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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fear Factory - The Industrialist review

Year : 2012
Genre : Industrial Metal
Label : Candlelight Records
Origin : United States
Rating : 7.0 / 10

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Introductory info is quoted from this Wikipedia page. :

The Industrialist will be a concept album, Burton C. Bell said. "The protagonist (The Industrialist) is the incarnation of all industries in the form of an automaton. The mechanical, technological, and scientific advances through the industrial age led to the creation of The Industrialist. In the story, the automaton becomes sentient as it collects memories with each passing day. Through observation and learning, it gains the will to exist. What was meant to help man, will eventually be man’s demise." ...

This album shows tremendous initial promise at being the audio interpretation of a recent popular image of science (fiction?) depicting dehumanized humanity at the verge-, or, maybe, at the middle of a war that it is waging against its own creations. The concept is not new, yet its current interpretation, by Fear Factory, at least attempts to imbue novelty into the mix, as now the narrative attraction revolves around the automaton who becomes sentient. Pinocchio 2.0. You know the Quake games, and you know the movie Avatar. Sure, they are separate mythologies, still, the technology revealed in these sagas are super-similar to each other in "feel". Technology, if sufficiently sophisticated, can not be differentiated from magic, still, it is fun to see weapons so big that you'd need a set of cranes to lift and fire. I have a hunch that Fear Factory wanted to take you on a thorough sonic sightseeing in an alternate reality in which humanity wages war with the aid of rocket powered projectiles and plazma AGAINST sentient technology that decided that

your flesh is an insult to the perfection of the digital. - Shodan style. Alas!, this invitation is so frequent indeed, - here is a relatively recent one, orchestrated to progressive metal - that the sentient automaton direction promises some structural narrative which wasn't thoroughly explored yet by music. You wished.

Once again, this type-, this ethos of sci-fi is not unknown, nor novelty - but superb fun! - since 1979's Alien, as, let's face it, to this day, modern sci-fi rips off the industrial look depicted in the Alien movies. Doom rips off this environmental lingo, Quake rips it off, Avatar, the movie is a rip-off of that look, too, only more meticulously realized and organic elements were added as the counterbalancing of the industrial visual lingo. So, Fear Factory's new album, I feel, is a KUDOS! attempt to the look and feel of the Alien movies and the "feel" of a war you wage against sentient evil machines. Beware of the toaster. EVIL! Oh really. Tell me about it. I'm listening. Quite -ha. ha. - literally.

This sci-fi album strikes up a solid start, and is quick to exhibit the premier modus operandi while at that. The entire album is a relentless burst of mounted miniguns that seek to criticize your existence in the strongest possible terms while being comfily attached to every conceivable mounting points on a Robocop-mecha. The sound is raw, relentless, machine-like indeed, - notice the cleverly short kick drums that pack a kinetic punch - and also brings less and lesser novelty after you already have successfully been shot to a pile of spazzing red meat and vaporized bones by it by the 4th minute of the disc. GG, Sire! What now.

Repeat, of course.

In other words, the disc, in my opinion, ultimately fails to evolve beyond its own initial and admirable ambitions, which is to deliver the Quake music of 2012 to you, that which would be JUST the proper audio backdrop when you Railgun your girlfriend into two separate mirror images with red slime in the middle, but, since the data is super-efficient at revealing these relentless tendencies right from the beginning, I must say that I find the selection of tools it seeks to accomplish its agenda with, a tad limited.

The record sounds convincing and sexily cybernetic when you subject yourself to it for the first time, then it gradually turns into the aforementioned minigun-fetishism, "spiced" up by clear singing chorus-hooks that seek to mime Type O Negative in character, managing to deliver enough variation via the act to sedate your attention so the relentless re-emergence of the sonic punishment is notable.

The first song is pretty effin tight and I like it very much. The second one is a stronger track, too, yet also the first to feature one of the aforementioned Type O Negative-esque choruses. This particular hook is kind of OK to me, though its arrival surprises - almost alienates you - greatly on first occasion. Still, there is a "promise", a shape of music on display that the disc COULD have turn into if would have been a more successful output than it - sadly - actually is. Notice the relentless rawness of the verse, and the almost-conflictingly power metalish chorus that manages to summon a Peter Steele vibe despite its power metal character. Pretty clever and impressive. After the first chorus comes and goes, the song's structure features an instrumental break, offering but a harshly limited propensity to relevantly deviate. The re-occurrence of the verse and the chorus is reheated redemption, Nutrasweet edition.

"New Messiah" follows a very similar compositional technique than its direct track-predecessor, and, to be frank, I think the Killer Instinct soundtrack with the chick going "Kiiiiii-kiiiiiiller" is much heavier than this. While there is nothing "wrong" with the track, it so painfully reigns satisfied with its state of nothing being wrong with it, that it is just - wrong. The chorus is pretty tepid though, in my opinion.

The track "God Eater" once again is a soundtrack from a sci-fi themed first person shooter game, yet it showcases a clear structure and elegant respective elements. The only straight-out mid-tempo contribution on the disc, and, while it sounds super-orthodox in the way it is assembled, it remains a notable highlight. But I still claim that it is Quake video game music at heart. Nothing wrong with that. 

To be frank with you, the riffcraft on the spin does not aspire to be all that complex let alone eloquent, and I personally feel that the raw power kinetic charisma of the biomechanical chemistry between the guitars and the drums wears off prior to the middle. By the time of "Depraved Mind Murder", it feels as if the disc already had shown its best tricks : the pre is the best part of the song, - a GOOD part, to be honest - and the chorus is extremely lackluster. I don't know, think of a J-Pop communist anthem. Prefer not to? I can understand. Guitar solo? Bitch, please. From then on, the red steaming pile the listener already has ended up as, gets beaten on for good measure.

"Virus of Faith" opens up with a short but elegant atmospheric intro, then the warfare dresses into the shape of a groove/thrash metal hybrid on war steroids, - I'm good so far - and once again, you will have a chorus hook that sounds super-reminiscent to the lingo you already have been accustomed to courtesy of the precursors. After the chorus, here comes the squad of kinetic hammers to beat you up real fucking bed, and you know what is up : verse, chorus. I will admit that the second time that the chorus arrives, it sounds better than its debut.

"Difference Engine" is a late "spiritual reaction" to Billy Idol's "Shock to the System", only "We are nothing to the System", this time. I'm not sure about the song, because I've been receiving the beating of the album in the previous hours, but right now it sounds to me as the epitome of meh.

"Disassemble" weighs in as an early-, sexily raw Pantera demo with random verycybernetic sentiments like "dehumanize", - really? - "breaking down", "falling down", thrown in the mix, and I personally think that the song exhibits elements that are pretty efficient. But I'm not so sure about the pseudo-technical breakdowns. Those sound to me like a psychotic episode a schizophrenic with mild talent would exhibit.

"Religion Is Flawed Because Man Is" is a decent synth mini-epic. The harmony on display is not as cheap and exhausting as Jean Michelle Jarre is on his bad days - he had many of those so far - and not as impertinently-, simplistically good as the main theme of the 2007 sci-fi movie Sunshine, but it is a decent interlude nevertheless to deliver the final portion of the disc.

For that aforementioned conclusion of the freshestestestestestestestestestest Fear Factory experience, you have a lengthy, soundly executed atmospheric ambient Epic weighing in at 9 minutes, but let me tell you that this is nothing less and nothing more-, nor nothing else in character than the ambient backdrop music for Quake 4, and, if you ever played that game, you know that I'm right about this notion 101%. This does not take away from the charm of the track, by the way. I suppose this song wants to convey the "feeling" of becoming sentient, as Machine, and the track should turn YOU into Pinocchio 2.0, The Industrialist, the Sentient Automaton. 0000111010101110101010101010100010101.

On the other hand, this acceptable nifty little Quake 4 soundtrack routine-epic simply makes it evident that, by that time, it is not only you who is being shot to a steaming pile of red spazzing meat, but the Fear Factory members feel the same way about the music on the disc, too. Not a bad release, and more significant than mere mediocrity, too. I think it could have used more variation and a whoooooooole lot more of high frequency detail which it virtually lacks altogether. If you minigun me all the time, you never minigun me.

Rating : 7.0 / 10

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