Fear Factory – Soul of a New Machine (1992)
Fear Factory – Demanufacture (1995)
Fear Factory was a great gateway band for me when I was in my mid-teens and was just getting into underground metal. They’re not considered “underground” today but in 1996 there wasn’t the internet there is today. I had Muchmusic (Canada’s MTV) and their late-night metal show LOUD (Canada’s Headbangers Ball). It was only once a week and it was only an hour long and it was the only way I heard any metal music. So that was how I discovered Fear Factory. I’ll go backwards with this review and start with Demanufacture because it was the first one I heard. I didn’t really “love” Replica
but I thought it was neat enough and the CD was actually available at my local HMV so I bought it. And I knew somehow that owning it would make me more metal. Needless to say, Replica
was one of the better tracks but there were a lot more that I loved. Their barked verses and clean chorus style has gotten pretty tired over the years. The same can be said for most bands that use that style (cough*KillswithEngage*cough) but at the time I’d never heard anything like it so I thought it was fucking awesome. A few months later Fear Factory was touring with Type O Negative (one of my all-time favorite bands) and I was stoked to go to that show. Fear Factory was awesome at that show, but what impressed me even more was the three older songs they played from their first album I’d never even knew they had (Martyr, Scapegoat
). So I ran out and bought it the next day…and hated it. It was a lot gruffer and raw than Demanufacture (or the performance I’d heard the night before) so I wasn’t too happy. But over the years it grew on me more and more. I still love the barked verse/clean chorus songs that I was dissing earlier on but for 1992 it was really cool. And the fact of the matter is some of those melodies are just fantastic.
Favorite Song (Soul of a New Machine): Lifeblind
Favorite Song (Demanufacture): Pisschrist
Something that’s irked me about Soul of a New Machine for years is how people always go on how Fear Factory were totally aping Napalm Death in their early days. Specifically the album Fear, Emptiness, Despair. They did sound a lot like F.E.D.-era Napalm Death on Soul of a New Machine but the funny thing is…Fear, Emptiness, Despair came out two years after
Soul of a New Machine. So who influenced who? And you can say they still were aping the Napalm Death style anyway but nothing Napalm Death had released up to then sound anything like Fear Factory, save the vocals a bit. So stop accusing Fear Factory of ripping off Napalm Death.