Album Review: Fear Factory – Mechanize / Re-Industrialized

Album Review: Fear Factory - Mechanize / Re-Industrialized
Reviewed by Daniel Phipps

There has been lots of going’s on in the Fear Factory camp over the last few years. Comings, goings and some unpleasant legal matters which have loomed over the bands which now at least seem to be behind them and they are able to get back to business. Last year saw new music for the first time in seven years and now a couple of reissues of the band's work following the return of Dino Cazaras.

Mechanize was the band's first album released following the return of guitarist Dino Cazares. Now outside of some additional tracks not featured on the original release this new edition of the record has no real features differentiating it from the original release back in 2010 but what is very apparent is that Mechanize really unleashed new life into a band who for whatever reason had been quite inconsistent since they unleashed the Obsolete record back in 1998. Now what we can talk about is the additional tracks featured on the release all of which are re recordings of classic Fear Factory tracks from the vaults with mixed results.

Up first Martyr taken from the bands Roadrunner debut Soul of a New Machine. Personally I feel there are three tracks that should never be touched on this record and to do so should be considered a war crime, this is one of them. You see the thought behind what Fear Factory have tried to do on this, giving the backing samples a bit more space in the mix but I really feel it does not do the song any justice. Burton’s deep growl that featured on the debut is still there but slightly tweaked more into the style that he moved onto later in the band's career. Following Martyr the results improved greatly with Crash Test (originally on the expanded version of the 2010 release which came with the tool box) and Sangre De Ninos (part of the Concrete album recorded in 1991 prior to Soul of a New Machine and released properly in 2002 by Roadrunner). I feel that their new versions keep the intensity of the originals and don’t lose the magic, the guitars absolutely crush, Burton sounds like a man truly possessed and Gene Hogland does what he does best absolutely dominate behind the kit.

Album Review: Fear Factory – Mechanize / Re-Industrialized

Now something we can really get our teeth into Re-Industrialized. When Fear Factory decided to use a drum machine instead of working with Gene Hogland on The Industrialist some fans were sceptical. I wasn’t one given the band’s experience with industrial music and using samples, keys etc I was quite hoping the band could pull it off. I feel they missed the mark and I felt this album when originally released really dropped the ball. In comes Mike Heller who completely re-records the drums on this new release of the record and let’s see if it injects new life. The album definitely has more of a kick to it, in part to the addition of the live drums but we also can’t ignore that this record has been completely remixed by Greg Reely who along with working on the aforementioned Mechanize also handled Demanufacture and Obsolete and this work cannot be lost when taking into account the overall improvement on the album. This new mix is head and shoulders above the original with the guitars being given an extra jolt and coming through with an extra level of intensity.

As mentioned this new edition comes with six bonus tracks, two of which are remixes. I can’t say they actually offer anything in all honesty I can only assume they are tracks that ended in the cut out bin on the original recording sessions. The remixes again nothing special and really don’t offer anything of substance to the release, the improvements with live drums and production are more than enough to get people’s interest in this release.

Overall two solid reissues from Fear Factory, regarding Mechanize unless you are a super fan and collector this new version offers nothing of real value in re-buying but obviously if you don’t have a physical here is your chance. The real win here is The Re-Industrialized and if you felt let down based on the original release then the band have really done the right thing in completing a new version which offers something head and shoulders above the original.

Album Review: Fear Factory – Mechanize / Re-Industrialized

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