Candlelight Records – 2010 – USA
Perhaps no other comeback album in the last few years has so stealthily crept onto our playlists as this “Mechanize” by the long-absent Fear Factory. Their sound still swimming in a confluence of grooves, 90s thrash, and the industrial stuff, Fear Factory are reincarnated this 2010 with only 2/4ths of the original lineup—axeman Dino Cazares and the screamsome Burton C. Bell. The remaining vacancies are filled by Strapping Young Lad alumni Byron Stroud and Gene Hoglan who occupy the rhythm section. Surprise, surprise, even with the loads of indifference that has so far met this release, “Mechanize” kicks serious bunghole right from uh, the first song…”Mechanize.”
Starting with the trademark bludgeoning grooves from the portly Dino’s bare bones guitar style, the song “Mechanize” is a ham fisted opener where Burton C. Bell keeps busy screaming “Mechanize!!!” There are verses for sure, usually enunciated a little bit louder than a whisper, but its the screams that stick. The tasty sonic juices continues to boil on “Industrial Discipline” and reaches fever pitch for the epic “Fear Campaign.” Yet nothing matches “Powershifter” for sheer venom and cybernetic charm. This comeback’s primary strength is how the music reconnects the band with a potential fanbase weaned on everything from metalcore to melo-death. To the delight of angst ridden teenagers baggy camo shorts, “Mechanize” has tidbits of extreme metal’s best ingredients, from blasbeats to breakdowns, and it NEVER comes off as ghey.
Perhaps the only problem here is halfway through, the songs start to sound alike. Such is the case with “Christploitation” and the forgettable “Oxidizer” followed by the kick-you-in-the-crotch ferocity of “Controlled Demolition.” Yawn inducing crap, to be honest. Fear not however, for a haunting “Designing The Enemy” soothes our battered eardrums right on cue as the album begins winding down. Consider it the first loaf of a sandwich that has “Metallic Division” for its filling, itself an instrumental prelude that wouldn’t do too bad in a Terminator movie. Come to think of it, this whole album should’ve been the soundtrack for last summer’s Terminator: Salvation. Having digressed, it’s high time this review returned to sandwiches…The sandwich finishing this fearsome package is the three pronged “Designing The Enemy,” “Metallic Division,” and the glorious closer “Final Exit.” The last is a mournful ode brimming with hope and despair; a wonderful end for a wonderful album.