Fear Factory - Dual Bias Resistor
By: David E. Gehlke
Fear Factory's 2010 comeback album Mechanize was so good that it made everyone forget about the band's cringe-worthy cover of Gary Numan's "Cars," or the stupid puffy jackets they wore in promo pictures during the Obsolete era, or the Cypress Hill guest spot on 2001's Digimortal, or Digimortal's all-around generic nature, or the lopsided feel of 2005's Transgression, and most of all, the questionable divorce from original drummer Raymond Herrera and longtime bassist/turned-guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers. Metal never forgets, but forgives rather quickly, and thus Fear Factory (i.e. Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares) are back in everyone's good graces thanks to Mechanize. For now.
Looking to capitalize upon Mechanize's success, Bell and Cazares have created The Industrialist (Candlelight Records), which as some have stated is a more traditional-sounding Fear Factory album than its predecessor. By all accounts, that's a correct assumption, for the machine-like riffs and industrial sheen of days gone by is in full swing, lined up with a mid-paced tempo that recalls the band's mid-90's groove era. Bell has created a complex conceptual piece, one that falls in line with Fear Factory's storied "man versus machine" storyline, and while there are a few missteps (see: programmed drums replacing Gene Hoglan, and the dull atmospheric album closer "Human Augmentation"), The Industrialist should have no problem settling into the band's catalog.
On the ramp-up to the album's release, we phoned an initially cranky Bell (apparently he was unaware that an interview was supposed to take place) to chat about The Industrialist and Mechanize's success. Once Bell warmed up to Blistering, we got down to business...and even some shower talk. Read on...
Blistering.com: For starters, Mechanize was so well-received and for Fear Factory to come back in such a strong manner and have people respond to it, must have made you feel good.
Burton C. Bell: I was very pleased. The response was very positive and I was proud of the work we did. We did make a really good record. A lot of it had to do with the return with Dino, so it was very good.
Blistering.com: Do you think you’ll do an album as heavy as that again? It’s definitely up there with Souls of a New Machine and Demanufacture.
Bell: Have you heard the new record?
Blistering.com: Of course I have. To clarify, I would say Mechanize is more extreme-sounding, while The Industrialist is more heavy-sounding. Does that help?
Bell: Yeah, I get it [laughs]. Every record is different. Every record is heavy in their own way. And after the return of Dino and by all means, he got this kind of record of his chest and he shot it forward. He went through with it, made a great record, and was definitely heavy. That’s what the fans wanted to hear.
Blistering.com: Speaking of working with Dino, are you at the point in your relationship with him where there’s an unspoken bond between the two of you?
Bell: Oh yeah. When wrote Mechanize, we were still in the “getting to know you” period again, but this time, all we had to do was focus on the music, which was rad.
Blistering.com: As for The Industrialist, when did you start pulling the concept together for it?
Bell: Last year, when we started writing for it. Everything started coming together and I had a notebook and we discussed topics, thoughts, and theories, and before we even went into the studio, I told Dino that I wanted to re-introduce the industrial element of Fear Factory back into the sound because I felt it was neglected for a long period of time. It’s one of my favorite elements of Fear Factory. With that in mind, we kept thinking about the direction we wanted to go, and the way we work, things really start jelling when we get a title for the album. We took about month or month and a half bouncing titles around, and one day Dino says, “Hey man, I have a title, how about The Industrialist?” And it was one of those a-ha moments. The whole thing worked conceptually, but sonically, it fit with the direction and concept.
Blistering.com: For you as a lyricist, do you find it easier to work within a concept, as opposed to having nine or ten songs that are unrelated?
Bell: [pauses] It helps, definitely. Lyrical ideas come together easier if it’s part of one thing. I have my notebook and I know what to focus on from my observations from reading, watching movies or TV, and just discussing with Dino. I pick up key elements and figure out which way to go.