Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fear Factory

I drank at Club Motor last night (great venue) and woke up with noise hangover today. Too bad it wasn't on behalf of any good bands. Last night was the first time in my life I've had the misfortune of hearing two different cover bands both do covers of Heart's "Barracuda." Lame! Old, tired shit like that doesn't need to be heard anymore, especially live in a club, and old, tired Seattleites in particular really need to let it go. Whatever musical glory days these people are trying to re-live here are OVER, and that goes for grunge too. Jesus Christ, for the last time, get over it. I'm tired of living in the stale shadow of these former bands when there's so much new, fresh, local music that's just as good, if not better.

But moving on...

Today I picked up Fear Factory's latest slab "Mechanize." As I'm writing this I'm halfway through track 5 "Christploitation," and so far so good. Huge fan of "Demanufacture" that I was, I knew every single word of that CD, wore the tape out playing it every day in my truck, saw them twice, and on the second occasion came home hoarse and bruised from their brutal mosh pit at the Mercury Cafe. That show (which I was lucky enough to score a guitar pick from) was directly responsible for the inspiration that brought "The Path of Most Resistance" into being. Prior to the show I was fortunate enough to meet Burton C. Bell (my favorite thrash vocalist) who was hanging out in front of the tour bus talking with people and signing autographs. Cool guy. It felt good to tell him how great I thought they were.

Twelve years later, Fear Factory has delivered another crushing and brutal record worthy of everything on Demanufacture that made me a fan. The quality is excellent. Even on low volume I feel like my speakers are about to explode, and that's a good thing. I don't know if they've broken any new ground, but I didn't really need them to. As previous masters of my favorite style of metal, I'm more than happy to see them continue in the same great vein of classic drilled, double kicked 16th note patterns, crushing power chord riffs, throaty/clean channel vocals, and apocalyptic sci-fi keyboards that characterize their style. I love the fact that they sound just as good as they did back then, but have created something new that is just as relevant and meritorious as any metal out there.

The songs are great and the band rips, period. If you want space jazz, hip hop or Mr. Bungle, this ain't for you. Fans of Gene Hoglan, on the other hand, won't be disappointed. Fans of shredding guitar solos might be, and though I count myself among them, solos in and of themselves aren't critical to the creation or enjoyment of a really good metal record, which this is. I could care less if Dino Cazares ever plays a solo, but there are some here and they're good. I'd like to hear more actually, but having said that, his relentless machine gun-meets-jackhammer rhythmic ripping is enough for me. In contrast, Joe Satriani can play a million amazing impeccable notes at blinding speed and make a unique musical statement -- incredible stuff for sure, some of my all time favorite as far as solos go, but it's still not anything I can bang my head to. "Mechanize," on the other hand, most definitely is.

Lyrically, Fear Factory has always been right up my Orwellian alley. When I opened the accompanying CD book, the first thing I saw was the quote "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism," from Thomas Jefferson. Yet again, Fear Factory delivers the goods, all the way around, and exactly the way I like it. This is the ultimate 21st Century thrash warrior soundtrack. Ten horns up for an ass kicker of the highest order. It's really good to have them back. I can't wait for the tour.


Feared your control and excessive greed
Abuse of your power disgraced me
You want war
You got war
More than you bargained for

I damn you and leave you defiantly
Cut you out and take it all with me
You want war
You got war
More than you bargained for

Always question authority, control my own destiny
Forcing change, breaking free
From the gears of the machine
Changing my world so I can live
Execution powershift

I will forge my place in this time
Contention is sharply refined
I will expose you and force your demise
To take control of what is truly mine

~ FF

Here's one from back in the day...

Fear Factory - Replica