JJ’s Bizarre Blog #24 – The Machine is Now Alive


How do you do, everybody! Here we’re in March, a soldier’s least favorite month. Spring is within the air, the flowers are blooming and the birds are coming again to nest. Among all of this, it’s time for the Bizarre One’s subsequent dose of data to bloom as nicely. For this entry, I figured that in any case these blogs, I’ve proven my love for industrial music many instances over. I first confirmed a sliver of all of it the way in which again in weblog 3 about cyberpunk music and since then I’ve lined a few of my favorite artists – Static-X, Mechina and The Algorithm. Well, occurring this roll, I really feel like finishing the set. This has been a very long time coming. To do that, we should return to floor zero, to the very origins of all of this. A band so monumental that you would say they helped form your complete panorama of steel on the flip of the millennium. Unquestionably probably the most influential artists of all time. They aren’t the primary ever industrial steel band, however they’re those to excellent the sound and outline what it means. They are the Judas Priest and Iron Maiden to Ministry, Skinny Puppy and Nine Inch Nails’ Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. So include me as we discover the deepest landscapes of mechanized technocracy. Welcome to steel’s industrial revolution. Prepare to enter – the Fear Factory!


To put an extended story very very quick, the band that got here to be often called Fear Factory glided by many names till they settled on the one we all know and love at present, taking inspiration from a spooky and closely guarded manufacturing facility close to their preliminary recording studio. It’s additionally becoming the way it combines “Fear”, an innately human emotion rooted in our personal mortality, with “Factory”, an enormous industrial creation that exists to automate every part, essentially the most mechanical and synthetic factor, the farthest from humanity you may get. The roots of the band began with two Mexican immigrants, guitarist extraordinaire Dino Cazares and otherworldly drum machine Raymond Herrera. The two of them had already performed collectively in grindcore icons Brujeria and, now within the US, had been trying to begin one thing new and one thing totally different. Through some strokes of luck, they met the progressive and charismatic Burton C. Bell, who can be chosen because the band’s frontman. Bell’s love of science fiction and specifically the movie Blade Runner would inform the core of the band’s lyrics, whereas Cazares’ love for technological innovation inside his guitar taking part in allowed him to craft their distinctive sound. With this, a brand new machination started to take type.


This new being can be born in 1992 with their debut studio album Soul of a New Machine. This file was not like something anybody had ever heard earlier than. What was born was a really riff-driven sound (given Cazares was a rhythm and never lead targeted guitarist). The brutal guitars would sync with Herrera’s inhuman drumming to play advanced polyrhythms, layered with loads of keyboards and digital parts and gratuitous film samples. The songs had been quick and chaotic, undoubtedly displaying some DNA from Brujeria. Burton C. Bell would mix brutal demise growls with passages of unpolluted singing, creating a really dynamic sound. While mixing growls with singing is a mainstay of contemporary steel, this was unparalleled within the early 90s. However, regardless of all their innovation, this was nonetheless FF of their infancy, the brand new machine nonetheless in gestation. Fundamentally, this seems like a 90s demise steel album (as a result of it’s), however with progressive musicianship and inclusions of unpolluted vocals and synthesizers. 

Nonetheless, this distinctive sound, mixed with conceptual lyrics about future expertise and humanity would give this file its iconic standing. Metal legend and shut pal of the band Max Cavalera can be credited as saying: “I have heard the metal of the future and its name is Fear Factory”



Earthshattering already, little did the world know that FF’s largest second was but to return. In the interrim years, that they had recruited Belgian immigrant Christian Olde Wolbers as their bass participant and with this, the lineup was full. Dino, Heavy Duty Scarifier. Burton, Dry Lung Vocal Martyr. Raymond, Maximum Effective Pulse Generator. Christian, Total Harmonic Distortion. The machine’s coronary heart was beating and it advanced into its final type because the band launched their 1995 magnum opus – Demanufacture! What could be mentioned about this album. It’s simply one of many best information of all time. The band had really perfected their sound – Cazares had developed his iconic guitar tone and along with Wolbers and Herrera, they shaped essentially the most insane rhythm part in all of steel. Their riffs twisted and turned in sudden methods however one way or the other remained unbelievably catchy all all through. Herrera’s drumming was so insane that a lot of his friends on the time accused him of simply making all of it on a pc – individuals simply couldn’t imagine a human may play these items. All of the instrumentation was supported by the superior synth traces, soundscapes and samples courtesy of legendary producer Rhys Fulber, would would change into a mainstay of the band’s discography. Bell’s vocals had been unbelievable, with highly effective screams and growls contrasted by improbable melodic part, showcasing his huge vary. The lyrics introduced the story of a technocratic future the place excessive expertise conquers human life. Oozing with superior Blade Runner aesthetics, no work of media can create a dense cyberpunk environment fairly like Fear Factory and no album exemplifies this higher than this one. The echoes of its affect may very well be felt for many years to return.



With such a monumental file on their fingers, the place do FF go from right here? Well, if you happen to can imagine it, they probably managed to outdo themselves! How do you observe up one of many best steel albums of all time? By making ANOTHER of the best steel albums of all time! This can be none apart from 1998’s Obsolete. It’s a real idea album with an overarching story with inspiration from traditional dystopian literature, instructed each via the music and extra narration and dialogue included within the album liner notes, making it probably the most immersive albums ever made. The story follows a person often called Edgecrusher, one of many few remaining people, as he leads his rebel towards the mechanical overlords, who search to take over the world in full, as humanity has, of their view, change into “obsolete”. Accompanies by probably the most profound and legendary album covers ever, this album kicks the songwriting as much as 11, with unbelievable complexity and variety of sound with enthralling hooks and melodies all all through. I’ve spoken about this album at nauseam a number of instances now and I nonetheless can’t seize every part it has to supply. Narratively and musically, this album is a masterpiece. You simply gotta expertise it for your self. While Demanufacture is essentially the most iconic and influential, some would argue that Obsolete is the higher album. I truthfully don’t know the place I stand on that argument.



After two straight masterpieces in a row, how do you proceed? Well, evidently, expectations had been actually excessive so the band determined to go for one thing utterly totally different. For you see, by now the 12 months is 2001 and there may be this new world phenomenon known as nu steel that’s taking the music world by storm. Divisive and controversial, some individuals beloved this motion, others not a lot. So influenced by this and by their fellow bands on MTV, FF determined to pivot in direction of this and experiment with a nu steel sound. After all, they helped encourage a whole lot of these guys and the type wasn’t too far off from what they had been already doing. Enter Digimortal, a unique and distinctive FF album. Still retaining a whole lot of their signature type however with less complicated, punchier riffs and parts of hip-hop thrown in there too. Even B-Real from legendary Cypress Hill makes an look. While Digimortal is a far cry from the standard and prowess of earlier information, I’m a nu steel boy via and thru, so I can’t assist however like it.



From right here sadly, Fear Factory’s lengthy historical past with turmoil start. After this, some turbulent years would observe, the place the band even ceased to exist for some time. Thankfully, they got here again collectively, however iconic guitarist Dino Cazares had determined to depart and bassist Wolbers would take over his duties. With this lineup, the band dropped Archetype in 2004. A particular return to type, this file is simply banger after banger. While the guitar type is noticeably totally different, the signature riffage and catchiness of the band was again and Burton introduced forth a few of the greatest vocal performances he’s ever had. Some individuals overlook this album, nevertheless it’s an absolute gem from starting to finish.



With the identical lineup, Transgression would launch only a 12 months later. An sadly becoming title. This album, whereas not unhealthy, wasn’t as nicely crafted as its predecessor and did not make a robust impression. It was evident that the band had been having a little bit of an id disaster and the machine was working in place. It wanted new power and it wanted to evolve. 



It can be 5 lengthy years of soul trying to find the band, however after a whole lot of troubles, a brand new hope shone on the horizon. Burton had been left all by himself by Herrera and Wolbers, however he managed to reconcile with Cazares and the facility duo had been again collectively. After efficiently recruiting the Atomic Clock himself, Gene Hoglan, they’d lastly drop their latest opus – 2010’s Mechanize! This file confirmed that the machine stronger than ever. It’s simply the heaviest album the band had made in a very long time, perhaps ever. The riffage was phenomenal, with a really distinct tone, complimented completely by Hoglan’s bone-crushing drum work. Catchy and chaotic, brutal and delightful, Fear Factory had been again in full pressure and appeared unstoppable!



They would proceed in pressure with their subsequent album, a return to their traditional idea album format, The  Industrialist in 2012. A mighty story about an automaton designed as the top of business and scientific innovation, gaining sentience and rebelling towards its creators and unique objective, in each sound and theme, that is essentially the most atmospheric album so far. While the choice to make use of programmed drums as an alternative of actual ones was doubtful and it result in Hoglan departing, the top end result speaks for itself. Catchy, heavy, symphonic, diverse and highly effective. I’ve a tender spot for this file. Also it may be argued that Mechina, who I already lined, derived just about their complete sound from this album, because the similarities are placing and it predates their most symphonic and grandiose works. 



From energy to energy, the machine charged ahead and stored the momentum going with 2015’s may Genexus. A continuation of the concepts from The Industrialist, this album, additionally conceptual in nature and deeply philosophical at that, takes the set up new age sound and polishes it to perfection. With a few of the best riffs ever heard by man, amazingly memorable choruses and superior synth traces, this album was every part the band had been nice at in its purest type. They even bought an actual drummer this time, Mike Heller, who would change into a recurring face from right here on. Good factor we bought such a hat trick of superior albums within the 2010s, as a result of no person may have predicted what was about to occur subsequent.



It appears the lengthy standing points throughout the band had caught up with them once more. They had virtually ready all the fabric they wanted to launch their subsequent album again in 2017, tentatively titled Monolith. However, a whole lot of messy stuff went down and this in the end result in an enormous authorized dispute between Bell, Cazares and Wolbers. It was absolute bedlam and I don’t wish to get into element, however these troubles left the band separated and their music in limbo. In the top, Cazares managed to win again the rights to the band identify and music and the lawsuits got here to an in depth, however the massive lack of that is that Burton C. Bell, the voice of the machine, the Dry Lung Vocal Martyr, the one man to seem on all albums, would depart from the band. A tragic day for positive, however Cazares confirmed dedication to maintain going. And oh boy did he ever! 




For in 2021, after so a few years, we lastly bought a brand new file, the newly titled Aggression Continuum. Oh my Lord, you guys had been sitting on THIS all this time??? I can solely be grateful that this file lastly got here out, for it was simply among the finest the band had achieved, perhaps ever. Mike Heller was now the complete time drummer and Tony Campos from my buddies at Static-X joined on bass. Best of all, Burton had truly already recorded all of the vocals again in 2017 they usually had been stored, so that is like his grand sendoff! Some of the best riffs, a few of the greatest melodies, a few of the coolest lyrics, a few of the catchiest choruses and a few of the most epic synth traces. This album blew all expectations out of the water and is already a licensed traditional.



And thus, the band remains to be kicking at present. They discovered a brand new vocalist, the younger Italian prodigy Milo Silvestro, who appears to be doing rather well for himself. With his contemporary blood within the system, FF are a touring powerhouse to at the present time. They even launched a brand new remix album known as Recoded, maintaining a practice they began all the way in which again when Soul of a New Machine was model new and culminated within the iconic Remanfucature, making them one of many first steel bands to embrace digital music and collaborate with artists from that sphere.



Beyond that, Dino Cazares additionally has one other band of his known as Divine Heresy who carry an analogous but distinct sound. Definitely value a shoutout. He has additionally been jamming with very long time pal Max Cavalera in his band Soulfly lately. After leaving FF, Burton C. Bell selected to focus full time on his personal solo challenge, the digital gothic rock band Ascension of the Watchers.



With this, our transmission approaches its conclusion. It felt actually good for me to get this out and I’m very glad so as to add this to my assortment of business band blogs. In reality, such a group may by no means be full with out Fear Factory. I keep in mind how I found these guys all the way in which again within the early 2000s, however again then my mind was incapable of comprehending most of their materials. Only their nu steel stuff off of Digimortal was up my alley then. Fast ahead virtually twenty years of progress, exploration and maturation on my half and I used to be lastly in a position to recognize them correctly. To no shock, they’ve change into one in every of my favorite bands, incessantly gracing my Wrapped, even coming at No. 1 twice in a row! Even placing all my private biases apart, FF are probably the most influential bands of all time. Their musical type knowledgeable the riffs, drum beats and rhythms frequent in most trendy steel, they popularized using keyboards and samples and Burton C. Bell’s means to each scare your pants off and sing you to sleep has impressed numerous vocalists to combine heavy and melodic. I hope I impressed you to discover them and I come to understand them as nicely. My playlist awaits your deep dive. See you all once more quickly!



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