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Fear Factory - Transgression
"Transgression refers to an action that breaks some code or set of rules, that is, goes across or against basic assumptions or norms"

This reviewer thinks that Mr. Burton C. Bell gave a perfect introduction to the new Fear Factory album a few days ago:

'Transgression' is about stepping over boundaries. As a band, we transgressed our fears and made the record we have all been waiting to make. Every Fear Factory record was always three years apart, but between 'Digimortal' and 'Archetype' there was a member change and a lot of questions about the integrity of the band, as well as who was actually the driving force behind Fear Factory. I would call the last record a 'safe' record. Thus, the name 'Archetype'. It was archetypically what Fear Factory has always done. We wanted to come back into the game and re-establish our name without alienating any of our fans. We wanted people to hear it and say, 'This definitely is Fear Factory.' It was a defiant and proud, 'Here we are, back again.' We still had something to prove on 'Transgression'. We had to show ourselves that this is a multifaceted band. Not every song has to be 300 beats per second. There are all types of heavy. We’re definitely exploring the sounds of Fear Factory. This is an experimental record."

Fear Factory putting out an experimental record. Well if that doesn't make you curious, I don't know what will. When I started the cd I got a smile upon my face. "540,000° Fahrenheit", although not an incredibly heavy song, it's as typical as a Fear Factory song gets. Machine like rhytms, and a catchy chorus. The chorus is actually not as "cheesy" as some Fear Factory songs tend to be. This might be the hand of producer Toby Wright, who also produced cds with Metallica, Korn and Soulfly.

Up next was the titletrack "Transgression", one of the best songs on the disc in my opinion. This tune could have been on Demanufacture. The main riff is another piece of evidence that Christian Olde Wolbers is a worthy "replacement" for Dino Cazares. "Spinal Compression" is track number three, and hey; it still sounds like a typical Fear Factory album. I was starting to worry about the "experimental" factor of the disc because everything was progressing in a typical, nice FF style.

"Contagion" starts with a groovy riff which somehow feels like a nod to Meshuggah. It wouldn't suprise me if this song ends up as a single because the chorus is one of the most elaborate, synth-heavy singalong choruses that FF have done. But still..where is the "Transgression?"

When the slow, acoustic intro of "Echoes Of My Scream" started, I was finally hearing something "new". A ballad. The band has done slow songs before but this one has a typical ballad-structure, starting soft but building up towards a "grand finale" including violins. Too bad that Bell's vocals are a bit emtpy sounding. I somehow miss some of the "warmth" that is present on " Timelessness" from Obsolete.

Ex-Faith No More bassist Billy Gould plays along on "Supernova", which is basically a good rock-song. Very little metal to be found in this one, and I bet it will do well on the radio. This trend gets continued on "New Promise", but in this song we hear something that we never heard before with Fear Factory: A guitar solo! I can't say it's the greatest guitarsolo ever, but its definitely a change. I think I wouldn't mind some more guitarleads in the future.

Transgression has two cover songs: "I will Follow" from U2, and "Millenium" from Killing Joke. I don't really know the originals but "Millenium" is the one which at least sounds like Fear Factory, while "I Will Follow" is more of a fun extra. Personally I would have made it a bonustrack or something.

The sound of the cd is a bit more open than we are used to with Fear Factory. The drums do not sound as triggered as they once used to, and Christian's guitartone sounds open but stale. It sounds more "analog" than "digital", like it did on Obsolete and Digimortal.

Closer is "Moment of Impact", which is a very standard song, but with some guitarplaying in it that reminded me of the older, a bit more death metal influenced albums.

A band like Fear Factory can not make a "bad" song in my opinion. They have their own formula, skill and talent to make every song at least decent, with a cool riff, awesome drumming or a good chorus. If you're a Fear Factory "fan", you'll probably like this record, but I dont think Transgression represents what Fear Factory should be about.

My bottomline is,Transgression sounds like a lyric from Burton C Bell himself; A machine without a soul. The songs are good, but they don't gell with eachother. It's definitly Fear Factory and it has some of the heaviest and most melodic songs they have ever done, but somehow it doesn't click like "older" albums do. Maybe it has been Mr. Wright's doing, encouraging the band to spice up stuff, but I dont think it brings any cohesiveness to the Fear Factory Unit. Like Bell said; this album is a "Transgression". I hope the next album is an "Evolution".
 
Fear Factory - Transgression
70/1001Details Calvin Records / Roadrunner Records
Released on Tuesday Aug 23rd, 2005
Heavy Metal

Writer @Carn on Monday Aug 29th, 2005

Tags: #Fear Factory
Tracklisting 1. 540,000 Fahrenheit (4:29)
2. Transgression (4:50)
3. Spinal Compression (4:11)
4. Contagion (4:38)
5. Empty Vision (4:55)
6. Echo Of My Scream (6:57)
7. Supernova (4:33)
8. New Promise (5:15)
9. I Will Follow (3:43)
10. Millenium (5:26)
11. Moment Of Impact (4:03)
Line up Burton C. Bell - Vocals
Christian Olde Wolbers - Guitar
Byron Stroud - Bass
Raymond Herrera - Drums
Fear Factory, After All - Fear Factory is back!
Fear Factory, After All - Fear Factory is back!
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