For the Fear Factory fans who wet themselves after hearing 2010’s “comeback” album Mechanize for the first time: Time to invest in some more adult diapers. Fear Factory are back with a man vs machine concept album which is easily their strongest record since Obsolete. Round two for the reunited Dino Cazares and Burton Bell sees Fear Factory go back to their industrial roots and create a cyber metal album that truly befits the LA metallers.

“Christploitation” off of  Mechanize hinted at a return to the electronic aspects of Fear Factory and The Industrialist takes it a step further (Or a step back if you consider Obsolete and Demanufacture) and delivers tenfold. Rhys Fulber’s contributions are so much more present and the Bell/Cazares songwriting is the strongest it’s been since the early days.

From the start of Bell’s spoken word intro amidst the epic synth backdrop, The Industrialist (song and album) is already primed for greatness. “The Industrialist” is a dead ringer for “Demanufacture” in structure and the moment the programmed solo double bass drum kicks in after the intro, you’ll swear it’s 1994 all over again. When the song goes full force, it’s an indestructible six minutes of Cazares shreds (Now with more soloing!) and Bell’s uncanny delivery.

Speaking of Bell, he sounds like a man possessed on The Industrialist.  Get him in his comfort zone of man vs machine concepts and he sounds so alive and visceral. On the other hand, say what you will about Cazares but the man can rip on guitar and his songwriting is continually at its best when paired with Bell.

The Industrialist is by no means Fear Factory-by-numbers or a trip through nostalgia land. “Difference Engine” is the epitome of what makes Fear Factory great in 2012 with a great melding of metal and electronics, a crazy Gary Numan-esque synth breakdown, and  Bell destroying at the mic with the opening declaration: “Here It Comes!!!!”. Elsewhere, “God Eater” harkens back to the FF of yesterday when Godflesh (Remember the Head Of David cover on Demanufacture?) was the be all end all of industrial music with a Halloween-style piano melody at the beginning and throughout accompanying Bell’s eerie baritone and cries of “They are not one of us!”.

The only downside is that at only ten tracks, the album leaves you wanting more especially with the last two tracks being primarily instrumentals (“Religion is Flawed Because Man is Flawed”   is a solid two minute piece but “Human Augmentation” goes on a little too long). Luckily that’s what deluxe versions are all about! If “Human Augmentation” leaves you feeling unsatisfied then shell out the extra pennies and get “Blush Response” and a cover of Pitchshifter’s “Landfill”.

The Industrialist is out on June 5th through Candlelight Records. Pre-order the deluxe or the standard or the vinyl right now. Or for you physical media phobes, Itunes and Amazon will hook you up (If you pay obviously).

Grade: A+




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