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Ex-Fear Factory Vocalist Burton C. Bell Says Linkin Park’s “Hybrid Theory” Sounded “Like ‘Demanufacture’ For Kids”


Ex-Fear Factory vocalist Burton C. Bell has made it clear that he has no plans to return to the pioneering industrial outfit, instead having shifted his focus to Ascension Of The Watchers, who released their latest effort “Apochrypha” this past October.

In a revealing conversation newly published online by Metal Hammer, Bell spoke frankly about his time in Fear Factory, his departure from it and more. Among the topics discussed was the band’s initial 1991 album “Concrete“, which they recorded with a pre-fame Ross Robinson, who went on to find meteoric success producing records from Korn, Slipknot, Limp Bizkit and more.

Robinson would go on to sue Fear Factory and win the rights to “Concrete“—a situation which prevented its release until 2002. When asked by Metal Hammer what happened with that, Bell responded:

Dino and Ross had been friends for a while. Ross was starting his own label, and he wanted Fear Factory to be the first band on it. So we recorded 16 songs in a week, we were hauling ass, then all of a sudden Ross handed us these contracts. A friend of Dino’s who later became our manager goes, ‘I wouldn’t sign these.’ So Ross goes, ‘You can’t have the album if you don’t sign the contract.’ Ross sued us, which foreshadowed the entire career of Fear Factory [Laughs].”

On if he harbored any jealousy that Robinson would go onto produce Korn, he replied:

“Maybe envy and a little bit of anger at the way things worked out. I liked working with Ross, he was an eclectic kind of person, but he took the music that he recorded with another band and goes, ‘Listen to this, you guys could sound like this.’ And of course, that band became Korn. I did think, ‘What if we had signed Ross‘ contract?’”

Fear Factory themselves would of course later go on to experiment with elements of the nü-metal genre Robinson helped to pioneer, first featuring elements of it on their gold-certified 1998 album “Obsolete“.

Reflecting on the success of that album’s predecessor, 1995’s “Demanufacture” and the influence it had on nü-metal, he stated:

“‘Demanufacture‘ defined my career. That’s how I see it. People didn’t know what to make of ‘Soul Of A New Machine‘ – was it death metal or industrial or thrash? – plus the singing threw people off. And then we did the remix album, ‘Fear Is The Mindkiller‘, and that threw everybody off even more.

But ‘Demanufacture‘ was the album that made Fear FactoryFear Factory‘. It was our defining moment. It gave us a sound, and it almost created a new genre. I think many people tried to copy it but never succeeded.”

When asked who, he responded:

“Well, you know, Linkin Park did a watered-down version of ‘Demanufacture‘.”

He was then asked what he thought of Linkin Park‘s 12x multi-platinum certified debut album “Hybrid Theory, he replied:

“I wasn’t a fan. I respect what they did, but to me it sounded like ‘Demanufacture‘ for kids.”

The rest of the conversation delves into his time away from the band, admitting to reuniting in the early 00s for money and more. Bell would go on to end his involvement in Fear Factory late last year, following the conclusion of years of legal battles over the band’s trademarks and such. Those suits were launched by former members Raymond Herrera and Christian Olde Wolbers separately against Bell and Dino Cazares.

Ultimately, Cazares emerged with 100% control of the band last year, a situation which Bell was unhappy with. Asked by Metal Hammer what the tipping point was behind his departure, he offered:

“I’d been thinking about it for a long time – four years, since the last record. Recording that new album, I was, trying to record and dealing with lawsuits and bankruptcies… it was all out of control. I personally filed bankruptcy nine years ago. But after that, the last round of lawsuits plus Dino’s bankruptcy made me go bankrupt again. It definitely broke me, financially.”

When quizzed if it was easy to walk away from it all at that point, he stated:

“Working with someone you don’t trust anymore and to be in a business where everyone’s coming after you… it wasn’t worth it. I was, like, ‘Fuck this, you can have it, take it all.’”

Later when asked how he would react if Dino, Raymond or Christian walked into the room right now, he simply replied “I’d just get up and leave.”

There’s a lot more to be found from Bell over at Metal Hammer. Several years before his departure Bell and Cazares had recorded a new Fear Factory album together that was shelved by the then ongoing lawsuits. Cazares himself intends to release that album this year with a first single due out next Friday, April 16th.

Unless Cazares‘ plans have changed since originally announcing that record, the effort will feature the vocal tracks Bell originally tracked for the album. Cazares has since indicated that he will be continuing on the band with an as-yet unannounced replacement vocalist going forward

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