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Album Review

Fear finally became a factor for Fear Factory fans in 2001 when the band abruptly broke up over bad blood between guitarist Dino Cazares and vocalist Burton C. Bell. Longtime label Roadrunner dropped them; the future of Fear looked bleak. Luckily, bassist Christian Olde Wolbers was willing to take on the guitar spot, and the remaining Fear mongers hired ex-Strapping Young Lad Byron Stroud for the bass position. The result of this tumult is Archetype (Liquid 8), an angrily coiled album that balances its human-mechanism percussion and blistering guitar work with subtle keyboard backgrounds and Burton's bipolar vocal turns, at once unleashing hell-bound screams and heavily reverbed, near-Goth turns toward singing (think vintage Sisters of Mercy). The echoing melodies of "Bite the Hand That Bleeds" and "Undercurrent" are oddly alluring, but they're really no match for the aorta-exploding pummel of "Slave Labor" and "Drones," or "Cyberwaste"'s absolutely incredible death metal stomp. It's a sound that's been done before — some might even call it dated. But those are the same weaklings that will cower before "Act of God" and its automated guillotine verses. "Default Judgement" too, with its near-atonal bassline sludge, serves as a worthy introduction for Stroud. But throughout Archetype, it's his rhythm section compatriot that impresses. Raymond Herrera opens fire with an array of double bass kicks and stuttering snare rolls, giving industrial-tinged cuts like "Bonescraper" a hardcore bottom end. In other words, he's more human than inhuman. The same goes for the entirety of Archetype, which grapples lyrically with the very human experience of getting jerked around by a record label. "Drones"? "Slave Labor"? "Corporate Cloning"? These are the acerbic reflections of a band run down and left for roadkill. Longtime Fear Factory fans should enjoy this return to a more organic sound from the band. Archetype's final statement might illustrate this best. The Bleach-era Nirvana cover "School" rears up after the elegiac, lengthy synth piece "Ascension" for just over two furious minutes, full of cracked tooth-spitting anger, but also flush with rock & roll power. It even departs from the album's wall of muted guitar, turning out a brief solo and touches of punk-ish feedback. Archetype is a rousing return for Fear Factory. It's well in line with what the band's done before, but with something new to rail against, they're revitalized and newly furious.


Formed: 1989 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Fear Factory were one of the first bands to fuse the loud, crushing intensity of death metal with the cold harshness of industrial electronics and samples, producing a more varied sonic palette with which to express their bleak, pessimistic view of modern, technology-driven society. The group was formed in Los Angeles in 1990 by vocalist Burton C. Bell (formerly of Hate Face), percussionist Raymond Herrera, and guitarist and ex-Douche Lord Dino Cazares. Following their contribution of two tracks...
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Archetype, Fear Factory
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