4/14/2004 - Review by: MM
Fear Factory - Archetype - Reviewed by: double m
For those that may have worried about the quality of the band’s music following the departure of guitarist Dino Cazares, Archetype is a powerful return to form that, while not breaking new ground, revels in its mastery of familiar territory. The band has obviously had to alter their lineup somewhat, but in doing so has still managed to retain a sound both recognizable and more brutal. Fear Factory does not miss a step with former bassist Christian Olde Wolbers stepping into the guitar role and Byron Stroud from Strapping Young Lad handling bass on the road.
On the album itself, Wolbers pulled double duty recording both the bass and guitar parts. Drummer Raymond Herrera brings his trademark, breakneck rhythms and vocalist Burton C Bell is in fine harmonic and heavy form. With Wolbers pulling off two separate parts of the album, Archetype contains a singularity that keeps the band’s signature sound well intact.
Archetype does mark a rare departure for the band in that it is the first since Soul of A New Machine to depart from the theme/storyline of man vs. technology and tackle a variety of subjects. The band’s dealings with the music industry during their downtime is given harsh treatment on both “Slave Labor” and “Corporate Cloning”. “Cyberwaste” is a not-so-subtle message at the band’s online detractors while the title track is a textbook definition of what Fear Factory has become, both musically and lyrically. The more personal subject matter of the songs lends an intangible discordance to the music, giving the album an edge not seen since the band’s breakthrough release, Obsolete. That discordance present does not affect the performance in a negative way at all. Technically, the band sounds as polished as ever – almost like they never left.
For anyone who worried about whether Fear Factory would return with the same vigor and fire they had when the band looked to be over, fear not. Archetype is an authoritative display of a band hellbent on not only surviving, but rising above what they have had to endure and pounding their audience into submission as if they had never left.
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