Fear Factory Overview
Fear Factory is an American metal band. Formed in 1989, they have released seven full-length albums and a number of singles and remixes. Over the course of their career they have evolved from a succession of styles, as well as steadily pioneered a combination of the styles death metal, groove metal, thrash metal and industrial metal. The resultant sound proved to be enormously influential on the metal heavy metal music scene from the mid-90s and onwards.
Fear Factory disbanded in March 2002 following some internal disputes, but they reformed later that year minus founding member Dino Cazares adding bassist, Byron Stroud, and casting then-bassist Christian Olde Wolbers as guitarist.
In April 2009, a new lineup was announced with founding guitarist Cazares returning, and Gene Hoglan being added as drummer. Bell and Stroud are both reprising their respective roles, and the band has completed a studio album, Mechanize.
Former members Christian Olde Wolbers and Raymond Herrera (both currently playing in Arkaea) dispute the legitimacy of the new lineup, and a legal battle is underway from both parties.
The band has performed at three Ozzfests as well as the inaugural Gigantour and has had singles in the US Mainstream Rock Top 40 and albums in the Billboard Top 40, 100 and 200. Prior to 2001 they have toured around 2000 shows. They have sold over 1 million albums Fear Factory discography in the U.S. alone.
The early years
Fear Factory's roots lie in an outfit formed by guitarist Dino Cazares (formerly of The Douche Lords) and drummer Raymond Herrera in Los Angeles, California in 1989. Their first line-up was completed with the addition of vocalist Burton C. Bell (ex-Hate Face Cazares played bass on the first 3 Fear Factory albums Concrete, Soul of a New Machine and Demanufacture.
They started out under the name 'Ulceration', apparently picked for no real reason other than that Burton C. Bell and/or other members thought it would "just be a cool name" for the band, and for the first time, featured Christian Olde Wolbers recording with the band in his full capacity as a band member. It also featured Dino Cazares using 7-string guitars for the first time tuned to A tuning (A,D,G,C,F,A,D,), paving the way for a lower-tuned sound than before. The album is also notable for Rhys Fulber’s increased involvement with the band.
While Fear Factory had explored the theme of “Man versus Machine” in their earlier work, Obsolete was their first actual concept album that dealt specifically with a literal interpretation of this subject, telling a story called Conception 5 written by Bell that takes place in a future world where mankind is rendered "obsolete" by the Machines, and features characters such as the “Edgecrusher”, “Smasher/Devourer” and the “Securitron” monitoring system. The story is presented in the lyrics booklet in a screenplay format in between the individual songs, with the printed story parts linking the lyrics of the songs together thematically.
Bell explained the concept in an interview as follows :
Coincidentally released in the alternative metal boom of the late 90s, Obsolete, supported by tours with Slayer and later, Rammstein, along with a headlining spot on the second stage at Ozzfest in 1999 (as last-minute replacements for Judas Priest), went on to become the band’s highest selling album, marking the band’s first entry into the Top 100 on the Billboard charts. The album also spawned singles in "Descent" and in the digipak bonus track, "Cars Cars (song) ", a cover of the famous Gary Numan song (featuring a guest appearance by Numan himself, on the song, as well as in its music video), that made the Mainstream Rock Top 40 in 1999 and was also featured in the video game, Test Drive 6. Incidentally, Numan also performs a spoken word sample on the album’s title track. A video was also filmed for the song, "Resurrection". To date, Obsolete remains the only Fear Factory album to have achieved gold sales in the US.
Digimortal and demise
In early 2001, Fear Factory was asked to headline SnoCore Rock SnoCore Tour . The success of Obsolete and "Cars" was to be a turning point for the band, with Roadrunner Records now keen on capitalizing on the band’s sales potential and pressuring the band to record more accessible material for their follow-up album, titled Digimortal, which was released in 2001.
While Digimortal remained consistent with the band’s lyrical evolution, with Bell now singing about Man and Machine having become merged and unable to be separated without immense harm being caused, musically, the shift to simpler, more radio friendly song structures lost the band some of its more extreme metal fans and the album is considered by some to be inferior to their earlier releases. Fan opinion, however, remains strongly divided between those who view the album as a colossal failure, those who associate it with the nü metal movement and others who contend that the sound is still the same Fear Factory at its core and praise the merits afforded by the Rhys Fulber production.
Digimortal made the Top 40 on the Billboard album charts, the Top 20 in Canada and the Top 10 of the Australian album charts. "Linchpin" off the album again reached the Mainstream Rock Top 40.
A remix of the song "Invisible Wounds" was included on the Resident Evil Resident Evil (film) film soundtrack, and an instrumental digipak bonus track called "Full Metal Contact" was originally written for the video game, Demolition Racer.
A VHS/DVD release called Digital Connectivity was released soon after, in January 2002, which documents each of the four album periods of the band via interviews, live clips, music videos and tour/studio footage. The video is not generally seen as exceptionally well put together.
Although Digimortal had a successful start, the sales did not reach anywhere near the levels of Obsolete and the band received little tour support. The direction of the album coupled with strong personal differences between some of the band members created a rift that escalated with time, to the point where Bell announced his exit in March 2002. The band disbanded immediately thereafter. The band’s contractual obligations remained unfulfilled however, and Roadrunner did not release them without controversially issuing the Concrete album (originally from 1991) in 2002 and the b-sides and rarities compilation, Hatefiles in 2003.
During his time away from Fear Factory, Bell started his side project along with John Bechdel, called Ascension of the Watchers, who released their first EP, Iconoclast, independently via their online store in 2005.
Over time, it emerged that the rift between the members was largely between the guitarist Dino Cazares and the other members, particularly Bell.
Cazares was the first to speak out after the break-up, proceeding to make claims and allegations against Bell and the other members in May 2002 in a Blabbermouth.net interview. Almost all of these allegations were subsequently addressed and refuted by Herrera in a counter interview, speaking on behalf of all the other members.
Olde Wolbers and Herrera got back together later in 2002 and laid the foundations for what was to become the return of Fear Factory. With Cazares now permanently out of the line up, Bell was approached with their demo recordings and was impressed enough to rejoin the band and Fear Factory was formed once again. Christian switched to guitar and Byron Stroud of Strapping Young Lad was approached to join the band as their new bassist, and has been their bass player since 2003.
Dino Cazares has continued recording and performing with his side project called Asesino, a Mexican deathgrind band featuring Tony Campos of Static-X on vocals. In 2007, he also started a new group called Divine Heresy, featuring Tim Yeung, formerly of Hate Eternal and Vital Remains, on drums
Fear Factory made their live return as the mystery band at the Australian Big Day Out festival in January 2004, followed by their first American shows since reforming, on the spring Jägermeister tour along with Slipknot Slipknot (band) and Chimaira. The new lineup's first album Archetype was released on April 20, 2004 through new record label Liquid 8 Records based in Minnesota.
Archetype saw Fear Factory returning to an alternative and partially industrial metal sound and is generally considered to be a strong and 'back-to-form' record, if not a particularly innovative effort, with most of the trademark elements of the band firmly in place.
Videos were shot for the songs "Cyberwaste", "Archetype" and "Bite the Hand that Bleeds", with the latter featuring on the Saw Saw (2003 film) film soundtrack. Further tours with Lamb of God Lamb of God (band) and Mastodon Mastodon (band) in the US and with Mnemic in Europe put the band back on the worldwide metal map. The new Fear Factory has largely abandoned the direct "Man versus Machine" theme prevalent on earlier releases in favor of subjects such as religion, war and corporatism.
To the surprise of many fans, Fear Factory soon revealed plans to subsequently record and release their next full-length album over a very short period of time with mainstream rock producer Toby Wright (normally known to work with bands such as Korn and Alice in Chains). This was allegedly due to pressure from their new label, Calvin Records, who pulled back the album’s due date from four months away to just a month and a half, in order that the band would have a completed new album to support on the inaugural Gigantour, which they had been invited to participate on by Dave Mustaine.
The resultant album, Transgression, was released barely a year after Archetype on August 22, 2005 in the United Kingdom, and on the following day in North America to highly polarized reviews, with some critics hailing the album as a diverse and progressive effort and other reviewers not receiving the record very well. Although the album starts off as a Fear Factory record, subsequent songs include mellow/alt-rock numbers in "Echo of My Scream" (featuring Faith No More’s Billy Gould on bass) and "New Promise", a pop-rock song in "Supernova" and a faithful cover of U2’s poppy, "I Will Follow".
Christian Olde Wolbers has expressed disappointment with the finished product, calling it only half-finished, and has blamed the label for the severe time constraints imposed during the recording sessions and for the inclusion of the U2 cover,
Over 2005–2006, Fear Factory went on to promote the album on their successful "Fifteen Years of Fear" world tour in celebration of their fifteenth anniversary, inviting bands such as Darkane, Strapping Young Lad and Soilwork to join them on the US jaunt and Misery Index Misery Index (band) to join them on the European jaunt. Late 2005 saw Fear Factory tour the US once again on the "Machines at War" tour, with an all star death metal line-up of special guests in Suffocation Suffocation (band) , Hypocrisy Hypocrisy (band) and Decapitated Decapitated (band) , playing certain old classics from Soul of a New Machine such as "Crash Test" which they had not performed live in many years.
Hiatus and other projects
An online statement from Wolbers in December 2006 indicated that the band was to head back into the studio to record a new album, produced by the band, immediately after the completion of the Transgression touring cycle. That same month, Burton C. Bell confirmed in an interview that the band would part ways with Liquid 8 Records. Yet rather than begin work on a new studio album, the band members briefly went their separate ways, and began working with other projects.
Bell contributed vocals to the songs "End Of Days, Pt.1", "End of Days, Pt. 2", and "Die In A Crash" on Ministry Ministry (band) 's 2007 album The Last Sucker, heroes."'s like a business and I'm just reorganizing...We won't talk about [their exclusion]".
In June 2009, Christian Olde Wolbers and Raymond Herrera finally spoke about the issue on the radio program "Speed Freaks". Instead of offering reasons for leaving the group, Herrera revealed that technically, he and Wolbers never left. "[Christian and I] are actually still in Fear Factory...[Burton and Dino] decided to start a new band, and furthermore, they decided to call it Fear Factory. They never communicated with us about it", said Herrera.
Herrera also stated that he and Wolbers had written eight songs for the next Fear Factory record, but that a "personal disagreement" had come up between them and Bell, which left Bell not wanting to continue work with the band. , Chile and Brazil.
Despite ongoing issues between the two parties, the new Fear Factory is moving ahead with the recording process. In late July 2009, a short video shot with a cell phone showed Dino recording over drum tracks with long time contributor Rhys Fulber. According to recent interviews with Bell and Cazares, the band is about half way through the recording process and is pushing for an early 2010 release, and at least one show in South America has been announced. On November 6, 2009, blabbermouth.net revealed that Mechanize will be released on February 9, 2010, on Candlelight Records.
As of January 2010, Fear Factory began an Australian and New Zealand tour on the Big Day Out tour playing their first Australian show since 2005 on Jan 17 at Parklands Showgrounds on Queensland's Gold Coast.
In February 2010, Fear Factory announced tour dates for their US tour, dubbed "Fear Campaign Tour 2010", starting in late March.Fear Factory’s innovative approach towards, and hybridization of the genres of industrial metal, death metal and alternative metal has had a lasting impact on metal music ever since the release of their first album in 1992. Fear Factory is noteworthy among contemporaries for their lyrical focus on science fiction, with much of their music telling a single story spanning several concept albums.
The band has often been called a "stepping stone";Current
* Burton C. Bell – lead vocals (1989–present)
* Dino Cazares – guitar electric guitar (1989–2002, 2009–present)
* Gene Hoglan – drums (2009–present)
* Byron Stroud – bass (2003–present)
* Raymond Herrera – drums, percussion (1989–2008)
* Christian Olde Wolbers – bass (1993–2002), guitar (2002–2008)
* Dave Gibney – bass, vocals (spoken word intro for "Big God/Raped Souls" on Concrete Concrete (album) ) (1989–1991)
* Andy Romero – bass on Concrete (1991–1992)
* Andrew Shives – bass (1992–1993)
* Rhys Fulber – samples Sampling (music) /keyboards keyboard instrument#Electrophones /programming/mixing (1993–2004, 2009–present)
* Reynor Diego – samples Sampling (music) /keyboards keyboard instrument#Electrophones (live and recorded on Demanufacture) (1991–1995)
* Steve Tushar – keyboards, programming, electronics
* John Bechdel – live keyboards (1998–2006)
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