Designing the Enemy
Of all the when-pigs-fly reunions that could have happened in 2010 — heavy-metal wise, at least — the renewed vows of Fear Factory’s founding frontman (Burton C. Bell) and guitarist (Dino Cazares) caught everyone off guard. They reformed without the band’s signature rhythm section, replacing them with the low-end lashings of Byron Stroud (Strapping Young Lad) and piston-powered percussion of Gene Hoglan (Death, Testament, Dethklok) in their place. Simply put, this is the first classic, Demanufacture-derived Fear Factory album in more than a decade. While “Powershifter,” “Industrial Discipline” and “Fear Campaign” serve as seething reminders of why Fear Factory is largely responsible for metalcore’s seamless sing/scream style, the ambient breaks and techno textures in “Christploitation,” “Oxidizer” and “Final Exit” emphasize the group’s electronic side — something that’s always made them stand apart from their modern-metal peers. What this means for Fear Factory’s future is anyone’s guess, but if Mechanize ends up being their last album, it’s certainly an essential parting shot.