For the purists out there, this version of Fear Factory that only features original members Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares just doesn't measure up as the "real deal". To those people, I hope you enjoy missing out on one of the greatest resurgences in all of heavy metal. Without question, Fear Factory was at a point where it was time to give it up and do other things. Albums like ARCHETYPE and TRANSGRESSION were just shells of the former intensity that the band had possessed, and most thought these guys were done. Still, Bell rekindled his relationship with Cazares, pushed aside other original members, and forged ahead. If it did nothing else, the extremely solid MECHANIZE proved that the fire in the band was always spawned from the riffs of Cazares and the voice of Bell. With THE INDUSTRIALIST, they have seemingly taken it all the way back to their best era of the band.
THE INDUSTRIALIST is the second best album in the Fear Factory catalog. Only DEMANUFACTURE stands above it in the catalog. I know, that's extremely high praise when you consider that albums like OBSOLETE and SOUL OF A NEW MACHINE are being passed for those words. Still, it is what it is. THE INDUSTRIALIST, a concept album from Bell loosely based on one of his always present themes (machinery evolving to take over mankind), feels so much like the DEMANUFACTURE/OBSOLETE era of the band that it wouldn't be at all surprising if this album was written and shelved for whatever reason back in that era. While Bell and Cazares basically performed this album themselves (drummer John Sankey performed on it and did the programming, but all vocals, guitars and bass were performed by Bell and Cazares), the results are astonishingly full and vibrant. Fear Factory has found its way back to its core sound. Tracks like the blistering "New Messiah" showcase both the multi-inflectioned voice of Bell and the brilliant, tight industrial meets metal riffs that have defined Cazares' long career. Bell is particularly good on THE INDUSTRIALIST, as some of his vocals on later records almost came off as a parody of older releases. Still, leading the way is Cazares. Always having his own extremely identifiable sound, Cazares has added little things here and there to really expand what he's done previously. Songs like "God Eater" are prime examples of the expanded playbook of Cazares. On this track, he not only features his heavy riffing that's instantly recognizable, but he also incorporates a lower, droning type line (a la a band like Meshuggah) to the underside of the song to just fatten it up that much more.
PITRIFF RATING - 96/100 - Without question, I love this album. As a Fear Factory fan that has been disappointed with most of their output since OBSOLETE, I was glad to see them start the process of a full on resurgence with MECHANIZE. I'm even more happy to see them claw all the way back with THE INDUSTRIALIST. Without question, this is the best release they've put out in 20 years.