Album Review: FEAR FACTORY “Re-Industrialized” (2023)

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FEAR FACTORY’s Re-Industrialized: A Resurrected Sonic Journey of Remixes and Reinvention

Remixing a song involves creating a new version of the original by using parts of it. In the case of FEAR FACTORY, the band has undertaken this process several times throughout their discography, leaving us with always interesting versions, depending on how you choose to perceive them. Their latest release, “Re-Industrialized,” is no exception and is sure to delight their more experimental followers, while die-hard fans will relish in the remixes that offer an “Old School” touch. It is a testament to the fact that the machine called FEAR FACTORY reinvents itself and continues to operate.

At the end of June, the quintessential Industrial Metal band will reissue their seventh album, “Mechanize,” in its entirety. Additionally, they will release a new version of their album “The Industrialist,” which was responsible for continuing their discography legacy. This new version has been remixed and remastered by Canadian producer, engineer, and sound mixer Greg Reely, who also worked on the albums “Demanufacture,” “Obsolete,” and “Mechanize.” Greg Reely has collaborated with bands such as MACHINE HEAD, COLDPLAY, and THE TEA PARTY. This re-release is titled “Re-Industrialized” and presents special features supported by the German record label NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS.

When FEAR FACTORY released “The Industrialist” eleven years ago, it received numerous positive reviews for its outstanding sonic elements. The album sounded splendid and formidable, but it had certain limitations. At that time, Australian drummer John Snakey and Dino Cazares took charge of writing and programming the album’s drum arrangements, while Burton C. Bell’s incomparable voice also made its presence felt. The album credits were distributed as follows: Burton C. Bell on vocals, lyrics, and as assistant executive producer of arrangements; Dino Cazares on guitars, bass, and drum programming, also as arrangements producer; Rhys Fulber on sound manipulation programming and synthesizers, and as executive producer; Logan Mader as song editor and recording engineer; Greg Reely as mastering and mixing engineer; Joey Blush on keyboards and programming, and Anthony Clarkson on album cover and artwork. Together, they brought the album to life in 2012 under the sponsorship of AFM Records.

The original album represented both a rebirth and an almost demise of FEAR FACTORY, as it showcased their capabilities at the time but also highlighted the limitations they faced in its creation due to factors such as budget or release deadlines. As a result, the final product lacked the percussion contributed by an individual drummer. The album received mixed reviews, ranging from praise to discontent. This is why “Re-Industrialized” emerges as an outstanding release, presenting a fresh artwork design, the participation of Mike Heller on live drums, and the inclusion of six extra tracks that are worth enjoying.

Dino Cazares expressed, “We wanted to have the same drummer who played on FEAR FACTORY’s last two releases, ‘Genexus’ and ‘Aggression Continuum,’ along with a new mix by Greg Reely and new guitar passages. Although it’s clear that Mike was not allowed to showcase his own style or personality, as the arrangements and rhythms are identical to the originals. In my opinion, the original sounded great, but the new mix reinforces all the elements. The kick drums sound more complete and have less click, and the guitar sound is much more solid and less hollow.” This is what the talented guitarist affirmed.

Essentially, everything that can be said about the first eleven tracks of the original album remains in this new version, with the exception of the drum machine usage. However, “Re-Industrialized” breathes new life into FEAR FACTORY, as inconsistency has accompanied the band in recent years. Additionally, it includes four additional tracks that deserve a detailed review.

The first track, “The Industrialist,” begins with an apocalyptic introduction, followed by resplendent synthesizer chords and renewed percussion sounds. It’s important to note that the music video is ten years old and doesn’t show the drummer in action, but the other videos in this review are part of the recent edition. Next, we have “Recharger,” where the chords become darker and overwhelming, with invaluable string arrangements and vocal diversity that turn this song into a band anthem. “New Messiah” continues with similar tones and an impressive double bass coordination with choruses in different tones, creating a powerful and effective fusion of Industrial Metal.

Continuing with “God Eater,” the song appropriates an unusual distortion and utilizes synths with syncopated tones and choruses in perfect communion with the mechanized sounds, creating a sense of unease and anxiety. “Depraved Mind Murder” showcases FEAR FACTORY’s patented style, with precise pauses in the momentum of the strings combined with powerful percussion. “Virus of Faith” starts with machine sounds leading to Dino Cazares’ guitar, which grows increasingly louder and thicker, accompanied by technical programming of mechanical sounds. “Difference Engine” features samplers combined with Mike Heller’s new percussion, demonstrating his ability to maintain the rhythm at all times, even in the most incredible drum parts. “Disassemble” is one of my favorites, allowing FEAR FACTORY to showcase the mechanized sound that characterizes them, with synthesizers merging with Burton C. Bell’s vocals in chords that convey the feeling of a machine-made machine. Then comes “Religion Is Flawed Because Man Is Flawed,” an instrumental interlude with an unusual and melodious musical composition that serves as a link to the next song.

“Enhanced Reality” begins with pleasant harmonies that quickly transform into a fusion of intense guitars and clean vocals by Bell. This song allows progressive metal to shine with the characteristic sounds it develops. “Human Augmentation” immerses the listener in a whirlwind of industrial and distorted sounds, with a metallic voice alluding to a distorted futuristic society in rebellion against machines and technology. The next four tracks are remixes that add additional value to this new presentation of the album originally released in 2012.

In “Fade Away” (Recharger Remix by Rhys Fulber and Dino Cazares), industrial sounds combine with intense guitars and distorted vocals, creating a distant and harrowing atmosphere. “Noise In The Machine” (Difference Engine Remix by Blush Response) surprises with crackles, buzzing, and strange sounds, leading people to imagine what it would be like if an industrial processor made remixed music. This experiment can be irritating if one is not accustomed to FEAR FACTORY’s sound experiments and sonic investigations. “Landfill” (originally by PITCHSHIFTER) presents a gloomy and somber ambiance, with disdainful and distorted vocals accompanied by powerful guitars and magnificent cymbal and snare work. “Saturation” (originally by SONIC VIOLENCE) starts with kick drum strikes and dry, powerful riffs, showing fewer industrial influences and more straightforward and spontaneous rhythms combined with vocals, making it interesting and suggestive at the same time. “Passing Complexion” (originally by BIG BLACK) is a determined track that stands out among the bonus tracks, with a tangled and catchy main riff supported by bass and lyrics that refer to a biracial man passing as white and ending up committing hate crimes due to the lack of acceptance from any community. This song addresses a thought-provoking and tragic situation, representative of the intense Noise Punk Rock that characterizes FEAR FACTORY and their social commentary on American culture.

“Re-Industrialized” is part of a resurgence where FEAR FACTORY has released four albums to survive without imploding, and although this subtle variation of the original is not necessary, it at least features the participation of a live drummer, or rather, a studio drummer. “Re-Industrialized” slightly enhances FEAR FACTORY’s sonic authority by adding a precision that didn’t necessarily have to be proven given their track record of quality and commitment in their previous works. The overall feeling remains the same, but there is more relevance and a demonstration of the desire to do a good job, providing a new opportunity for Extreme Industrial Metal as it should be. While this album is enjoyable, it is not replaceable, as it is not an accessory to its predecessor. Each has its own personality, even if they are twins in terms of similarities.

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album-review-fear-factory-re-industrialized-2023FEAR FACTORY is a machine composed of resilient musicians and their instrumental mechanisms, combined in such a way that they can properly transform energy from a source into useful work, in this case, their Extreme Industrial Metal. Let's enjoy this new remix album and eagerly await its arrival in our cities.

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