I’ve been waiting a long time for this one to drop; when it came in the mail shortly after the release date I didn’t know what to expect though. I figured that it would be o.k. at best. I was wrong–it’s very cool indeed! The songs all have distinct characteristics that keep them from melding into each other like many new age albums do, but they all have the same down-tempo backbone. I like that Burton had the guts to go into the places that HE wanted to go to on this album, because it seemed like with the last two Fear Factory albums that he wasn’t 100% into making heavy music after returning when Dino was given the boot. You can hear that his heart is MUCH more into these songs, even if his voice isn’t 100% on every tune (the guy’s been screaming for almost 20 years–his chords are bound to sound a bit outta tune from time-to-time). I was a bit put off by how his voice sounded on a few songs, but because you can hear that he’s fully into it that gives the songs a more truthful aesthetic I think, and makes them interesting–it’s cool to know that people are into the music that they make and aren’t just going through the motions.
With that said, hardcore Fear Factory fans will probably: think it’s meh but say they like it because they’re on Burt’s nuts, see what Burt’s getting at with it and dig it, or reject it because they’re unfamiliar with this type of genre. If you want heavy licks they’re not here; if you want a darker, brooding version of a Peter Gabriel/Brian Eno-type of mellow indie-pop music with some dark ambient plateaus mixed in then this is for you. If that last description sounded pretty good to you then all you really have to worry about is the last track which is mostly a 16 minute-long lp scratch-loop; boring for some but an interesting aesthetic in my opinion. This is an album that would like to be sat down with and paid attention to; not thrown into the Xterra’s booming stereo so that one can headbang.
Now…I think Burton should get in contact with a few folks for the sophomore album, mainly: Death Cube K (aka Buckethead), Lustmord, and John Neff (if he’s not helping out David Lynch on a new Bluebob album).