After two tracks of the latest FF opus, The Industrialist, you could be forgiven for thinking ‘so what?’ and moving on to something a bit more stimulating. Not that those tracks, the title track and Recharger, are bad – far from it. It’s just that they offer nothing new to anyone who has been involved with this band for a while, seemingly happy to retread old ground whilst still managing to singe off a few eyebrows in the process.
Track three however, gets the juices going nicely and starts to enthuse the listener about the prospective delights to come. New Messiah is a spectacular success, fusing ice-cold eighties synth lines to the usual rifferama in spine tingling fashion on the instantly memorable chorus - add some squelching keyboard parps on the verse for extra atmosphere and you’ve got yourself something of a latter day FF classic.
However it’s back to business as usual for God Eater which is run of the mill Fear Factory in excelsis; Extreme background music, but background music nonetheless. Depraved Mind Murder is much more like it. Whereas the previous track just slides through your consciousness without leaving a trace of ever having entered your ears, DMM stoves your head in courtesy of some titanic double kick work (courtesy, I think, of a Doktor Avalanche-style drum machine, though I may be wrong) and a storming chorus that will stay with you for hours after first contact. Add in some stentorian hardcore style-bellowing at the end from Burton C. Bell and you’ll have been jolted fairly and squarely out of your God Eater-induced reverie. Virus of Faith keeps things ticking over nicely, featuring as it does another of Bell’s trademark ‘clean soaring’ choruses and some surprisingly tasteful axework from Dino Cazares. Just when you’re thinking you might be able to do without The Industrialist, it’s these little touches that keep you hanging in there, rooting for the band.
This is especially true of the fabulous Difference Engine. The icy sheets of eighties synthwork that underpin large parts of this song suggest that at last the band are following their hearts and wearing those post punk and gothic influences a bit more to the fore on sleeves that were first revealed all those years ago when the band first covered Gary Numan’s new wave classic Cars; That or they nodded off at some point during mixing, allowing producer Rhys Fulber the opportunity to add some blitz-dancing panache to proceedings. Either way, it’s a welcome break from the norm and the album’s high point song-wise.
Disassemble is a bile-spitting, futuristic hardcore romp carried by the sheer spite and conviction of Bell’s delivery, it’s insistent, driving ‘chorus’ will blow the roof of wherever the band plays on their upcoming North American tour, of that I’m sure, and the song – easily the angriest of the album – ends on a pleasantly muted note, bringing some much needed respite to the senses after the battering they’ve just received.
Of course, some might say that the whole ‘loud-quiet’ thing is this band’s only trick, and to a point there’s some mileage in such an accusation. However whilst they continue to execute the plan this well I can’t see many longterm fans having many qualms about such matters. That said, the seeds have now been sown, and I for one would like to see the band move away more radically from the norm on their next album and experiment a bit more with those synth sounds found on Difference Machine if this isn’t all going to start getting a little played out. Adapt or die!