Joshua: This is definitely one of the more difficult reviews I've had to write, for two reasons:
1. I've been a huge fan a huge fan of FEAR FACTORY since before "Demanufacture" was released. They have always been producing excellent music and I had high hopes for this release.
2. It was damn hard to actually listen to the whole album all the way through without getting sick to the stomach!!
The first track, "What Will Become" starts off nicely. It's typical FEAR FACTORY, albeit simple, but a good song nonetheless. However, I'm afraid it's downhill from there. Now, that's not to say it's a completely worthless pile of crap, but let's just say the calibre of songs are nowhere near as good as those found on past releases. Songs like "Digimortal" and "Linchpin" lean towards a sound very similar to KORN, with those Nu-Metal simplistic riffs and song structures. In fact, most of this album follows that route. I just get the feeling that Burton and company decided to cash in on the growing Nu-Metal fan-base. Hell, they've even enlisted the help of rapper B-Real to lend his "talent" to the cover of CYPRESS HILL's "Back The Fuck Up" (sigh).
All of the above would have been forgivable if not for one thing: Burton's singing. This has to be some of the worst singing I've heard by anyone! Gone is the Death-growl that we've come to love. Now it's just a rough yell. And his clean vocals are rarely in tune. I've had to pause the music on numerous occasions and just ponder what the hell was coming out of my speakers. What happened to the awesome Death/clean vocal-combination that could be found on "Demanufacture" and G//Z/R?
All I can say is that I'm sorely disappointed in this release by a band that used to be an innovator in the music scene. Now, FEAR FACTORY are nothing more than followers. Oh, how the mighty have fallen...
Mathieu: Sadly, I have to agree with Josh on this one. This album is so disappointing, it's almost a shame a band with as much potential as FEAR FACTORY would put out a record like "Digimortal".
True, one or two songs on the record could be counted as "kinda not so bad" ["Acres Of Skin", "Byte Block" and the bonus track "Never End"] and one song could also be qualified as good [the aforementioned opener "What Will Become"], but still, this is all sub-standard FF-material. To say the songs are watered-down versions of the preceding albums would be an understatement. FEAR FACTORY has never been about complexity or about technicality, it has always been about pure riffing with effective drumming. The kind of songs you cannot stop banging your head on. This album is as simple as any of the other three FF, but it's boring, awfully boring. Nothing is memorable, nothing is intelligent, nothing will push you to play "Digimortal" again and again. This album is nothing!
Whenever I listen to "Demanufacture" or "Obsolete", I wonder how Dino [guitars] manages to be so precise while playing those hyper-fast riffs. I often stand there in awe and think that this cannot be played by a human being [again, not because of the complexity, but because of the precision and the aggression]. With "Digimortal", those ultra-rapid rhythmic guitars are gone and so is Dino's demonstration of talent. Burton's vocals are downright annoying. Raymond's drumming is okay, I guess, but never as creative as on FF's first three albums. I like the use of electronics on some songs though. A couple of sound effects are well-placed and add to the [already boring] experience, but still, most of the other noises make you feel like you're playing an old Atari video game.
Instead of going on and on about how much I hate this record and how it's not worth checking out, I'll finish this review with this little piece of advice: You like FF? Don't buy "Digimortal".