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Looking at Fear Factory 2009

28 August 2009 8 Comments

By: Will Edwards

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A lot of people give Burton Bell sh*t for going “public” with his feeling towards metal, Fear Factory, life and his role as a father, etc.

Burton C. Bell

Burton C. Bell

In 2002, when Slipknot disbanded, Corey Taylor said some very harsh things about the band, things that today, he gladly owns up and admits were unfair and untrue. One could say he was almost apologetic towards the whole thing.

James Hetfield flat out dissed thrash metal once. He basically said Metallica had “outgrown” that style of music, and they’re more about experimenting and doing things they’ve not done before. He was too “mature” to be putting out the same CD over and over again “like other bands that came from our area,” basically taking a stab at Slayer and Testament. St. Anger comes out, and Metallica‘s fans throw them to the dogs…5 years later, you have Death Magnetic which in my opinion is complete and utter wank. That’s right, WANK. To me, that’s a CD that not only tries WAY too hard to be “relevant” by today’s standards, but is also Metallica‘s sad attempt to cash in on the newborn popularity of thrash over these past couple of years. A genre that Hetfield (and Lars) were way too quick to dismiss several years prior. What an amazing bass player like Rob Trujillo is doing in that sinking ship is beyond me. He didn’t really do much in Death Magnetic, and is certainly not being given the chance to shine.

Dino Cazares

Dino Cazares

Robb Flynn and Machine Head can also be blamed for something similar. There’s no denying that The Blackening is a phenomenal record, but the huge metalcore/emo/hardcore choruses were certainly quite unusual for a band like Machine Head. While I’ve always loved the song “Halo” – it took me a long time to accept that chorus. It seemed like too much of an attempt to sound like the “popular” and “mainstream” metal bands of that time. Trivium and Killswitch Engage are two of the many bands which come to mind.

Mike Patton is another guy who for a long time, used to be very negative about Faith No More and always talked about how he was onto “better and more interesting” things. Faith No More are now back, and people seem to be eating it up, no questions asked.

I don’t see a problem with any Burton has said. He simply said what he felt at the time. People are allowed to change their minds. I think the new Fear Factory lineup is absolutely immense. Byron Stroud? Gene Hoglan? Dino Cazares? So much potential. If history has taught us anything, it’s that whatever project Gene plays in, it turns to gold. There is definitely a fire, a passion and a desire to make a great record there.

I believe City of Fire was Burton’s first step into re-entering the world of hard rock/metal again. After that, I believe that’s when he started contacting Dino regarding rejoining Fear Factory. Raymond Herrera and Xerox (Christian Olde Wolbers) were obviously having none of it, and according to Burton, who claims to have 2 messages saved where Raymond basically said that he absolutely wanted nothing to do with Burt or Dino ever again. I think Fear Factory could not continue unless Dino and Burt took the legal action that they did. Contrary to popular belief, Dino and Burton filed the lawsuit first, claiming that they had every right to use the name. Fair enough if you ask me. Why should Fear Factory die just because Ray and Xerox were unwillingly and foolishly refusing to dump the wh*re manager? F**k that. I support them 100% in their decision to take legal action against Ray and Chris. Were I in their position, I would have done the same thing.

Now, Dino, who’s not exactly known for mincing words, has stated that Burton did say a lot regarding his position in life and as a father, but that’s not because he had outgrown metal, he simply hadn’t been inspired to write for metal. I think that’s true to a certain extent. Had it not been for City of Fire, Burton would most likely still be talking about how he’d “outgrown” metal to this day.

I guess we all mature and we look back at our lives, and we think of our legacy, you know? the whole “what do I want to be remembered for?” thing. I think for Burton, being remembered as “that guy who sang for that aggressive metal band” wasn’t something he felt truly represented his true nature. It’s only fair for him to try and do something about it, however, I believe he approached it wrong. He could’ve done Ascension of the Watchers without bad mouthing metal, but the fact is, he did. In such a harsh economy and this recession basically affecting almost every person in most countries, Burton had to think of where he stood and realized, the money was probably tight. Ultimately, Burton has a family and kids to provide for and I doubt his Fear Factory “savings” would last forever.

It’s time to get back to work and ensure a good living for his family and kids. That’s a perfectly good reason to go back to a band. Family takes priority, well, it SHOULD take priority over anything else in this life, in my opinion anyway. If his main reason for doing this is just so he can ensure a good living for himself and his kids for the years to come, then hey, that’s a much nobler reason than 99% of these plastic bands who are corporately groomed and pre-packaged by the record companies to be “cash cows”.

Fear Factory have never been a household name. They certainly have their hardcore fans and I don’t think that Fear Factory will reach the level of success Machine Head reached with The Blackening, but still, I think they stand a chance at making an incredible comeback with their new record. A CD that proudly stands next to Soul of a New Machine, Demanufacture and Obsolete.

What a lot of people seem to forget is that every musician out there that plays music for a living…is doing exactly that. They’re doing it for a living. They get paid, and they make money from it. Is it really so bad for Burt and Dino to take this super line up and try to make a living from it? I don’t see anything wrong with it. Bills don’t pay themselves.

Asesino with Dino Cazares (Center)

Asesino with Dino Cazares (Center)

Dino actually makes a good amount of money touring with Divine Heresy and Asesino, not as much as say, a band like Metallica would make on tour, but he definitely makes enough to get by. I honestly don’t believe this is a desperation move. While I agree that it’s somewhat motivated by money, I truly believe there is a spark and chemistry between all four guys when they’re in a room jamming. I certainly think Gene would’ve long bailed if he felt it was a sinking ship or if he didn’t agree with the music that was being played. That you can bank on that for sure.

Divine Heresy

Divine Heresy

I am actually a huge fan of Dino’s work, and own every CD Dino has ever played on. I don’t care if he is this huge “controlling” and “ego maniac” that he’s sometimes made out to be, it doesn’t take anything away from the music he writes. I love Dino purely as a musician, I could careless if he is like Axl Rose in real life. It’s about the music, not about the people playing it. I think if the music is top notch and of the highest standards, who cares if the people playing it are complete morons?

Fear Factory - Original Lineup

Fear Factory - Original Lineup

I think people should give Burton a break, and let his new music speak. On the 15th of August, I took the liberty of ordering City of Fire‘s album from their site, I am just patiently awaiting that, but from the sounds of things, Burt’s passion for singing and metal has definitely returned and he’s definitely on a path to prove himself. The music certainly sounds top notch. Maybe you agree with me, maybe you don’t, but I feel this Fear Factory is going to surprise a lot of people. In the beginning of July, somebody posted a short clip of Dino recording a new tracks for the new upcoming Fear Factory album on YouTube. The riffing was insane. I mean, Fear Factory aren’t exactly known for their super technical shredding, so it was very impressive by that standard. The riffing sounded quite extreme, unfortunately, the video was taken down about two days later, but it was certainly interesting.

Maybe Fear Factort won’t come back with the best album of their career, but I believe it will be on par with their best even if it doesn’t surpass them. At the end of the day, it’s the music that counts.
I respect Burton as a person and as a vocalist, I can see where he’s gone wrong, but I can see past that, I know Burton is not purely motivated by greed. Have you seen where he lives? For a “rockstar”, he’s certainly a very humble one. If you want to stay relevant and if you want to be respected in the music industry, you have to keep working and you have to be putting out good music. Burton knows this, and I think these days, it’s much more important for him to continue playing music and be able to make a living from it than just sitting around dismissing a genre that he happens to be extremely gifted and very good at.

I will support Burt and Dino’s projects until the day they stop. It’s because of Dino why I’m actually going to a Guitar Academy this year and on my path to playing music for a living. Dino is certainly one of the main musicians that have had the biggest impact in my musical life. I feel like I owe it to him to keep supporting his projects.

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  • Duckie said:

    I totally agree. What an eloquent defence of Burton and Dino.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • FxBLeSSeD said:

    That photo of Dino with the perm is hilarious.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • polaroidgrl said:

    Andrew and Darius are both sexier than all the guys in any version of Fear Factory.

    I listened to the end of this week’s show with Shawn and Andrew commented how he liked the AotW album. I’m not a FF fan. I did check AotW out and thinks it’s a chill release.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Dennis said:

    This is a total fanboy post. The only reason Andrew allowed this editorial is because he agrees.

    City Of Fire? Is this reviewer deaf?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Will said:

    total fanboy post?

    because I have an opinion that differs to yours?

    okay. good one.

    plenty of people in bands today which were inspired by Metallica that defend St Anger and Death Magnetic. Nevermind the fact that Metallica tried SUING THEIR OWN FANS a few years prior (Napster, anyone?).

    They still defend Metallica to this day. Why? does that necessarily make them fanboys? some people owe it to keep supporting the bands that have given them a goal and something to accomplish in life.

    I could careless if Dino and Burton formed a pop band tomorrow called “The Gay Bandits”. it wouldn’t affect how I feel about the earlier stuff. If I don’t like a project or a person, I will not support it, however, if I do like the project, regardless if the person is a douche or not, I will support it. it’s the music that counts.

    and yes, I like City of Fire. so what? what bands do you listen to? you’re so quick to judge other people and discredit them because of their tastes.

    Different people, different tastes. think before you speak next time 😉

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • zebo said:

    you have to take all of it with a grain of salt, ppl on the net can be buttholes

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  • yatshu said:

    this album sucked balls, but i think the review was interesting none the less

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  • Dennis said:

    You got that right – TOTAL FANBOY.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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