For Fans Of
When veteran status is achieved certain liberties are afforded. It’s not an excuse for complacency nor is it a reason to take the easy route, but when you’ve pushed a genre forward for many decades a particular level of respect and interest is required. It’s as fundamental as it is inherent.
California’s Fear Factory are a synonymous name. Anyone that has attended one of their performances (or just conveniently had a glance at a live performance video on YouTube) understands the fan base the metal stalwarts cultivate. And well, what would a legacy be without a bit of drama along the career timeline too?
New studio album ‘Genexus’ represents the band’s ninth studio release, and third since Dino Cazares returned to the fold. Moreover, it wouldn’t be a new Fear Factory album without a new member; this time bassist Tony Campos gets the rookie hazing.
‘Genexus’ is revealing from its rather assertive beginnings. Industrial overtones, considered guitar harmonies and machine gun double kick patterns all feature early. The trademark Fear Factory blueprint is maintained. This late in the game, a simple case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ seems not only suitable but required. Groove and thrash all work neatly within the collection of 10 tracks.
Metal fans can be a fickle, demanding and unforgiving bunch, but, at equal times, they can also be greatly predictable. Give them something heavy to bang their heads to and some riffs to embrace and they’ll leave largely satisfied. Opener ‘Autonomous Combat System’ sees Burton C. Bell explore his vocal range, while transitioning track ‘Anodized’ is harsher and more sampled. It appears the band wants these songs to retain themselves. Each track follows a gritty verse – bridge approach before opening up to a pleasant and complementing chorus line. The constant is the kick pedals are always pounding.
Overall, it’s another exploration into all things technology. The return to Nuclear Blast is a welcomed homecoming too – things come full circle. Predecessor ‘The Industrialist’ was a little safe, ‘Genexus’ is powering. ‘Soul Hacker’ is a little hit and miss, but ‘Protomech’ picks the album back up. ‘Renegade‘ starts well, and the remaining songs complete an assortment of tracks that are suitably placed. There’s nothing really new here, but it’s just Fear Factory doing what they do, and doing it professionally.
Those who part with their money should receive value for their exchange. ‘Genexus’ contains little surprises, neither good nor bad, but the best points of this album triumph over the mundane. It’s traditional Fear Factory, and that’s usually enough.
1. Autonomous Combat System
4. Soul Hacker
7. Church Of Execution
9. Battle For Utopia
10. Expiration Date