Dino Cazares returns, breathing life back into Fear Factory.

2009 was a frustrating year for both the fans and band members of Fear Factory, but the 2010 release of their latest album ‘Mechanize’ should hopefully make amends. The line-up of the band has changed again, however this is no bad thing as the current incarnation is mightily impressive. Fear Factory are back in action and have brought with them a great album.

A new addition to the Fear Factory line-up is the former Strapping Young Lad drummer, Gene Hoglan. Certainly a capable replacement for Raymond Herrera, Hoglan’s drumming is impeccable, executing double-kick drumming with sublime accuracy. Interlocking seamlessly with Hoglan’s drumming are the raging guitar riffs of Dino Cazares, who finally returns to the band after a seven year absence.

‘Mechanize’ kicks off with the title track, introducing the listener to a palette of industrial sounds before raging into a flurry of mechanical-themed metal. ‘Industrial Discipline’ is a definite highlight of the album, featuring a glorious chorus with excellent vocal work from singer Burton C. Bell.

The energy of the album is maintained as it progresses into ‘Fear Campaign’, displaying the thrash traits of Fear Factory’s music. Although the song initially erupts in a fury of storming metal, the music varies in intensity, creating a balanced style of composition. Another highlight of this album is the excellent song ‘Powershifter’, which will surely induce headbanging! For anyone new to the music of Fear Factory, this should act as a suitable introduction.

‘Christploitation’ is another impressive track, this time adding a haunting piano melody to the Fear Factory sound. Following this is ‘Oxidizer’, which offers little new, but is still a reasonable composition nevertheless. The use of occasional synthesised swells is effective and could have been used much more creatively to give this particular piece a greater sense of character.

‘Controlled Demolition’ is a good song, once again utilizing a melodic chorus to contrast from Bell’s raucous vocal style used in the verses. The album continues with ‘Designing the Enemy’, which at times has an almost meditative quality, despite the relentless rhythmic bombardment!

Although experimenting with some interesting time signature changes, the instrumental piece ‘Metallic Division’ is a disappointment. It is texturally tedious and feels surplus to requirements. However, Fear Factory definitely saved the best track until last with the wonderfully crafted ‘Final Exit’ displaying the bands impressive ability to juxtapose beautiful melodies with thunderous rhythms.

With many fans unconvinced by the commercial direction that Fear Factory had been taking, ‘Mechanize’ hints that the Californian band may be returning to the beloved roots of their Roadrunner era. For anyone disappointed by 2005’s ‘Transgression’, Fear Factory’s seventh album, ‘Mechanize’, will hopefully win back your heart.