How many bands within the last past years tried to copy FEAR FACTORY and were happy when they heard, that the Californian band split up. Without to name some bands, but the time to be happy about the split of the former genre leaders is now over, FEAR FACTORY are back and although “Archetype” has in no way any new elements, it’s exactly that sound of the new album, which discourages the whole competition. The free position of the guitar player, after the departure of Dino Cazares, was replaced by Christian Olde Wolbers, who earlier provided the bass guitar. A new bass player was found in their friend of ex-STRAPPING YOUNG LAD musician Byron Stroud and so the band could solve any line-up problems.
With new power, FEAR FACTORY are back in the old manner and used principally the best ideas from their former released albums, ennobled them with their professionalism and created new great songs. The cosmos, FEAR FACTORY living in, is already fully grazed of themselves and the quintet seem to have no ambition to watch beyond the frontiers of this cosmos. It was initially obvious, that the fanbase would be divided in two categories. The one consists of the long years fans, who instantly hold their nose as the band tried to go beyond that mentioned frontiers and now, they get a 100% FEAR FACTORY album, and the other fangroup consists all those people, who spoke of “stagnation” already after “Demanufacture” or at least after “Obsolete”. “Archetype” is in a certain way pure stagnation but the new album is a first-class and dithyrambic record though.
The premise is, that you already love this band since their early days and likes their clinical, futurally sterile and murderous brutal sound. Exactly those fans wanted to have FEAR FACTORY back, their search for new fans was finished already for a few years and so, the new album after this reincarnation had only one possibility how it should sound: typical, absolutely authentical and brutal as in their founding days. It’s no joke but FEAR FACTORY in 2004 sound way more brutal than in their “Digimortal” period and on “Archetype”, they even crossed their views with the “Soul Of A New Machine” era. The opening track, “Slave Labor”, already overruns the listener with harsh double bass attacks, the distinctive voice of Burton C. Bell and the razorsharp killer riffs, which instantly stick to your mind.
Human or machine? The favourite question of FEAR FACTORY is soonly answered with “Cyberwaste”. The winner is humanly because the brutal ideas, you need for such a breaker, must stem from human minds and are only supported by machines. Such a rapid midpart with blast beat assaults wasn’t heard a long time from FEAR FACTORY. “Act Of God” is also quite fast and “Drones” is then an unbelievable groovy wall, which seem to be unbreakable and leaves only little hope through the clear and melodious vocals. The following title track is a first-class ear-candy and should shortly turn to a live shell. Without any compromises but full of melodies is “Corporate Cloning” and sets free all the frustration and anger of the last months and years. “Bite The Hand That Bleeds” is one of the real quiet moments of the new album and surprises with wonderfully lofty tones.
„Undercurrent“ has then absolutely nothing to do with soft tones, it rules once again the famous FEAR FACTORY brutality. “Default Judgement” isn’t that different but shortly turns into a mighty groover before “Bonescraper” pushes again the heaviness grade to another level and in terms of speed, it’s already temporary Grindcore like. After this storm, you will be treated with a preluding acoustic guitar, which opens for “Human Shields” and which shows FEAR FACTORY with their softest side. The first Industrial Metal ballad? May be, but one thing is sure: it doesn’t sound bad that calmer and more melancholic sides of FEAR FACTORY. The electronic and spherical “Ascension” ends the album before they offer a kind of bonus with the NIRVANA cover “School”.
As I have mentioned above, FEAR FACTORY won’t win any prizes for innovation but that isn’t resulting in an averaged or bad album of this Metal power. FEAR FACTORY have made the best within their genre with “Archetype” and they will also remain the number one in this style. This fact can’t be denied and so it’s very nice, that the four Californians found their way back to the hard music business and the result of “Archetype” is absolutely great. (Online May 30, 2004)