After splitting in 2002 and and a legal dispute between current and former members in 2009 it was no wonder that the continuation of the band under the control of Burton C. Bell (the band’s only constant member) and Dino Cazares (back on guitar duties) would be written off by the larger metal community who couldn’t see past their laptop screens. Then came the day the pair above had been seen at a coffee shop, we can only speculate they were discussing a comeback of huge proportions. Then came the future of the pioneers of industrial metal; “Mechanize” saw the band come back stronger than ever, with a string of shows as well as the unfortunate legal disputes mentioned above. “The Industrialist” is a solid enough album for the titans of the genre, continuing their typical Fear Factory sound and repressing any thoughts the band would slip into oblivion.
Move into 2015 and the future of Fear Factory is still being written. For those left waiting for a song-writing shift that would see the band move away from their uniquely identifiable soundscape might need to steer clear from this record. “Genexus” may as well stand as a metaphor for the band’s movement and growth as an organism. The band states:
“The word genexus is a hybrid of two words; genesis and nexus, This word describes the next transition in human evolution as man moves forward to a ‘mechanical’ state of being. Ray Kurzweil predicts that the singularity will occur around 2045. Genexus is the term for that next evolutionary process. Where humans are machines, machines are human, and the differences are oblivious to the naked eye.
“This album is a record of thought patterns, psychology and struggles of the Genexus generation. The cognitive machine has arrived, and it wants autonomy from the industry that created it. This machine struggles, like every other human has throughout the course of history. This is the story of every one of us.”
It’s an outlook that doesn’t escape this reviewer. Each track has its place within the album and brings this ‘evolution’ story together. The album’s ten tracks (has anyone else noted each of the last three albums has ten tracks in their standard editions?) finish in an abrupt forty-eight minutes, falling short of an “expected” run time from a band with this calibre. While the bonus tracks do flesh out the quality of the album, those with the standard editions could definitely do with more. As it stands “Genexus” continues in the same vein as the albums before it, reassuring fans that this line up and reformation of the group are things not easily swayed. It’s clear that Fear Factory sound like Fear Factory and the band is here to stay.
First impressions of the album leave the listener with exactly what they want; ballsy, synthetic, mechanical and precise rhythms meet typical sounding vocal phrasings. It’s not ground-breaking by any means, it was never meant to be. Rather the album placates itself and then the fans with Fear Factory’s signature sound, without reinventing it. “Genexus” also Malignancy drummer, Mike Heller who rounds the album with precise drumming. A great addition to this team of industrialists, helping bring this culmination of sounds together for these veterans of the genre.
So what about some of the tracks? I’ve already said there’s nothing really “new” here. ‘Autonomous Combat System’ opens the album in monolithic fashion before slamming listeners with Fear Factory’s trademark sound as the rest of the tracks follow suit. Dino has always had a tight control of the band’s rhythm section, supplementing the half-time feel with his stereotypical machine gun riffing. Bell hasn’t really developed his vocal too far from the 1992 debut but “Genexus” warms to this practiced sound, being the only aspect of the album that doesn’t sound overly mechanized.
Overall it’s hard to compare this album for what it is. It’s solid sure enough, but how does it rate against the band’s back catalog? How does it compare to the endless new releases hitting the internet daily? Does it stand above the modern acts in the same genre? “Genexus” stands above most of the monotonous and mundane albums to be released post 2010. Fear Factory have released an album that is shadowed by the band’s hey day (that’s not to say that this isn’t worth the listen, quite the opposite) and more importantly Fear Factory can say their 2015 effort betters many from this year. “Genexus” maintains the band’s strict standards, with their trademark technical precision. ‘Expiration Date’ is a great example of this veteran acts resilience in the face of the mundane. Whilst closing the album, the song itself is the longest on the record (over eight minutes), a trial in industrial excellence, filling the album with vocal samplings both eerie and effective. The static builds intensity, coupled with Bell’s steady vocalizations. Fear Factory are making a statement, providing a strong message for 2015.
1. Autonomous Combat System
4. Soul Hacker
7. Church Of Execution
9. Battle For Utopia
10. Expiration Date
LIMITED DIGIPAK BONUS TRACKS:
11. Mandatory Sacrifice (Genexus Remix)
12. Enhanced Reality