Fear Factory: Demanufacture
31/01/11 || InquisitorGeneralis
The Fear Factory rollercoaster is a long, bumpy, fat ride that has seen some amazing highs and jaw-dropping lows over the last two decades. The deplorable duo of “Digimortal” and “Transgression” are definitely the troughs. There are few out there who would argue with that. Recently, the band has been reviewed with the solid Mechanize which was released in early 2010. However, without drummer Ray Herrera in the mix Fear Factory is just not the same. Gene Hoglan is an excellent musician and his performance with the band so far has been impressive. But, Fear Factory’s sound and style was defined by Ray’s playing.
Speaking of Fear Factory’s sound and style, “Demanufacture” is the top o’teh fucken mountain and undeniably the best record the band has ever made. With Ray Herrera now gone from the flock there is no chance in Hell that Fear Factory will ever make another album half as good as this. “Demanufacture” is the moment where all the various influences that impact Fear Factory clicked: the industrial pounding, the death metal riffs, the clean/brutal vocal delivery and the angry, anti-establishment lyrics all congeal together into a mass of brain-fucking extreme metal that truly stands out as one of the best records of the 90’s.
With their debut record “Soul of a New Machine” Fear Factory first combined industrial styles and themes with death metal heaviness and blasting. While “Demanufacture” is a step down from its predecessor in terms of brutality, it definitely ups the melody and groove and posses a sound and feel that no band, not even Fear Factory themselves, as ever been able to even come close to. Unfortunately, I think the high level of achievement and quality of this record has been somewhat bittersweet for Fear Factory because no matter what they seem to do, they are always compared to “Demanufacture” and found wanting. Success can be its own worst enemy…
8. If all of “Demanufacture” sounded like the first four tracks, this is would be a solid 10 with no questions asked. The second half of the record is not bad, “Body hammer” is a contender for best Fear Factory song ever, but it is certainly not as memorable as the front end. Brutality, groove, technicality; all are done to perfection. Gone (thankfully) are the sloppy, poor-sounding blast sections from “Soul of a New Machine” and instead we get heavier, better flowing parts like the choruses in the fantastic “Self bias resistor” and the breakdown at the end of “Zero signal”. “Replica” was definitely Fear Factory’s attempt to make their sound more accessible to the general, pussified public and it is a pretty solid success. You get everything you like about the band (intense drumming, diverse vocals, and heavy riffs) in slightly toned down, blast-free, easy to digest format.
The only songs on here I regularly skip are the boring and unexciting “Therapy for pain” and “New breed” which for some reason just does not do it for me. Even the cover song “Dog day sunrise” is highly enjoyable. It also fits into the same category of accessibility as “Replica”. However, “Self bias resistor” is my favorite song by Fat Fantasy and never, ever gets old. “Body hammer” is not too far behind. Both of these tracks fully embody the post-industrial sound the band is going for. Both kick ass.
9.5 “Demanufacture” has the perfect sound to match its industrial style and tone. I have heard complaints that the kicks are way too loud. If you think that, you are way too pussy. Burton’s vocals are just right and Dino’s grinding guitars are right up there with Ray’s mechanical drum assault. I am sure there are triggers being used here to augment the drum sound, but I have seen Ray live tear these songs up so the dude’s skill is unquestionable. There is not too much stand-out bass but with the drums pounding you like a battery of 155mm howitzers you don’t really need it. Hook “Demanufacture” up with a kick-ass sound system or some pimpin’ headphones and enjoy the ride.
7.5. When compared to finger-tapping madmen like Chuck Schuldiner, Dimebag Darrell, or Yngwie “Can’t get my dick out of Lord K Philipson’s mouth” Malmsteen, Dino doesn’t cut the mustard. However, that is not what Dino Rossi is going for on “Demanufacture”. On here, it’s all about the riffs and Dino dishes them out with gusto. Some of the best are the breakdown at the end of “Body hammer” which totally rules and the past fast, almost thrashy lines pepper the opening, title track. Still, with few standout leads and solos, ze score does not enter the 8-10 range.
9. Burton gets buckets of shit these days for his vocals, but they on point here. No other Fear Factory album has the balance between clean and heavy vocals that “Demanufrankfurter” has. To boot, both styles of vox are pretty fucken good. Something that also cannot be said about every Fran Friscilla CD. I am sure the studio helped with that because live Burton does not sound nearly this good. Still, the growls are intense and abrasive while the clean singing is not obnoxious. This is, without a fucking doubt, the best vocal performance Burton C. Bacharach has ever put to tape.
7. Dino the Dinosaur did ze bass work on here and it’s solid. Ray’s insane drumming is the driving force of “Demanufacture”‘s rhythm section, but Dino’s bass is in there laying that industrial pavement too. I give the dude credit for doing double duty on bass and guitar. Neither is amazing, but both are done well.
10. I’m giving a perfect score here because I have yet to listen to a record where the drums make more of an impact and power the songs more than Ray’s do on “Demanufacture.” His sound is awesome and he unleashes one technical beating after another. Ray was certainly not the first drummer to use two bass drums, but I truly believe he was the drummer who really brought it to the forefront of extreme music in the early 90’s. Were players like Dave Lombardo of Slayer (duh), Marquis Marky of Coroner, and Vinny Daze of Demolition hammer doing some serious shit with the double kicks before Ray? Absolutely, but Ray really made them an integral, dominating part of the music.
I think “Demanufacture” is hands-down his strongest performance. He mixes up straight ahead pounding with lots of stop/go tempo changes and machine-gun bursts. There are too many individual moments of awesomeness to point out but “Self bias resistor”, “Pisschrist”, and “Demanufacture” are all career-defining performances and lessons in metal drumming that have clearly influence what tons of drummers are doing today.
9.5. For some unknown, and probably gay reason, I really like the lyrics on here and find myself singing along with them relentlessly. The songs on here cover what you would expect; being brainwashed by the media, hating on Jeebus, being pissed, etc etc. But, they work and are memorable. I am sure Christ-haters like Lord K and Nergal will enjoy the following lines from “Pisschrist”, a song that first appeared years before this on the previously unreleased Concrete record…
Face down, arms out
Nailed to the cross of doubt
Blood runs like rain
Drowning for this world in vain
As painful as those lines might be, nailed down the old Nazarene is not a central theme to “Demanufacture”. Right off the bat on the album’s awesome title track Burton lets you know that Uncle Sam and Aunt Technology are the real villains…
Desensitized by the values of life
Maligned and despaired by government lies
Revenge is so strong
I taste it on my tongue
My gun will be
Your angel of mercy
Cool, catchy, and not goofy and/or stupid is what I like in my metal lyrics (see any 90’s Death album) and Fear Factory deliver all of that on “Demanufacture”. Aces.
8. The logo is not as cool as the cover image below, but it is still pretty solid. You get the band name in rusty looking, decayed purple letters. It fits the theme and goes along with the rest of the cover so nice job, fuckos.
9.5. I love this cover like the palm of my right hand. It perfectly sums what the band is all about with the half human ribcage, half computer barcode image. I have this cover on a t-shirt that is almost completely worn out but I still wear it proudly, showing off my arm pits and chest hair, because I like the image so goddamn much. It is distinct, interesting, and relevant to what the album is about.
8. I have a 2 CD remastered version with a big, fat booklet full of lyrics and pictures and shit. It’s pretty cool, I used to have the old one but I’ll be damned if I remember what was in there.
Overall and Ending Rant
“Demanufacture”, unlike many other Fear factory albums, has stood the test of time and still sounds fantastic even though a million bands since 1995 have gone way beyond this in terms of technicality and aggression. It is no coincidence that Fear Factory today still closes their live concerts with four or five songs straight from “Demanufacture”. This is the album that will forever define the band’s legacy and impact on metal music. Also, it is the album that will always save their monkey assess when the put out a piece of shit like “Transgression”. Thankfully, Fear Factory seems to be doing well now in the wake of “Mechanize”. Still, I am hoping that the original unit will join back up and somehow find a way to make another record as thoroughly awesome as “Demanufacture”.
- Released: 1995
- Website: www.FearFactory.com
- Label: Roadrunner Records
- Burton C. Bell: vocals
- Dino Cazares: guitar, bass guitar
- Raymond Herrera: drums
- 01. Demanufacture
- 02. Self Bias Resistor
- 03. Zero Signal
- 04. Replica
- 05. New Breed
- 06. Dog Day Sunrise (Head Of David cover)
- 07. Body Hammer
- 08. Flashpoint
- 09. H-K (Hunter-Killer)
- 10. Pisschrist
- 11. A Therapy for Pain