FEAR FACTORY – Mechanize

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)

AMON AMARTH Announces the Twilight of the Thunder God II Tour

In continuing support of the band’s 2008 release Twilight of the Thunder God, AMON AMARTH has announced a spring, 2010 North American headlining tour, which marks the band’s first tour in the states since their April/May 2009 run. The scheduled 15 date trek kicks off on April 8th at the House of Blues in Hollywood, CA. Support on the tour will come from Pasadena, California’s HOLY GRAIL and Switzerland’s ELUVEITIE.

AMON AMARTH comments: “We’re extremely excited to be hitting North American shores again for a final run of the Twilight of the Thunder God tour. We’re also happy to bring two great bands, ELUVEITIE and HOLY GRAIL with us.”

AMON AMARTH Tour w/ HOLY GRAIL and ELUVEITIE:

04/08 West Hollywood, CA House Of Blues
04/09 San Francisco, CA The Regency Ballroom w/ FEAR FACTORY, DIRGE WITHIN, HOLY GRAIL, ELUVEITIE
04/10 Portland, OR Hawthorne Theatre
04/11 Seattle, WA Showbox At The Market
04/12 Vancouver, BC Rickshaw Theatre
04/14 Calgary, AB McEwen Hall University Of Calgary
04/15 Edmonton, AB Edmonton Event Center
04/16 Saskatoon, SK Odeon Event Centre
04/17 Winnipeg, MB Garrick Center
04/18 Saint Paul, MN Station 4
04/19 Chicago, IL Logan Square Auditorium
04/21 Toronto, ON Opera House
04/22 Montreal, QC Metropolis
04/23 Quebec City, QC Imperial Theater
04/25 New York, NY The Fillmore

California Metalfest IV Expanded to Two Days; Headlined by FEAR FACTORY, BLEEDING THROUGH

FEAR FACTORY and BLEEDING THROUGH will headline this year’s California Metalfest IV. The fest has been expanded to two days; the fest will take place May 15 and 16 at The Fox Theatre and The Glass House, both in Pomona, California.

The lineup is currently as follows:

Saturday, May 15:
FEAR FACTORY
JOB FOR A COWBOY
WHITECHAPEL
DYING FETUS
ARSIS
DECREPIT BIRTH
CATTLE DECAPITATION
MISERY INDEX
ANNOTATIONS OF AN AUTOPSY
GAZA

Sunday, May 16:
BLEEDING THROUGH
THE FACELESS
BORN OF OSIRIS
SLEEPING GIANT
EARTH CRISIS
OCEANO
AGATG
THICK AS BLOOD
ENFOLD DARKNESS
UPON A BURNING BODY

More national acts are expected to be announced soon. Tickets will go on sale next week. Visit the official website for all the lastet info: http://www.myspace.com/californiametalfest

FEAR FACTORY Premier “Fear Campaign” Music Video

FEAR FACTORY have premiered the music video for “Fear Campaign” off their forthcoming new album, Mechanize. The video was directed by Ian McFarland and Mike Pecci for Boston-based, Emmy nominated Killswitch Productions. The clip was filmed in Los Angeles with additional photographic elements and all post production completed in Boston.

View the clip below…

Mechanize is the ancitipated new album featuring the return of original guitarist Dino Cazares as well as involvement of keyboardist/producer Rhys Fulber (FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY). Mechanize drops next week, February 9th, through Candlelight Records.

FEAR FACTORY’s Mechanized Confirmed for February 9, 2010 U.S. Release Date

Candlelight Records today confirms February 9, 2010 as the American release date for Mechanize, the seventh studio album from FEAR FACTORY. Mechanize features the highly reported reconciliation of vocalist Burton C. Bell with original guitarist Dino Cazares along with bassist Byron Stroud and drummer Gene Hoglan. The anticipated album also welcomes back keyboardist/producer Rhys Fulber (FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY).

Mechanize is a full-fisted blast of passion and innovation that sounds like the missing link between 1995’s groundbreaking Demanufacture and 1998’s more texturally nuanced Obsolete. Songs like “Industrial Discipline” and “Powershifter” are crushing and colossal, melding fast and precise rhythms with vocals that pinwheel from raw and scathing to hauntingly melodic while “Fear Campaign,” which features harrowing spoken word passages, quickly segues into a showcase of punishing beats, rapid-fire riffs and ghostly keyboards. For the first time in years, the band’s industrial roots glimmer through its street-lethal metal, thanks in part to Fulber, who worked on FEAR FACTORY‘s popular industrial remix albums Fear is the Mindkiller and Remanufacture.

“I didn’t want any of the soundscapes to sound natural,” says Bell. “I wanted them to be really mechanical because I wanted that aspect of FEAR FACTORY to really shine again. I feel it kind of got dulled over and that’s the aspect that I really enjoyed a lot about FEAR FACTORY. I was a huge fan of industrial music and still am. And you don’t hear much of that anymore these days.”

As work began on the album in early April, Bell, who resides in Pennsylvania, admitted he initially expected the years apart would leave him feeling awkward or uncomfortable. However, when Cazares picked him up at the airport his apprehensions melted. “After being with him a couple hours and talking to him everything was cool,” Bell says. Three months later the duo had a fresh batch of new songs written and more importantly a renewed confidence in their union.

“Our creative juices were really flowing the whole time,” says Cazares about the entire creative process. “All of a sudden we’d look at the clock and go, ‘Holy shit, it’s already 2:30 or 3:00 am.’ We just lost track of time because we were all bouncing ideas off each other really productively. We were adding touches right up until the final second to make the record as fresh as it could be.”

“This is definitely a different chapter for us and I think it’s the best thing we’ve ever done,” Cazares adds. “Obviously, Burton and I have grown up and we’ve pretty much perfected what we do. More importantly, we’ve discovered why we so were good together in the first place. Our combination just works. All the ingredients and the elements that we had in the past, combined with what we’ve learned since being apart feels like putting on a new glove that still feels as good as an old glove.”

ARKAEA – Years in the Darkness

Prior to the announcement this year of a second incarnation of FEAR FACTORY featuring Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares, the other half of the classic FEAR FACTORY line-up (guitarist Christian Wolbers and drummer Raymond Herrera) debuted their new band, ARKAEA, via Years in the Darkness. For the most part, ARKAEA is FEAR FACTORY with a metalcore singer. The signature FEAR FACTORY rhythms and riffs are unmistakable. But at the same time, the band does display some more musical diversity than FEAR FACTORY. There is more spacing in the songs, more melodies, and perhaps a wider palette of emotions and dynamics that the band is trying to capture. While vocalist Jon Howard may be the least ferocious voice that Wolbers and Herrera have played metal with, he is also the most melodically diverse. At times, he sounds like LINKIN PARK‘s Chester Bennington. Howard never hesitates to heavily utilize his clean vocals while simultaneously trying to create catchy melodies. More often than not the clean vocal choruses succeed in their goal. Years in the Darkness boasts a ton of content via 14 songs clocking in around four to five minutes each. In a way, this works against the band in that not all of the songs are winners and/or carry the same level of impact. Pockets of complacency set in and taint the quality of the majority of the album. Given the current climate in the world of FEAR FACTORY, it will be more than interesting to see how things develop musically for ARKAEA in the future. At least the one positive that has already developed is the birth of a new band with a quality debut album. (E1 Music)

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FEAR FACTORY’s Raymond Herrera and Christian Olde Wolbers to Unleash New Band ARKAEA

ARKAEA, featuring members Raymond Herrera and Christian Olde Wolbers of FEAR FACTORY and THREAT SIGNAL, have just finished their debut album Years in the Darkness. The album is set to be released on July 14, 2009 on E1 Music, formerly Koch Records.

Years in the Darkness was produced by Christian Olde Wolbers and ARKAEA and mixed by legendary producer Terry Date. The CD was mastered by Ted Jensen of Sterling Sound, who also mastered FEAR FACTORY‘s gold album, Obsolete.

“We are truly proud of this record,” states Olde Wolbers. “Ironically half of the ARKAEA album consists of songs that were intended to be the next FEAR FACTORY record.”

Track listing for Years in the Darkness is as follows:

Locust
Beneath the Shades of Grey
Years in the Darkness
Gone Tomorrow
Awakening
Black Ocean
Break the Silence
Lucid Dreams
My Redemption
War Within
The World As One
Rise Today
Away From the Sun

First song on the album, “Locust” Is available streaming on the band’s Myspace: www.myspace.com/arkaeamusic

FEAR FACTORY Members Start New Band with THREAT SIGNAL Singer

FEAR FACTORY members Christian Olde Wolbers (guitar) and Raymond Herrera (drums) are proud to announce the debut album of their new group, ARKAEA, featuring THREAT SIGNAL vocalist, Jon Howard.

ARKAEA has just finished up pre-production and are scheduled to enter the studio to begin recording. This album promises to be as pummeling as anything the gold-selling team of Olde Wolbers and Herrera has ever written.

Olde Wolbers comments: “These songs were designed like the FEAR FACTORY songs that Raymond and I always wrote. However, we’ve been able to push the boundaries and go out of that context, while remaining heavy.”

Christian and Ray have been writing together for many years, so the music does have a lot of FEAR FACTORY elements,” adds Howard. “However, we’ve been open to trying different things. It basically fuses what I have been doing vocally in THREAT SIGNAL with driving FEAR FACTORY rhythms, along with some of our own experimentation. The idea behind the project is to be heavy, but maintain melody at the same time.”

Howard has been a part of the FEAR FACTORY family ever since Olde Wolbers served as producer for THREAT SIGNAL‘s debut, Under Reprisal. Given that connection, the chemistry was there the instant the band started playing together.

The band’s yet untitled album is due out fall 2008 on Koch Records and plans for touring are under way in support of the record.

Samples of ARKAEA are available on their MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/arkaeamusic

DIVINE HERESY – Bleed the Fifth

For those of you who wanted FEAR FACTORY to do a metalcore album, then this one is for you. Dino Cazares is moving forward with DIVINE HERESY to further make his stamp on the metal scene. Ever present is the machine-like interplay between drums and guitar like you would find on any FEAR FACTORY release, and the music is extremely aggressive as one would expect. FEAR FACTORY references aside, the band has some talent in its own right. Tim Yeung (VITAL REMAINS) performs the drums with expert precision, while Dino handles both guitar and bass for the recording and Tommy Vext rounds out their sound on vocal duties. Although Dino‘s songwriting has always contained some start-stop rhythms to help define his writing style, it is obvious that his creative contributions this time around to DIVINE HERESY‘s Bleed the Fifth attempt to garner the support of the metalcore crowd with breakdowns and clean vocal choruses. Tommy Vext sounds like a proficient vocalist in his own right, but the clean vocal sections seem dramatically out of place in most songs on this album. Such misplaced melody is most poignant on the ballad “Closure,” which comes off as completely contrary to the album’s emotional release. Vext‘s yells are very well performed throughout the album despite occasionally coming off as a second rate Burton Bell, and it feels as though Bleed the Fifth would be much more focused if Vext did not switch vocal styles for what seems to be the sake of either being more commercial or emulating FEAR FACTORY. Although the metalcore influences feel tired in a scene where such songwriting has become nearly ubiquitous, there are a number of excellent, aggressive tracks such as the title track, “Failed Creation,” and “Impossible is Nothing.” The song “Savior Self” is especially excellent, but it is probably the worst offender in terms of sounding like a FEAR FACTORY B-side.

Ultimately, Bleed the Fifth has moments of very impressive songwriting and performance. However, it is imperative that Dino and his DIVINE HERESY co-conspirators expand their influences and songwriting to move out of FEAR FACTORY‘s shadow. While adding metalcore to the mix may gain immediate mainstream fan attention, it only helps ensure that DIVINE HERESY are more likely a trend to pass in the night rather than a steadfast metal stalwart who could remain as a force to be reckoned with. (Century Media Records)

DIVINE HERESY Announces Record Release Show; Completes New Video

DIVINE HERESY — the new band of former FEAR FACTORY guitarist Dino Cazares – will celebrate the release of their highly acclaimed debut album, Bleed The Fifth, with a special record release show at The Whisky in Los Angeles on Tuesday, August 28th. This event marks their second performance with new bassist Joe Payne (ex-NILE), so you definitely don’t want to miss witnessing them in this type of intimate setting.

Cazares states: “I began my musical career in Los Angeles and I felt that there was no better place to launch the debut release from my new band DIVINE HERESY than in my hometown. The Whisky is the perfect-sized venue for this record release show so we can get close to the fans and give them the most intense performance we possibly can. This is going to be a night to remember, and we look forward to spending it with our closest friends and fans. We hope to see you all there, and we can’t wait to hear people’s reactions to the new material.”

DIVINE HERESY recently shot a video with director Christoffer “Salzy” Salzgeber for the track “Failed Creation.” Look for it to make its debut online later this month. Also expect a major U.S. fall touring announcement in the coming weeks.

DIVINE HERESY has also posted three new videos on their official YouTube page, www.youtube.com/DivineHeresy, which features Cazares and Tim Yeung (drums) jamming the track “Bleed The Fifth,” in addition to an in-depth interview with Yeung.