FEAR FACTORY BIOGRAPHY
There can be no doubt Fear Factory were pioneers in the world of heavy metal,also classified as cyber metal,their music being a direct reflection of their obsession with technology. The results remain harsh and chilling, and in the mid-90s their innovative stance influenced many bands that would go onto be branded with the Nu-Metal tag.FEAR FACTORY GENRES
Influenced by the thrash explosion of the 80s Dino Cazares (Guitar), Burton C. Bell (Vocals) and Raymond Herrera (Drums) first got their proto techno-metal to the public via a couple of Bill Gould (Faith No More)-produced tunes for the "L.A. Death Metal Compilation". The material was strong enough to get them signed to Roadrunner and their career as champions of computer-assisted metal got under way in brutal style with Soul Of A New Machine (1992). The early style was coloured with the crushing power of death metal, Herrera's drumming provides a stainless steel framework for Cazares' synapse-frazzling guitars and Bell's deathrattle vocals spitting out tortured sci-fi inflected lyrics which only occasionally ventured into the clean and melodic realms. Crucially, the band were also experimenting with electronic flourishes and samples echoing industrial bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Ministry (who Burton recently did a couple of songs with *see The Last Sucker) and Godflesh; it was cold, clinical and utterly mesmerizing in an all-senses-pummeled kind of way. Cazares handled bass duties in the studio but Andrew Shives was recruited for live work.
Embracing the notion of technology-driven metal, the band handed half a dozen tracks over to Rhys Fulber and Bill Leeb of Frontline Assembly for a spot of sonic re-engineering; the result was the Fear is the Mindkiller EP (1993). It was a pattern that would hold for the next two albums. By the time of Demanufacture (1995) Christian Olde Wolbers had taken over on bass and Fulber was providing keyboards in the studio as well as on stage, augmented by Reynor Diego. Another towering silicon-hearted monolith of circuit-encrusted metal, the album was given a radical reinterpretation on Remanufacture (Cloning Technology) (1997), with some of the remixed songs virtually unrecognizable alongside the originals.
Their place secure as techno-metal pioneers, the way was clear for a spot of side-project work. Most notably, Cazares and Herrera were involved with death metal bandits Brujeria and Bell joined up with Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler in G//Z/R. Tangential creative desires sated, the Factory production line ground back into action again with 1998's Obsolete, a Fulber produced concept album with disticntly Terminator-esque undertones which featured a series of screenplay interludes linking the story together in the lyric booklet. The performance of Edgecrusher on MTV's Spring Break heralded a step into the relative mainstream of metal, and a cover of Gary Numan's "Cars", featuring Numan trading vocally with Burton was a radio hit. In addition, a slot on 1999's Ozzfest and their numerous appearances on the soundtracks of films and computer games made the lead up to the new millenium the bands most succesful period.
Fulber stayed on and produced 2001's Digimortal, their most melodic, though no less abrasive, sounding album. The synthesis of electronic and industrial metal was by now a seamless formula, but the album recieved lukewarm reviews and it was clear that all was not well in the Fear Factory camp. By 2002 they had effectively called it a day, a rift having formed between Cazares and the rest of the band.
With the band indefinitely out of action, Roadrunner began issuing whatever Fear Factory related material existed in its vaults; first up was Concrete, the band's previously unreleased first album, which had been recorded in 1991 at Blackie Lawless's (WASP) studio with the aid of soon-to-be nu-metal producer extraordinaire Ross Robinson who worked there as an engineer. Several of the tracks had been reworked and rerecorded over the years, but some were completely new to the fans. The Hatefiles compilation followed soon after.
Despite the fact the band had claimed they were finished, it gradually became clear that they wished to continue - minus Cazares. Archetype (2004) featured Wolbers taking on guitar and bass for what was essentially a classic-sounding Fear Factory release, while they cast around and found a permanent Bass Player in the form of Byron Stroud. The Factory was officially open for business once more. Their second album after the re-opening was Transgression. Transgression was released on the 22nd August 2005 in the United Kingdom, and on the following day in North America.
Categorization and Sound
Although "industrial metal" is usually applied, the true "metal" genre of the South-Central LA based band has been subject to moderate discussion.
Their first demos were strongly reminiscent of legendary British death metallers Napalm Death, along with Godflesh, who were not only tourmates but influences on the band as well. Ironically, some of Justin Broadrick's vocals are comparable to those of Burton C. Bell after he discontinued the death grunt and when he still used it, his vocals were comparable to Napalm Death's vocalist Mark "Barney" Greenway. His vocal style was considered ground-breaking on Soul of a New Machine because no one before had ever mixed death grunts with melodic singing and this influenced many other metal vocalists, such as Robb Flynn of Machine Head.
Moreover, as other traditional death metal song structures began to fade, they incorporated more of an "aggro-groove" or groove metal style into their sound, not so different to the style of Sepultura's 1996 release Roots - an album many long-time fans spelt as the end of the band's death/thrash metal days. This new direction put both bands on the map as nu-metal influences, even though both bands were never too closely associated with the genre, and their sound was still too extreme for radio standards. More recently on Archetype and Transgression the band have returned to the heavier less compromising style of Demanufacture.
In many ways, there was also a very limited industrial essence that made Fear Factory an industrial metal band. While Ministry were known for making industrial textures just as important as guitar riffs, Fear Factory were more conservatively heavy metal with some trance-like samples edited into cyber-fast production.
Regardless, the band has often been called a "stepping stone" leading mainstream listeners to venture into less-known/more-extreme bands, and one of few heavy metal bands consistently appreciated in the most polarizing and bitter music genre.
* Burton C. Bell - (vocals)
* Christian Olde Wolbers - (guitar)
* Byron Stroud - (bass)
* Raymond Herrera - (drums)
FEAR FACTORY LYRICAL THEMES
Technology, Anti-Religion, Hate, Society
FEAR FACTORY ORIGIN
United States of America (Los Angeles, California), formed in 1990
FEAR FACTORY CURRENT RECORD LABEL
FEAR FACTORY STATUS
FEAR FACTORY CURRENT LINE-UP
Burton C. Bell - Vocals (Ascension of the Watchers, ex-Geezer, ex-Hated... And Proud!)
Christian Olde Wolbers - Guitars ((Bass 1994-2002 "Demanufacture" - "Archetype") (Asphyxia (Bel), Cyclone, Kush, guest in Soulfly, ex-Tour Guitars for Korn (2006))
Byron Stroud - Bass (Strapping Young Lad, Zimmer's Hole, ex-Devin Townsend, ex-Caustic Thought, ex-Unit: 187, ex-Physicist)
Raymond Herrera - Drums (ex-Brujeria, ex-Asesino, Phobia (US) (session), Kush)
FEAR FACTORY PREVIOUS LINE-UP
Dino Cazares (Divine Heresy, Asesino, ex-Brujeria, ex-Excruciating Terror, ex-Hated...And Proud!, guest in Nailbomb, ex. Body Bag, guest in Soulfly)
Andrew Shives (never recorded with the band, despite rumors) (ex-Cool for August, Paperstreet)
Billy Gould (Guest) (Brujeria, Faith No More)
Rhys Fulber (Front Line Assembly, Delerium, Conjure One, Synaesthesia, Will)
John Bechdel (Front Line Assembly, Ascension of the Watchers, ex-Prong, Killing Joke, Ministry)