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Fear Factory: Transgression

Fear Factory have been around the metal scene for quite a long time now, and their brand of space age cyber metal has garnered them legions of fans and plenty of strong album sales. Their latest and fifth studio release Transgression has moments of intense heaviness that will easily rank alongside some of their finest songs. Tracks like "Empty Vision" pummels with Pantera-like intensity, but contains the trademark FF harmomies, and "540,000 F" is a raging metal machine complete with crunchy guitar rhythms and Burton Bell's throaty growl. The guitar work of Olde Wolbers slays on the crushing title track, which is a song that sounds meant for the stage with its anthem like feel and brutally heavy guitar riffs and rhythms. "Contagion" mixes melodic clean vocals and keyboards with angry shouts and thick riffs, and is one of the most memorable songs on the CD.

The second half of the CD is where things get a little interesting. "Echo Of My Scream" is an atmospheric and ballady prog-rocker with clean melodic vocals and strings. "Supernova" and "New Promise" are catchy alternative type numbers, not what you would expect from FF, and the cover of U2's "I Will Follow" is well done, but I'm wondering what hardcore FF fans will think of it. Killing Joke's "Millenium" is more like what you would expect from a FF cover song, and they do a great job on this song. It's not until "Moment of Impact" that the band comes back full-throttle with some lethal industrial thrash, almost bordering on death metal, featuring some inspired growling from Burton and plenty of wicked guitar riffs. For the extreme metal fans, this one's the highlight of the album for sure.

So, a release that will surely surprise some with it's depth and variety, but it also might polarize some longtime fans. Transgression gets a thumbs up in my book, as it shows a band who has greatly matured and is not afraid to take a chance or two.

Track Listing
1. 540,000 F
2. Transgression
3. Spinal Compression
4. Contagion
5. Empty Vision
6. Echo Of My Scream
7. Supernova
8. New Promise
9. I Will Follow
10. Millenium
11. Moment Of Impact

Added: September 29th 2005
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Fear Factory Website
Hits: 3751
Language: english

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Fear Factory: Transgression
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-09-29 23:10:56
My Score:

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines "transgress" as to "step beyond or go beyond limits". With the release of Transgression by Fear Factory the band has done just that. This CD works on previously introduced themes and introduces a wide variety of new ones mixed in with what you expect from them. The CD starts off with "540,000 Fahrenheit" and "Transgression" which are very heavy and intense but people who have followed the band for awhile might find some of the CD confusing. You need to be of the mindset that bands change styles and musical delivery as time goes by. Noted for their industrialized sound first and foremost you can recognize that texture in the beginning tracks, yet midway through the CD you will notice a change. Some of this piece is classic Fear Factory with brutal riffing, drumming and vocals. However, the atmospheric ballad of "Echo Of My Scream" will take most fans by surprise. It's a highlight of the record since it shows how subtle and melodic Burton Bells voice can be. Perhaps some of the change is due to having new members recording with them for the first time. Joining Bell and Hererra are Christian Olde Wolbers (guitar) and Byron Stroud of Strapping Young Lad also makes his first appearance on bass. The lineup works very well together and besides the killer guitar work of Wolbers, I think Stroud brings a little of that SYL madness to the band. The song "Empty Vision" exemplifies this new roster especially well.

A few surprises await the listener as well as they make their way through the CD. Deciding that a couple of covers would make the final cut, the band delivers an almost dead on cover of U2's classic "I Will Follow". There is some moments of heavy in it, but the track mostly remains true to its original version. When asked how the choice was made of Burton, he simply replied "We've always liked the song". They also did a Fear Factory rendition of Killing Joke's "Millennium". The original is similar to the way FF did it, but this one held some of their signature style. I have to say that I liked the record since it offered a little more to the listener than simply just sticking with heavy on every tune. It showed off the diversity and progressive nature that this band actually has. It was a musical experiment that works and can come off excellent in a live situation. I look forward to catching this band when touring begins. Old school fans of Fear Factory might be put off since this is a different record for the group. You need to approach it with an open mind is the easiest way to advise you. Personally I lean towards more melody than most, and this record succeeded on levels I enjoy. The CD is also released as a dual disc but I did not have the copy to review and am not able to comment on it as result.

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