So after all the well-publicized drama in the FEAR FACTORY camp, we finally have the new album by the Burton C. Bell/Dino Cazares/Gene Hoglan/Byron Stroud line-up. The band sounds recharged, reinvigorated and determined to regain the level of critical acclaim and influence that helped propel them to the top of the metal scene in the mid-90’s. It’s safe to say that this is band’s best album since Demanufacture and Obsolete.
The return of guitarist/co-founder Dino Cazares is absolutely crucial as he has brought his best new riffs to Mechanize. Time has been kind to Cazares as his trademark attacking rhythms are more sophisticated now. Drumgod Gene Hoglan lays down an excellent performance and brings more than his fast feet to the recording. It’s nice to hear FEAR FACTORY with plenty of drum fills, blast beats, and other hand work.
For most of Mechanize, the band focus on creating brutal, catchy songs with their famous hammering rhythms. There is plenty of aggression and vitality that is sure to please any headbanger. Album closer, “Final Exit,” is the crown jewel of Mechanize. It works as a great contrast to the rest of the album in not just the fact that it shows the less heavy, more melodic side of the band but it also shows a more humanistic side. With all the mechanical pounding and slamming of the preceding tracks, the tranquility and resolution of “Final Exit” is a great way to end the record.
While Mechanize does not match their landmark Demanufacture, it’s still a fine album that ranks right underneath the latter in the band’s catalogue. Signs of life are abound and the new era of FEAR FACTORY is sure to put the band back at the top of the metal scene. (Candlelight Records)