Written by: Tom
Last year saw the return of Static-X, something I never thought would happen. Now, almost a year later, we are finally getting a new Fear Factory record! Which is another thing that I was beginning to have my doubts about happening, but on June 18th, via Nuclear Blast Records, that exact thing will be
unleashed upon a legion of waiting fans.
I've been listening to Fear Factory since 1995's Demanufacture, and they have always had one of the coolest band names out there; in my humble opinion, it still ranks very high on the list of excellent name choices. Not to mention that when one of their songs comes on, you immediately know that it's them; no one else had the same sound when the band's music was first introduced to us. This fact has not changed much throughout the years.
Aggression Continuum continues that proud tradition of guitar riffs that are super fast, clean, and heavy, with the drums and bass guitar perfectly on par with those guitars, the electronics/programming are finely tuned to match the music, and then there's Burton C. Bell's unmistakable, powerful, and melodic vocal approach. And since we're on the subject of Mr. Bell...
Burton C. Bell, the man whose voice has become almost synonymous with the Fear Factory name, has left the band to concentrate on his group, Ascension of the Watchers, among other reasons. This means that Aggression Continuum will be the last time we hear his vocals on a Fear Factory record. He's issued many statements on the why, what, and how of his decision, and, if you're not aware of any of this, then a quick Google search will have all the information for you.
So, as of this writing, Fear Factory is made up of Dino Cazares in guitar, the aforementioned Tony Campos on bass, and Mike Heller on drums. Now: on to the music!!!
Fear Factory has long had a cinematic feel, creating lush soundscapes that can seem alien at times, or give off the feel of a futuristic world where mankind's dominance over technology came to a tragic end at the hand of others. Thanks to a keen sense of melody within the vocal arrangements and in the songwriting, Fear Factory's music can make those landscapes seem beautifully terrifying; this is why so many of us love their music, and why we'll all love Aggression Continuum as well.
So far there have been two singles released; "Disruptor" and "Fuel Injected Suicide Machine." If you haven't heard these yet, go check them out, because they are perfect examples of the direction of Aggression Continuum. Both tracks are awesome, but I'm not going to bring them up much past this point, because what I'd like to do is to talk about what you haven't heard yet.
"Purity" is where we'll start, which is one of my favorites due to its melodic elements. I feel like most people automatically think of the vocals providing the bulk of the melody, but the main riff supplies a huge chunk, and the subtle programming flavors everything perfectly. I really like how the verses flow, with the vocals complimenting that badass main riff in the best way possible. The song transitions into a beautiful chorus section, with Burton using his clean vocals to make it stand out from the harsher vocals; that's one of the things he does that I've always gravitated towards. "Purity" and the two singles are in the first half of the album, and so far, it all really reminds me of a modernized Demanufacture, my personal favorite album by them. I say it's modernized, but that's mostly in the production, and the bright, crisp sound of the programming.
Another great song is "Collapse", which has an almost nű-metal groove during the chorus section.
The chorus riff is actually the first thing you hear musically, and it's infectious right off the bat; as soon as that riff started, my head began bobbing in rhythm. Once the vocals kick in the riff is pretty typical of what you'd expect from them; fast, concisely picked heaviness. I don't know how they do it when the parts are so quick, but the groove doesn't let up during the verses. There is a section that starts at two minutes and fifty-one seconds that is symphonic sounding before dropping into one of the heaviest riffs on the album, and then it sliding effortlessly back into that groove laden chorus to end the track.
Second to last on the album is a track called "Monolith," which you may remember was what Bell told the media the album would be called; he even released artwork for it along with his statement in 2019. Dino just released a statement in regards to that, basically saying that all happened without his knowledge; this was due to his court goings-on at the time, and the state of his say in band decisions because of them. Anyway, the intro to "Monolith" has some very cool programming, maybe some of the best on the record, before it leads into another killer guitar part, and then into the first verse.
The verse section reminds me, albeit slightly, of Shadow Zone/Start a War-era Static-X; there's just something about the way the riff flows. Over those guitars we get one of Burton's best performances on the album, the same can be said of his work during the chorus. This song is huge sounding, making the title of it seem extremely apt, but it's the chorus part that really sounds the biggest. Between Burton's heavily melodic vocal execution, and the music itself, this is one of the best tracks on an album full of best tracks.
June 18th isn't that far away, and this album deserves to be heard as quickly as possible! Pre-orders can be found through their website, or wherever you order your music! Enjoy!
Fear Factory - Aggression Continuum will be released June 18th via Nuclear Blast
When not spending time here at Ye Olde Sleeping Village, Tom is an album reviewer for Doomed and Stoned, It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine, The Ripple Effect, Doom Charts, and Tom's Reviews.
Fear Factory can be found:
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!