Having gotten their considerable amount of bloodlust out of their system with 2010′s crushing “Mechanize“; the continually retooled Fear Factory have once again set their sights on conceptual affairs with “The Industrialist“.
To that end the band have constructed a predictably dystopian tale of an automaton that becomes self-aware. In its course of taking on human traits and self-discovery it comes to turn on humankind. But aside from a few interludes and some key lyrical passages, the story itself isn’t entirely that crucial.
For “The Industrialist” is an album defined more by its actions than its intentions. Stacked with the ever staccato hammering riffs, relentless double kick work and brushed steel industrial slickness; this outing is a sleekly balanced experience.
There are countless times where Burton C. Bell‘s detached, operatic vocal passages send the material skyward. Yet there are just as many moments of rigorous, gritty sonic devastation. It’s an inspired give and take, but one that eventually can become a touch predictable.
The songs “Difference Engine” and “God Eater” (which coyly flirts with dubstep styled bombast) boast the most initial promise of the band breaking new ground—particularly with their haunting openings. Yet they quickly fall victim to the severity of the Fear Factory playbook; relegating perhaps their most interesting components to quickly suppressed cameos.
The trademark digital manipulation has been modernized, though it retains an air of welcome subtly. Its continued presence adds depth to the bands onslaught and the stark personality shifts of the material. The problem with “The Industrialist” however isn’t so much any one component or the songs themselves. It is the overall lack of vision for new frontiers that weighs it down.
It’s everything you’d expect from a Fear Factory record, be it digitized symphonic oppression, the raw nerve rigidity or the assurgent choruses. It’s all here and as grandiose as it should be. However, it’s low risk with songwriting far too calculated to truly impress past the bands already considerable standards. “The Industrialist” surely adds some explosive new ammunition to the bands cache; but falls short of placing any new weaponry in their arsenal.
Click the stars to rate this album.