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Fear Factory - Archetype

2004 Liquid 8 Records :: Reviewed by Skeksis on 2005-07-12


Of the two of us on the RoR staff, I’m the big Fear Factory fan and have been ever since Soul of a New Machine came out. Although the quality of their recorded output began to wane after Demanufacture, I still followed the bands music none the less. Like many I cringed upon hearing Digimortal yet felt disappointed when their dissolution was announced shortly after the release of their Digital Connectivity DVD. I always thought they had a few more good albums in them and with their reformation and subsequent release of Archetype; my affection for the band was vindicated. The much heralded return to form is classic FF. Drummer Raymond Herrera never sound more machine like or precise and locks down perfectly with the guitars on cuts like Slave Labor and Act of God. Burton C. Bell has simply never sounded better. His rougher vocals have lost some of their power from the bands heyday but do the job quite effectively. His clean vocals have never been as good as this though. Often purposely off key-his clean vocals previously merely contrasted with the starkness of the music, but on the title track (simply one of FF’s best songs, bar none) and the haunting Human Shields, Burtons vocals soar with a power and emotion not heard on any previous FF record. Chunky-D’s …uh, Dino’s departure and subsequent replacement in bassist Christian Olde Wolbers promotion hasn’t proven to be a detriment in the slightest. In fact, had you not known about the dissention in the racks, you be hard pressed to tell anything has changed. If anything has, it’s the fat (no pun intended) has been deleted from a band whose compositions where the epitome of stripped down. The songs are blunt and straight and to the point, and the entire better for. Drawbacks? A few. The production is a bit dry and processed (think …And Justice for All) and could use a little bottom end. And although I still bought both versions, I still think it sucks to release more then one version of an album with exclusive content (nee DVD) that the fans have to either decide on which version to buy or get them both. Still, a fantastic return to form from one of my all time favorite bands. And like they say on Cyberwaste “Nothing! You say! Matters! To us!” Welcome back boys. Now don’t screw up the follow up.