Vocals – Burton C Bell
Guitars – DinoCazares
Drums – Mike Heller
Bass – Tony Campos
01. Autonomous Combat System
04. Soul Hacker
07. Church Of Execution
09. Battle For Utopia
10. Expiration Date
Limited digipak bonus tracks:
11. Mandatory Sacrifice (Genexus Remix)
12. Enhanced Reality
This being said, it is hard to judge a pioneering band and an influence for now sounding outdated. Fear factory in places on this record have slipped into sounding very old school, yet still ahead of their time which they have done so now for a good portion of the decade.
The album opens up with “Autonomous Combat System” which begins with an anthemic and promising start. It brings out the similar-to-a-fan sounds of “Archetype” and seems to have stepped away from the previous album’s sounds found on “The Industrialist”.
Going back to the well rooted “Demanufacture” sounds with second track on “Genexus”. As always with this band the album is shaping up to sound like an audio graphic novel. It’s on track three “Dielectric” that something new is pulled out of the bag, which is a nice surprise to hear as the track opens up with a punch to the gut after such a peaceful start.
“Soul Hacker” starts off with an all too familiar, play it safe formula that can be found on “Demanufacture”, it’s nice to see the band still using what works after twenty years, however, it is a little bit too similar to the past to really appreciate it as a new song. Track five “Protomech” goes out there a bit more into the realms of being experimental which is a good thing to do, but so far there hasn’t been anything too daring on this release that can separate it from the back catalogue.
It all comes together during “Genexus” the self-titled track of the album, which is a power crunch and welcome change of pace for the listener. The second half of the album is defiantly shaping up to be better especially when “Church Of Execution” hits the air like a katana of dystopian delight.
“Regenerate” is defiantly a highlight of the album with its anthemic tones and beautiful soaring vocals over a chaos of time changes, its rich in stunning bombastic flair. Followed by Penultimate track of the album; “Battle For Utopia” spreads its creative wings and is a test and true measure of what Fear factory can achieve on an album.
The final track on all albums is as hard to write for an artist as the opening track as it seals that one last impression of the band’s efforts. Fear Factory have constructed something empowering and unique with “Expiration Date”. Its sonic creation is like listening to the end of a film soundtrack and effectively conjures up an array of images from the purely clear and audible vocals. It’s truly a beautiful ending to an album.
Over all the album is another well-structured piece in the jigsaw which is Fear Factories back-catalogue, it’s well-oiled but could do with adding something more experimental in places at the start of the album and step away from the comfort zone they are used to. The latter half of the album is exactly this and really comes into its own after sounding like a homage to their roots for the first half.
Having said that, the album is not without its share of future-shock thematic and dystopian detritus that litters the band’s aural landscapes.
Voiced by founding front man Burton C. Bell, the struggle for humanity becomes Fear Factor’s singular howl in the face of an ever-deepening technological abyss where topics, including cloning, artificial intelligence and various shades of personal and social dehumanization, have turned from science fiction to present-day fact. Making it poignant and relevant in this modern age.
Review by Ashlinn Nash