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Fear Factory

Fear Factory

Metal rock band

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

After Fear Factorys second consecutive sellout concert at Londons Astoria in 1999, Ben Myers of Melody Maker declared the rock band the kings of nu metal. Myers further added, While Korn and Deftones operate on the hip hop crossover axis, these chaps take the dynamics of what was once speed metal and weld it to the best electrónicafrom band associate Gary Numan to Nine Inch Nails monolithic beats. Only, somehow, it sounds surprisingly fresh, almost groundbreaking. To see a band so focused, consistent and minimal still sounding like God punching sheet metal in a cathedral cant fail to excite. The Los Angelesbased band became one of the most popular speed metal/industrial acts of the1990s, gathering a loyal following of fans largely by grassroots touring. By the middle of the decade, with the release of 1995s Demanufacture, the band finally earned greater radio airplay and gained worldwide mainstream attention.

Fear Factory emerged in 1990 in Los Angeles, California, when members Burton C Bell on vocals, Diño Cazares on guitar and bass, and Raymond Herrara on drums decided to form a band. Bell, known for his dry, guttural vocal delivery, and Cazares had been friends for years and lived in a large house together with other roommates in Los Angeles. He was right into death metal, Bell told Australias Rebel Razor magazine in an article on the bands website. He introduced death metal to me and I introduced Godflesh to him, bands like that. Bell was a member of a local Los Angeles band called Hateface prior to forming Fear Factory. He compared their sound to early metal rock bands like Helmet and White Zombie. It was during his upbringing in Houston, Texas, that Bell became an avid fan of metal rock.

The group started out playing local gigs in Los Angeles, where they established a grassroots following, before landing a record deal with Roadrunner Records. In 1992, the band released their debut album, Soul of a New Machine. Soon thereafter, because of Fear Factorys endless touring schedule, the group recruited bassist Andrew Shives. The additional bass guitarist enabled Cazares to play guitar fulltime and allowed the band to tour more easily. From the onset, Fear Factory appealed to rock enthusiasts who dont like metal, but who still like their rock in violent, disruptive doses, according to Paul Hampelof the St. Louis PostDispatch. Punks who eschewthe likes of hair bands such as Iron Maiden (Fear Factorys unlikely tour mates [in 1996]) are some of the bands most ardent supporters. In 1993, Fear Factory released a second album, Fear Is the Mindkiller, also issued by Roadrunner. Unlike the groups debut, which focused on speed metal rock, Fear Factorys followup effort incorporated techno/industrial elements into the overall sound. At the same time, the popularity of techno

For the Record

Members include John Bechdel (born August 23, 1964; guest musician), keyboards; Burton C. Bell (born c. 1969; raised in Houston, TX; son of a National Public Radio correspondent [father] and an artist [mother]), vocals; Diño Cazares (bornSeptember 2, 1966), guitar, bass; Raymond Herrera (born December 18, 1972, in Mexico), drums; Christian OldeWolbers (born August 5, 1972, in the Netherlands; also lived in Belgium; joined group, 1994), bass; Andrew Shives (joined band 1992, left band 1994), bass.

Formed band in 1990 in Los Angeles, CA; signed with Roadrunner Records, released debut Soul of a New Machine, 1992; released Demanufacture, 1995; toured as part of Ozzfest concert series, 1997; single Cars from the album Obsolete crossed over to modern rock charts, 1999.

Addresses: Home Los Angeles, CA. Record company Roadrunner Records, 536 Broadway, New York, NY 10012, (212) 2747500, fax (212) 3346921. Website Fear Factory Official Website, http://www.fearfactory.com.

music was growing across Europe and the United States. The addition of electronic ingredients further increased the groups fanbase.

Personal conflicts led to the replacement of Shives by Christian OldeWolbers in 1994. After recruiting OldeWolbers, Fear Factory recorded their third album, Demanufacture, issued in 1995 by Roadrunner. According to Bell, the album surrounded the concept of stripping down societys laws, government, servitors, religion, and death. The whole disc is the story of ananonymous man of the future, the vocalist informed Hampel. He has lived in the stultifying, hateful atmosphere of a society ruled by the iron hand of a totalitarian system. One day, he snaps, sees the light of nonconformity and the importance of individuality.

For example, Pisschrist, a song inspired from a photograph by Andres Serrano thatdrewoutragefrom religious groups, questioned the power of religion. Regarding his own religious beliefs, Bell commented, as quoted by Rebel Razor, Im agnostic really. I believe in personal spirituality, but letting a group of people tell you how you should worship or what your spirituality is, is wrong. The lead singer also professed that one should believe in himself first and search for spiritual power from within. Expressing his satisfaction with the record, Bell added, I like listening to it myself, which says a lot because I didnt really listen to Soul Of A New Machine or Fear Is The Mindkillerthai much. But Im really proud of this record cause we worked very hard and even if I werent in the band Id probably buy the record. Following the release of Demanufacture, Fear Factory finally had greater radio airplay and continued to tour nonstop. As the band gained even more fans, they toured with bigname acts such as Biohazard, Iron Maiden, and Korn.

In the meantime, around 1995, Bell joined a side project with Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath. Butler formed a new band and enlisted Bell as the lead singer. Theres the Fear Factory element in there, but Im doing a lot more different things, Bell told Rebel Razor. Theres a couple of samples but theres no keyboards on the album. Theres four of us in the bandGeezer, myself, Dean Castranova who plays drums forOzzy[Osbourne], and a guy named Petro Howse whos been a friend of Geezers for a long time.

In the midst of exhaustive touring, Fear Factory found time to record a remix EP entitled Remanufacture, released in 1997. That same year, the group also joined the Ozzfest tour. Ozzfest 97, a hard rock and heavy metal road show assembled by former Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osboume, toured 21 cities that year and also featured bands such as Marilyn Manson, a reunited Black Sabbath, Pantera, Type O Negative, and Machine Head.

Fear Factory toured for the next two years and released the album Obsolete in 1999, which featured a cover version of Gary Numans classic single Cars. Were really big fans of the original, Cazares told Carrie Bell of Billboard. Fear Factory is brutal and heavy, but we still have a lot of melodic elements in our records and keyboards. So Gary [who appeared as guest vocalist for the remake] was a huge influence. By July of that year, the single reached number 40 on Billboards Modern Rock chart, marking the first time Fear Factory had crossed over to an alternative audience. Nevertheless, the group held mixed feelings about the songs success. Our record company saw it as a way to market Fear Factory to a new audience, and people ate it up, added Cazares. Which, in itself, is a cool thing, but we would be more excited if we bridged that gap with one of our own songs. We dont want to be known as a cover band.

The group resisted comparisons to other rock bands who caught the attention of alternative radio, feeling that Fear Factorys music provided a unique sound all its own. Our band is definitely still growing in America, but we didnt do this to get popular quick or copy some other band. We arent jumping on the Limp Bizkit [the popular rock/hiphop band] tip, noted Cazares to Bell. We created our own style and intend to use it.

Selected discography

Soul of a New Machine, Roadrunner, 1992.

Fear Is the Mind Killer, Roadrunner, 1993.

Demanufacture, Roadrunner, 1995.

Remanufacture, (EP), Roadrunner, 1997.

Obsolete, Roadrunner, 1999.Sources

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, August 7, 1999, p. 69.

Boston Globe, April 9, 1997.

Los Angeles Times, June 17, 1997; July 1, 1997.

Melody Maker, January 16, 1999; October 2, 1999.

St. Louis PostDispatch, February 29, 1996, p. 12; March 8,1996, p. 06E.

Washington Post, August 18, 1999.

Online

Fear Factory Official Website, http://www.fearfactory.com (November 24, 1999).

Rolling Stone.com, http://www.rollingstone.tunes.com (November 19, 1999).

Laura Hightower

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