(Nuclear Blast Records)
I'll be the first to admit that my initial experiences with Industrial Metal pioneers Fear Factory were less than satisfying. Having inadvertently received a copy of Demanufacture (1995) via the now long-defunct BMG Music Service (courtesy of my failure to return the dreaded 'Selection Of The Month' card), I found myself confused and perhaps even mortified by their mechanized aural assault. Despite this, I was able to set my more-than-considerable misgivings aside and, with the release of Remanufacture (1997) and, to a lesser extent, the group's searing commercial breakthrough Obsolete (1998), wholeheartedly embraced them with an unparalleled enthusiasm. As I'm sure you've already guessed, this would eventually lead to the start of what has become a long and obsessive love affair. Now, nearly twenty years later, with the release of Genexus, their third (and first for Nuclear Blast Records) effort following their 2009 reformation, the group has now returned to kick your ass.
On the brilliant Genexus (2015), an expertly assembled ten song collection of Industrial and Thrash-infused Heavy Metal, each track, beginning with the relentlessly pummeling--albeit thought-provoking--“Autonomous Combat System” and the bile-spewing tirade “Anodized”, immediately commands the rapt and undivided attention of even the most jaded and unimaginative of listeners, myself most definitely included. Undoubtedly attempting to capitalize on the tidal wave of momentum initiated with the release of the woefully-underrated Mechanize (2010) and The Industrialist (2012), the group delivers fires on all cylinders early and often, forever silencing those doubtful of their post-Christian Olde Wolbers and Raymond Herrera abilities. The resulting--initially, at least--sonic excursions, while not necessarily groundbreaking and certainly not revolutionary, find the group operating amid a creative renaissance, the results of which serve as an optimal showcase of their craft.
Continuing with the maddeningly infectious “Soul Hacker” and the Deen Castronovo (Bad English, Hole, Journey)-fueled lament “Church Of Execution”, the steadfast--to say the very least--combination of vocalist Burton C. Bell, guitarist Dino Cazares, ex-Ministry, Prong, Static-X bassist Tony Campos (although now a full-fledged member of the group, Cazares performed all bass tracks contained herein) and drummer Mike Heller steamroll ahead like the well-oiled machine they so obviously had become. Driving home each key focal point via a seamless, multi-dimensional barrage of soaring vocals, razor-sharp fretwork and imaginatively punishing rhythms, the group wastes little--if any--time re-establishing themselves as a bona fide creative and commercial force not to be ignored. Oddly reminiscent of multiple eras of their sprawling chronologies (i.e. the previously mentioned Demanufacture) while remaining utterly unique, the group lays the foundations for their sonic future.
Produced, Mixed and Engineered by a 'dream team' tandem of Rhys Fulber (Frontline Assembly, Paradise Lost, Scar The Martyr) and Andy Sneap (Accept, Exodus, Testament), other standouts, including the scalding--yet emotionally-charged--“Regenerate” and the uniquely exhaustive closer “Expiration Date”, offer a much-welcomed reminders of the improbably long-running group's oft-groundbreaking legacies. Fortified throughout by the Limited digipak and Japanese bonus tracks “Mandatory Sacrifice" (Genexus Remix), “Enhanced Reality” and “Maximum Voltage Capacitor” (Dielectric Remix), the group now appears to be on the cusp of revisiting their Gold and Platinum-encrusted past. Easily one of their most accessible, easily-digestible efforts to date, what ultimately separates the mighty Genexus from it's well-heeled predecessors is an unprecedented focus on honing (and, in some cases, entirely re-imagining or even outright re-inventing) their already razor-sharp chops.
But why should you really care? An absolute must-have for any genuine and sincere Fear Factory enthusiast (most notably those with a genuine and sincere fondness for Digimortal and Transgression), the majority--if not all--of the painstakingly crafted wares contained herein are seemingly guaranteed to propel the group to the dizzying heights or international acclaim. Even if you still somehow find yourself less than enthralled with the seemingly endless 'inner group' turmoil and line-up changes (the departures of bassists Byron Stroud and Matt DeVries and drummer Gene Hoglan), one must, at the very least, sincerely admire their ceaseless dedication to honing their proverbial chops. Needless to say, if you've once again found yourself in search of an authentically brutal alternative alternative to the insipid Pop and Hip Hop drivel that is so often force fed en mass, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane salves for what it is that ails you. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.
The Industrialist (2012)
Soul Of A New Machine (1992)
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