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Fear Factory - Transgression

2005 Calvin/Liquid 8 records :: Reviewed by skeksis on 2005-09-14

Boy, this one lit up those message boards. Being a huge FF fan from the beginning, let me just get this one thing out of the way. I hate the production on this record. I hate it big time. It doesn't belong on a FF record, "big" name producer or not (Toby Wright). FF were always about being clinical, cold and precises. Toby Wrights production makes FF sound too organic. Sure, the instruments can breathe a bit more but it ends up making the record sound softer than it should. It keeps me up at night thinking that this would sound like if Andy Sneap produced this! OK, now that's off my chest, the album itself is actually not that bad. By no means an essential release, it sees the FF boys in new waters. Bassist turn guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers has the unenviable job of trying to keep Fear Factory's trademark sound intact while trying to move the group and expand on it. By no means a departure, it does have influences that really seemed to have pissed off the hardcore (nee closed minded) fans. I like it. The title track has a catchy main riff, and the closing track "Moment of Impact" is simply vicious. But that doesn't mean I also don't get a kick of the extremely melodic tracks like "Echo of my Scream" and "New Promise". Its these two tracks that Toby Wrights production work, letting the keys in beautifully, but not on the other tracks. I also question the need to include two cover tracks, U2's "I Will Follow" and Killing Jokes "Millennium", especially the latter. Why do a cover track if your going to play it almost exactly like the original??? That track more than any could have used a bit of FF's signature sound than any, yet it ends up sounding like a better produced version of the original. The band has been quoted as saying this is their experimental record, but it still holds its core sound. I'm interested to see where they go from here. Did I mention there is a...gasp...lead in there?! I found this enjoyable none the less.