Album Review – Fear Factory / Demanufacture (1995)

A “cyber-masterpiece” by the unstoppable American Industrial Metal trailblazers.

DemanufactureIn 2010, after a 5-year hiatus and some controversial releases, Los Angeles-based Industrial Metal band Fear Factory got back with two amazing albums, Mechanize (2010) and The Industrialist (2012). However, it was in 1995 with all the energy, creativity and dynamism of their second album, Demanufacture, that the band reached the status of masters of Industrial Metal, always adding some hints of Death and Thrash Metal to their music, sometimes even being called “Cyber Metal” by their fans. Demanufacture is considered a concept album inspired by the most badass movie of all time, The Terminator, obviously focusing on the constant and horrible war between man and machine, with each song being some kind of episode of this fight, and the final result couldn’t be any better.

The music in Demanufacture sounds like if it’s coming directly from a giant industry or foundry, with all the violence of metal clanging sounds and mechanized instruments, but that doesn’t mean it sounds fake like many other metal or pop bands. It is high-quality Heavy Metal played by some incredible musicians, especially Dino Cazares with his brutal riffs and Burton C. Bell with his exceptional vocal range. In my opinion, he’s one of the only guttural singers in Heavy Metal that doesn’t sound lame when using his clean vocals. Quite the contrary, his clean voice is also fantastic and a very important part of the whole album. And although the band is officially composed by four members only, Demanufacture wouldn’t be the same without the contributions from Rhys Fulber and Reynor Diego, both responsible for the electronic tones and sounding and the robotic atmosphere with their samples, keyboards and mixes.

Fear Factory 1995The title-track, Demanufacture, is an awesome start with its great intro, heavy riffs, a strong chorus (“I’ve got no more goddamn regrets / I’ve got no more goddamn respects”) and the band’s characteristic electronic atmosphere. The song sounds clean but brutal, a great example of Industrial Metal. The second track, Self Bias Resistor, is as heavy as hell with a great job done by Raymond Herrera, while Zero Signal has excellent eerie keyboards in the beginning, turning into a damn heavy feast. Then comes the best track of the album and one of Fear Factory’s greatest hits (if not the greatest of all), Replica,  a masterpiece of Industrial Metal with its extremely austere intro, acid lyrics (“I am rape / I am hate / I am rape / I am hate”), and Burton’s voice sounding incredible at all times.

The band keeps smashing our brains with the superb New Breed, a “mechanized” song like a terminator itself, probably due to its lyrics, and an awesome choice for their live performances. The next track is Dog Day Sunrise, a cover song quite similar to the original version by British band Head of David, with an amazing touch of Heavy Metal but preserving all its elements from the 80’s. Then comes Body Hammer, which in my opinion is an outstanding musical representation of an industry’s assembly line, and Flashpoint, the perfect soundtrack for a terminator to walk in your direction ready to kill you. The last part of the album starts with another brutal song, H-K (Hunter-Killer),  with its intense drums and fast riffs; it’s a fantastic pure Industrial Metal song and one of the best of the album. Pisschrist  reminds me a lot of some Ministry classics, while A Therapy for Pain is one of those crazy long songs that became a band’s trademark in almost all albums, although I personally think this one goes on for way to long time.

Fear_Factory-Remanufacture

Remanufacture – Cloning Technology

Due to the originality and quality of Demanufacture, Fear Factory started featuring in the soundtracks of a variety of PlayStation and PC games and action movies, as well as becoming part of the lineup for some editions of the famous Ozzfest and touring with bands such as Iron Maiden and Megadeth. Moreover, two years after Demanufacture, the band released a full remix album of it called Remanufacture – Cloning Technology, which despite its original idea didn’t result in something as memorable as the regular album, of course, and in 2005 a remastered edition with six fuckin’ amazing bonus tracks as bonus disc 1 (including a cover for Agnostic Front’s Your Mistake) and the whole Remanufacture album as bonus disc 2 was released to celebrate ten years of the album.

In summary, a mandatory item in the collection of any headbanger that loves heavy music with lots of creativity and power, and also an excellent choice for your workout playlist. Fear Factory showed the world how Heavy Metal and electronic music can get along really well when there’s an interesting concept and great musicians behind everything, and let’s hope they keep on kickin’ ass for many years to come with new furious albums (which based on their latest releases that’s exactly what’s been happening already). It doesn’t matter how long it takes between their albums, as the Terminator himself would say, THEY’LL BE BACK.

Best moments of the album: Demanufacture, Replica, New Breed and H-K (Hunter-Killer).

Worst moments of the album: A Therapy for Pain.

Released in 1995 Roadrunner Records

Track listing
1. Demanufacture 4:13
2. Self Bias Resistor 5:12
3. Zero Signal 5:57
4. Replica 3:56
5. New Breed 2:49
6. Dog Day Sunrise (Head of David cover) 4:45
7. Body Hammer 5:05
8. Flashpoint 2:53
9. H-K (Hunter-Killer) 5:17
10. Pisschrist 5:25
11. A Therapy for Pain 9:43

2005 Remastered Edition bonus tracks
1. Your Mistake (Agnostic Front cover) 1:30
2. Resistancia! 2:55
3. Concreto 3:30
4. New Breed (Revolutionary Designed Mix) 2:59
5. Manic Cure 5:09
6. Flashpoint (Chosen Few Mix) 4:09

Band members
Burton C. Bell – lead vocals
Dino Cazares – guitar, backing vocals
Christian Olde Wolbers – bass
Raymond Herrera – drums, percussion

Guest musicians
Reynor Diego – samples, keyboards
Rhys Fulber – samples, keyboards, programming, mixing

Advertisements

Album Review – Subliminal Fear / Escape From Leviathan (2016)

A collection of boundless and modern Melodic Death Metal creations, which together represent the next step in the evolution of the music by this excellent Italian band.

Rating4

Subliminal_Fear-cover640While listening to the brand new full-length album by Italian Modern Melodic Death Metal band Subliminal Fear, entitled Escape From Leviathan, I realized how dynamic, fresh and ravishing the mixture of Extreme and Cyber Metal with electronic music can be when brought forth by a high-skilled and honest band like these Italian metallers. Following the steps of renowned acts such as Sybreed, Mnemic and Fear Factory, this band from the cities of Barletta and Bari put all their passion for heavy music and their futuristic vision in the conception of the album, surpassing their debut album Uncoloured World Dying (2007) and their latest release One More Breath (2012) in quality and feeling. Put differently, Escape From Leviathan is undoubtedly Subliminal Fear’s finest release to date.

There are two additional ingredients that make the album so special, bringing more value to the already gripping music by Subliminal Fear. First of all, the participation of three international guests in different songs add extra layers to the musicality and concept of the album. Guillaume Bideau (Mnemic, One-Way Mirror), Jon Howard (Threat Signal, Arkaea) and Lawrence Mackrory (Darkane) lend their potent voices to some of the best tracks of the album, always in sync with what the band is firing through their instruments. And secondly, the beautiful artwork by Seth Siro Anton, the Greek artist and musician also known as Spiros Antoniou (Septicflesh) who has already worked with bands like Moonspell, Arch Enemy, Paradise Lost and Old Man’s Child, is based on the lyrics concept, which present a futuristic and apocalyptic vision of the world and the society inspired by movies like Terminator, Alien and Matrix. A subtle but very important detail that only proves how focused those guys were while composing the album.

Phantoms Or Drones is industrialized from the very beginning, presenting electrified riffs and a futuristic ambience as expected, as well as a good mix of clean and harsh vocals, with guest singer Guillaume Bideau bringing an extra dosage of aggressiveness to this progressive and groovy tune. The accelerated beats by Ruggiero Lanotte guide the high-octane Industrial Metal chant All Meanings They’ve Torn, featuring Lawrence Mackrory, where once again Carmine Cristallo and Matteo De Bellis make an effective and balanced duo with their clean vocals and visceral growls, respectively; followed by the alternative and mechanized Nexus, an excellent blend of dark and violent soundings with very melodic passages thanks to the electronic effects in the background and its polished riffs. In addition to that, fans of the genre will definitely enjoy the song’s lyrics, in special its excellent chorus.

SubliminalFear-promo_pic1An ominous intro is gradually enhanced by each instrument in the title-track Escape From Leviathan, building a futuristic aura while Ruggiero gets quite progressive behind his drums, adding more intricacy to the overall result; whereas Evilution, featuring guest singer Jon Howard, is a robotic heavy hymn depicting the evolution of man into a greedy and devilish machine. Industrial and Melodic Death Metal are nicely blended in this exctinig song, with the “special effects” in the background together with the industrialized and violent drumming turning it into one of the best moments of the entire album. And if you’re a fan of cover songs, you’ll simply love Living In Another World, an amazing version for a classic from the 80’s by English post-progressive band Talk Talk. The band was capable of keeping the magic from the original version and mechanizing it with their own industrial touch, with guitarist Domenico Murgolo having a great share of responsibility for such a pleasant result due to his powerful guitar lines.

Yet again the band fires a solid Industrial Metal tune with hints of Melodic Death Metal entitled Dark Star Renaissance, with Matteo and his evil growls driving the song’s effectiveness up while Carmine maintains the smoothness in the musicality, before Self-Proclaimed Gods, with its metallic drumming, a brutal industrial atmosphere (even Carmine gets robotic), its lyrics about the arrogance of man (“Killing the parthenogenesis I’ve created / And still living always into the other truth / I’m born on this land for deny / I don’t want to look like you”) and Domenico’s riffs complementing the futuristic keyboards (and vice-versa), brings forward all core elements of the genre, which consequently make it the most exciting of all tunes. Lastly, we have the Melodic Death Metal with industrial elements of Limitless, showcasing a good riffage by Domenico while bassist Alessio Morella and Ruggiero take care of the “structure” of the music, and an eerie outro about the inevitable ending of mankind in a not so distant future named The Disease Is Human Emotion, with its movie-like start (as many industrial bands enjoy doing) and an ominous narrator giving the details about the disease that exists inside every man.

Enjoying this futuristic album by Subliminal Fear and knowing more about the band’s day-to-day activities and music is quite easy, as you can find them on Facebook, YouTube, SoundCloud and ReverbNation, as well as purchase Escape From Leviathan at their BandCamp page, at the Inverse Records’ webstore, at Record Shop X, or on iTunes. In a nutshell, Subliminal Fear are paving a solid and prospering path to stardom with their boundless and modern creations, with Escape From Leviathan being the next step in the evolution of their music.

Best moments of the album: All Meanings They’ve Torn, Evilution and Self-Proclaimed Gods.

Worst moments of the album: Limitless.

Released in 2016 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Phantoms Or Drones (feat. Guillaume Bideau) 6:17
2. All Meanings They’ve Torn (feat. Lawrence Mackrory) 4:45
3. Nexus 5:00
4. Escape From Leviathan 4:55
5. Evilution (feat. Jon Howard) 5:51
6. Living In Another World (Talk Talk Cover) 4:56
7. Dark Star Renaissance 4:07
8. Self-Proclaimed Gods 5:22
9. Limitless 4:48
10. The Disease Is Human Emotion 3:09

Band members
Carmine Cristallo – clean vocals
Matteo De Bellis – harsh vocals
Domenico Murgolo – guitar
Alessio Morella – bass
Ruggiero Lanotte – drums

Guest musicians
Guillaume Bideau – additional vocals on “Phantoms Or Drones”
Lawrence Mackrory – additional vocals on “All Meanings They’ve Torn”
Jon Howard – additional vocals on “Evilution”