1998, Music

°BSΩLE+e (1998) by Fear Factory

I have still not listened to all that much industrial metal in my life, given how much metal I’ve listened to, and so I can’t really say where this sits in the evolution of the genre. The only thing I can really say is that it sounds a whole hell of a lot better than the late ’80s and early ’90s industrial metal I’m familiar with, I assume for the simple reason that technology had improved rather a lot in the interim.

If you are looking for a loud, pretty pummeling industrial album, you could do a lot worse. The guitars are pretty damn far forward in the mix and the industrial aspects – the programming and what have you – are also mixed well enough that it still sounds vaguely “industrial.” There are some pretty intense deathy vocals too. For those who are put off by such things, there are more melodic vocals as well (more on that in a moment).

The riffs are good enough and the melodies are catchy enough for the genre (actually catchier than I was expecting). The lyrics are what you would expect, but I generally have low expectations for metal lyrics, so that’s okay with me. (There is a plot, but of course.)

I have two quibbles with the vocals, which keep me from liking it more: When they rap, it’s usually awkward. And whoever sings the melodic parts – whether it’s the lead singer or someone else – does not have a great voice. If it’s the lead singer, he’s a much better screamer.

But the bigger issue is the sequencing, with the ballads, such as they are, backloaded, so your final memory of the album is a guy who is not a good singer singing over the softest tracks on a metal album. Not a great final impression.


All tracks written by Fear Factory, except “Edgecrusher” by Fear Factory & DJ Zodiac, and “Timelessness” by Burton C. Bell, Rhys Fulber & Dino Cazares.

  1. “Shock” 4:58
  2. “Edgecrusher” 3:39
  3. “Smasher/Devourer” 5:34
  4. “Securitron (Police State 2000)” 5:47
  5. “Descent” 4:36
  6. “Hi-Tech Hate” 4:33
  7. “Freedom or Fire” 5:11
  8. “Obsolete” 3:51
  9. “Resurrection” 6:35
  10. “Timelessness” 4:08
  • Burton C. Bell – lead vocals
  • Dino Cazares – guitars, backing vocals, mixing, strings arrangements (9, 10)
  • Christian Olde Wolbers – bass, backing vocals, upright bass (2)
  • Raymond Herrera – drums

Additional personnel

  • Rhys Fulber – keyboards and programming, strings arrangements (9, 10)
  • DJ Zodak – technical scratching (2)
  • Pat Hoed – intro voice (2)
  • Gary Numan – spoken words (8), vocals on (11)
  • Chelsea Devon – chamber strings (9, 10)
  • Cleo Ledingham – chamber strings (9, 10)
  • Coco Collingwood – chamber strings (9, 10)
  • El Feroce – chamber strings (9, 10)
  • Falstaff Fallen – chamber strings (9, 10)
  • Monty Washingto – chamber strings (9, 10)
  • Narcissa – chamber strings (9, 10)
  • Pepé Lamoco – chamber strings (9, 10)
  • Susie Hodge – chamber strings (9, 10)
  • Walter Creery – chamber strings (9, 10)
  • Mark Ferris – strings arrangements (9, 10)

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