There was once a time when FEAR FACTORY was renowned as innovators, melding the sounds of technology and heartless machinery with the brutality of Metal. The band’s long career of ups and downs have found them go from Death-esque Metal on the earlier releases to a sound closer to Nu Metal on the newest material. So, how does “Transgression” fit into the FEAR FACTORY discography? Well, let me just say that it is far less than spectacular.
Not only has FEAR FACTORY continued to tone down their trademark electronic influence, but they have decided to fill the album with generic second-rate Neo-Thrash riffs that sound like they could have been written by any of the latest hip, flavor-of-the-week Metal bands. The heavier songs on this album are something that a band of FEAR FACTORY’s experience should be beyond by now. The softer songs, which make up a lot of the second half of the album, come off as derivative and uninspired. If this “softer approach” is an attempt at innovation, someone might want to let FEAR FACTORY know that a Metal band covering U2 isn’t all that original at all.
Now, don’t get me wrong, “Transgression” sounds great. The production is fabulous and the songs are actually all pretty catchy. There are moments that come off as really great, but they are too shortly afterwards marred by clichés. If you’ve listened to any Modern Metal, you’ve heard this album already. Unless you’re a diehard fan of the band, skip out on this one, as you’ll find nothing interesting here. (Online January 3, 2006)