, and as Dino strays slightly from single string riffs and chords and into open picking, we see a whole new side to his talents on the 6...err...7 string. Raymond's usual breakneck doublebass is still abundant on this album, and you can't possibly get through the chorus of "Acres Of Skin" without neck injuries.
The lyrics to Burton's most recent sci-fi book on disc tell a dark and complex story of what the future may hold. Once again the listener is pushed to actually think, to ponder, to stem new questions from those which are presented.
If there's one song on here that FF is gonna get shit for, it's "Back The Fuck Up". Yes folks, Fear Factory made a song with rap in it. Does it sound like Limp Dick or any of the other crap being shoved down your throat? No. It merely sounds like a FF song with B Real and Burton rapping. If it can be compared to anything, I'd say Biohazard's "New World Disorder".
Those of you who just saw the band on the Sno-Core tour may recall hearing an incredibly heavy new song called "Linchpin", to my dismay the album version doesn't crush nearly as much, it's still damn catchy and you can just see the pit opening up in your head, but they are 2 different animals. I figure this may actually be an advantage however, "Linchpin" is the first single right? It's possible that the poor unsuspecting Papa Roach crowd could get into this song, only to be brought over to the "dark side" when they go to see Fear Factory live...just a thought.
The only other thing I could possibly bitch about is the overall length of the album, there are only 2 songs over 5 minutes long, and the rest are under 4! With only 11 tracks this album flys by quickly. To solve this problem I'd get the digipack with the bonus tracks when it's released...
Reviewed by: Wolfie