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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 31 May 2015
Well its a new record label (AFM Records), a different line up and five years after "Transgression" but Fear Factory are back and are soldiering on. "Mechanize" marks the return of Dino Cazeras to The Fear Factory fold and the departure of Raymond Herrera and Christian Olde Wolbers which makes it a bitter/sweet moment in the bands history. The mood of "Mechanize" is a lot darker than "Transgression" and the album seems to be a return to "Demanufacture" stylistics but is more abrasive in its delivery. Burton C Bell's Death Metal vocals are more acidic which makes the clean vocals sound more melodic and smooth. Dino's Guitar parts are as heavy as ever and are more abrasive in places, switching between slow pounding riffs and hyper speed bursts. Byron Straud is still on Bass Guitar and The Legendary Gene Hoglan is on the Drum Throne and they both do a wonderful job of the rhythm section duties. The artwork, band photo and CD booklet are also darker than the previous effort and you get the impression that on this album things are either black or white, there are no grey areas to speak of at all. Even the band photo in the middle of the CD booklet is darker in its mood. The album comes across as colder and starker than previous efforts and breeds a sense of dystopian bitterness. You can't help but think that there are some serious emotional issues going on under the surface that threaten to burst out into daylight at any moment. This is a great album for Fear Factory's fans or Extreme Metal fans to add to their collections and it is definitely worth the effort. You can buy it without any fear of disappointment.
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on 11 February 2010
Fear Factory are back and in extremely good form. Firstly lets get a few things straight here, this is a fear factory record so don't be too shocked to hear the sound that FF made there own in the mid to late 90's, it's what they've done with that sound. Rhys fulber makes his return to the fold on this record and the effect is evident, the swooping haunting effects that pulsed throughout demanufacture have returned and create that certain terminator-like atmosphere that was missing from transgression. the album is an aural assault from the get go, relentless double kick drum and scathing guitar set the scene for the whole album, they seem to be at their heaviest and fastest with the majority of the singing as screaming with the epic vocals spared for the right time and place, as they were on soul of a new machine and demanufacture. the new line up ( a dream conjoining of SYL and FF in my opinion) has met every expectation and the live shows will be something to look forward too. to sum up this brief review all i'll say is that FF do things their way and this album is a perfect fear factory album and i wouldn't have it any other way.
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on 11 June 2010
Having seen FF's output dwindle in quality over the past few years before their demise, I was skeptical about this: however, it's a real return to their best. I'd even go as far as to say their best album since Demanufacture. It's got the fast, pulsing grooves, crunch blast-beats and even the obligatory floaty melodic number - all good!

If you've been an FF fan before, you'll welcome this as a return to form.

If you've never picked up an FF album, this is an excellent place to start.
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on 14 May 2012
When I first listened to this album, I'd recently spent a lot of time listening to 'Demanufacture'. I'd read a lot of online rhetoric about 'Mechanize' being a "return to form" for Fear Factory and therefore expected something pretty much like 'Demanufacture', but perhaps with more modern production. I couldn't have been more wrong. What I heard was instantly more contemporary, and shows the strong influence of Gene Hoglan (Death, SYL etc.) in its drumming. I was a bit disappointed at first, and assumed that the more contemporary sound was a cynical attempt to attract new listeners (on reflection, a perfectly reasonable thing for a band to want to do). I'm also not always convinced by Gene's drumming style - I find it lacks variety and thought it a poor replacement for Herrera's previous work. However, the more I've listened to the album, the more I've come to love it. It wasn't what I was expecting, but in its own right it is a ferocious slab of modern metal - fast, relentless, polished. Arguably, the band that made this album is really half of Fear Factory and half of SYL - and understood in this light, the album makes perfect sense. My one remaining gripe is the lack of thematic focus, as I've come to associate Burton C. Bell with albums written around a unifying concept (see 'Demanufacture' and 'Digimortal'). But this is a minor criticism, and one that looks set to be thoroughly addressed by FF's forthcoming album - 'The Industrialist'. On the basis of this album's quality, I will certainly be picking that up!

A note for beginners - if you've just discovered FF and want to know where to start, go for 'Demanufacture' first. Not because it's a better album necessarily, but because it's probably more representative of FF's previous output.
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on 26 March 2010
They're back! Yes!

And on top form you'll be glad to hear.
Fear Factory have almost become a super group. Backed by the tightest rhythm section in metal (Gene Hoglan & Byron Stroud), Dino & Burton are back with a vengeance and a mighty fist with which to slap down the pretenders, and the gallons of utter garbage that keeps appearing on the CD shelves.

There's bound to be plenty of opinion on which of their albums is better, and whether Mechanize lives up to the awesome shadow of Demanufacture.

I prefer to look at it on it's own and recognise that this is a new era for the Band, and they're looking forward. Different Band, different time, different people. If nothing else, it has injected some fresh blood.

It's NOT Demanufacture. Accept it, open your ears and be pleasantly surprised- It's just as good, and at times better.

Mechanize is a brutal, fast, heavy, tightly-controlled, angry beast of an album. It has some new & interesting ideas, some elements that Dino has come across while running the "Divine Heresy" project, yet all the while retaining the trademark Fear Factory sound and all the familiar elements we all love.

Dino's shredding is faster than ever, Burton's vocals are on top form, Byron Stroud keeps pace with Dino perfectly and Gene Hoglan proves once again why he's one of the top drummers in the metal scene, and the world in general.

Suffice it to say that this album hasn't been off my headphones since I got it and it put a HUGE smile on my face.
The packaging itself is enough to make it worth the money. A printed transparent slip-case, fold out digipak, special digipak booklet, and a CD holder with an eject button! Awesome!

Quick note on each track:

Opening title track "Mechanize" is a no-nonsense punch in the face that sets the scene. Tuned down to Z it appears.
"Industrial Discipline" looks set to become a firm favourite and I highly expect it to be on the live set for many years to come. Sing-along chorus!
"Fear Campaign" - the first video from the album is a blistering, BEAST of a track and you'll be screaming the lyrics from now till the day you can no longer scream in rage - "What do you fear? Fear is your God!!" There's even a solo! Go check out the video on Youtube, it's awesome.
"Powershifter" - Relentless, brutal, fast, good.
"Christploitation" - Rapidly becoming one of my favourites. Old school thrash-esque main riff, blast beats, and the urge to smash stuff. Brilliant!
"Oxidiser" - One of the tracks that sounds like it was missed off Demanufacture.
"Controlled Demolition" - the sound of heavy machinery transposed into musical form. Great chorus. Another one that sounds like classic Fear Factory.
"Designing the Enemy" - A hard one to pin down. One of those sombre, moody ones.
"Metallic Division" - a brief interlude.
"Final Exit" - Absolute class. More melodic than anything else on here, but a great song.
"Crash Test" - a re-imagining of the classic tune from their first album. Now includes Blast Beats, Gene Hoglan style. Better than the original.

Go buy it. Crank it loud. You won't be disappointed!
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on 14 July 2010
You can nail me to any cross when i say that i didnt hate 'transgression', it has what i would consider some memorable tracks, yes its watered down in its anger but it isnt the rotten garbage that should be discarded by any means.
Anyway, alot has changed since then , the band have changed members , most notably, dino is back and we have the little matter of gene hoglan beating the life out of the drum as well, yes , the fear factory line up looks mean and menacing, but what about the sound?
Well, this is one heavy album, fear factory have a knack of making the heart in your chest feel like its ready to bounce out it and that feeling is back and it feels great.
The album has 10 tracks, one weak instrumental , but of the 9 proper tracks i really love them all if im honest, there are some better than others of course, the startling 'christploitation' is one of my faves , it contains a haunting piano led piece that centres around a whirlwind of aggression and melody.
The album has the same blend of melody to metal as they always have and they really show the others watching that you cant be fear factory unless you are fear factory, a winner for sure.
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on 8 February 2010
Times change but the soul of the machine just evolves... new lineup, return to form. Not a timeless classic of the stature of Demanufacture, nor a milestone like Archetype but good throughout with some great & memorable tracks along the way. Enough to put a great big smile on my face. Thanks guys.
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on 1 March 2010
Hell yeah!!! Fear Factory is finally back with a vengance. Absoulutly love this album. It will be deffentally be in my top 5 albums for 2010. Amazing from start to finish. If you loved demanufacture, you will love this! GO GET IT!!!
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on 7 January 2010
Who would of thought it? With the band imploding and splitting up after 'Digimortal', only to reform minus guitarist Dino Cazares and release the excellent 'Archetype' and the under-rated 'Transgression', it seemed unlikely that Dino Cazares appearing again on a Fear Factory record. But due to differences with the more or less original three members; vocalist Burton C. Bell, Guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers and Drummer Raymond Herrera (Bassist Byron Stroud quietly stood by the sidelines), Fear Factory imploded again, only for Burton and Dino to resolve their differences and decide to form Fear Factory again, minus Christian and Raymond. Cue legal wranglings etc. You can search over the internet for more on this, as this is a review of an album, not a history lesson.

In short, 'Mechanize' has to be a) One of the contenders for Metal album of the year and b) An answer to the critics. With Byron Stroud back on bass duties, and legendary drummer Gene Hoglan filling the void (of Strapping Young Lad fame, so he is more than up to the task), many fans and critics alike were kind of expecting a sub standard album. It is definitely, NOT the case!

Opener and title track 'Mechanize' opens up with a brooding Terminator inspired intro thanks to some synths by Producer Rhys Fulber (unofficial 5th member, not seen since 'Obsolete') and then all hell breaks loose. People who said Fear Factory would be nothing without Raymond Herrera will have their cake and eat it within 30 seconds, the double bass assault present and correct, and it seems faster (if thats possible).

'Industrial Campaign' follows next, and while sounding nothing like it, structurally, it is in the same vein as 'Self Bias Resistor' as seen on the magnus opus, 'Demanufacture', with Burton switching from brutal to melodic singing (still the original and best). It is definitely going to please fans. Very heavy, yet brutally melodic as well. Two songs in, all is so far, amazing.

Next up, is 'Fear Campaign' and they certainly do not seem like letting up. Again, a brooding synth style intro, then Burton lets out an almighty scream an its on! Everything goes death metal, with Rhys Fulber doing his synths on the background, although not saturating the song at all. In fact, it enhances it. This feels like a proper Fear Factory song, and the term 'cyber metal' will be used once again for this band. Vocals switch over to melodic, and Dino Cazares does an awesome job of the guitars - he has been missed!

First single 'Powershifter' is next. If you haven't this by now, then why not? Get it bought! Brilliant and heavy, it showcases everything about the new Fear Factory. Gene's drumming is machine-gun like, entwinded with Dino's and Byron's guitars. Burton sounds very angry on this song ('You want war/You got war, More than you/Bargained for'!) his singing is sublime here. He goes from growl, to a gravel vocal and then to his soaring melodic vocals. Superb, utterly superb.

Song 5 - 'Christplotation'. This is a contender for best song on the album. The haunting intro and outro, the sheer heavyness of this song, it is brutal. It doesn't let up for a second. A proper headbanging song, and you can tell everyone is going for it on this song. Has to be heard to be believed.

'Oxidizer' follows (brilliant title) and sounds like it could of been off 'Digimortal' at first, but then it sounds like it could be off 'Obsolete' - its incorporates their previous sound perfectly. Vocals at the end are brilliant.

'Controlled Demolition' is brilliant. It starts of with a riff similar to the end of one of their rare instrumental tracks 'Machine Debaser'. Great use of Burton's vocals and synths. Dino, Byron and Gene all sound in harmony on this one. class.

Song 'Designing the Enemy' starts off very melodic, with Burton using soaring vocals at first. Its over a minute before you get into the vicious part of the song, and it is almost similar in structure (but not sounding at all) like 'Pisschrist' off 'Demanufacture' and because it is near the end of the album, you get a sense that they were trying to get a similar sort of feel with this album. My god it works!

Then we have 90 secs of instrumental called 'Metallic Division'. This sounds very machine like (and thats what they want to achieve) and should be used for the next Terminator movie somewhere.

Then we come to the final song, which needs a lot of recognition. 'Final Exit' is lyrically, based on a book of the same name by Derek Humphry. It is about Euthanasia and Self Deliverance. At over 8 mins long, it is again, similar to 'A Therapy for Pain' off 'Demanufacture' and a brilliant album closer. But this is a proper song, and is beautifully arranged. In all my years of listening to music I have never been so moved by a song, especially one that deals with this sort of subject. It has a very heavy middle bridge to the song that erupts into a beautiful myriad of musical genius. The song ends with about 3 mins of ambience, but I urge you to listen to it, especially as you can hear someone taking what sounds like their last breath at the close of the song.........an incredible bit of musicianship from this band.

What more can I say about this album? Burton sounds vicious, melodic, everything.He has not sounded this good since 'Obsolete', in fact, I would say he sounds the best he ever has in Fear Factory, he sounds refreshed, invigourated. The main resurgence for this band, however, has to come from returning guitarist Dino Cazares. Whereas Fear Factory's last two albums were great, and you could argue that they didn't miss him at all, here it is obvious that he is the soul of this machine. All the trademarks have returned, or should that be improved upon. Bassist Byron Stroud and drummer Gene Hoglan perform their duties brilliantly, and more than answer the question that will former players Christan Olde Wolbers and Raymond Herrera be missed. In short, no.

A special mention should also go out to their record label, Candlelight records. Most labels would have said Fear Factory were has beens, basking in their former glory (in fact, I bet they did). How wrong they are!

So there you have it. A truly exceptional record. I don't think anyone saw this coming, including me. They have truly upped their game and made Fear Factory relevant again in the metal genre. But the big question everyone wants to know is this - is it better than 'Demanufacture'? Personally, YES! But you need to find that out for yourself. A masterpiece.
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on 1 June 2010
Never listened to fear factory before - amazon sent me a recommendation email, and fear factory was in it. I listened to their MP3 samples, and downloaded 2 of their albums

it has an unusual style, but it strikes something within me - it has a large amount of angst within its lyrics, and some very good musical cues; from a 10:8 beat in Mechanise to the ballad-like slow deliberation of Designing the Enemy. It's worth getting the special edition with Crash Test on it as well, purely for some of the guitar pieces in it. Personally, i'd advise staying away from the music videos on youtube but overall - some very good music for anyone who's into thrash metal
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