1995, Music

Demanufacture (1995) by Fear Factory

I thought I knew metal relatively well, and alternative metal in particular, but I didn’t know these guys until I listened to Obsolete recently. And, listening to this, I didn’t know it was the same band.

The backstory is that their debut took industrial metal to new, more extreme places, by bringing in death-influenced vocals and by having the drums performed by an actual human. I haven’t listened to their debut album but I’ve read that this is debut 2.0, with better (and fewer) songs and better playing. I have no idea if that’s true.

What I do know is this is very “metal” for industrial metal – it’s much closer to what I think of as “real” metal than, say, Ministry. Ministry’s music feels so much more like a hybrid of industrial and metal (and occasionally industrial dance as well). There is no such impression here: this is metal that is influenced by industrial.

Another positive is that it is relatively diverse compared to so much metal. Though the band often sounds like a death metal band trying to play industrial metal (a good thing), the lead singer stops screaming on occasion to actually sing. (He’s not the greatest, but most metal growlers aren’t great conventional singers.) There’s some (relative) musical diversity in the playing as well with keyboards (!!!) and a variation in the riffs: sometimes they groove instead play mechanical, like a much better version of White Zombie. And I just want to mention how impressive the drummer is. It’s pretty hard to play this much like a robot.

Apparently this album was massively influential, on industrial metal, on alternative metal in general and on something called “cyber metal”, which I have never heard of. (Some quick research suggests that cyber metal purists do not consist this cyber metal, but what do I know?)I can say that I have heard at least one band to have debuted later who really, really aped this sound.

It’s certainly one of the best industrial metal albums I have ever heard. And it’s probably the most diverse, too. Kind of inclined to agree with the consensus that it is a landmark.


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