Ruthlessly focused on metal's future since 1989, FEAR FACTORY deserve far more credit for their profound influence on heavy music. Just over three decades on from the release of "Soul Of A New Machine", Dino Cazares's crew are currently sprinting into a new era, with new frontman Milo Silvestro fully assimilated and, hopefully, new material on the way.
Before that, however, there is unfinished business to attend to. Originally released in 2012, FEAR FACTORY's eighth album "The Industrialist" was never the easiest album to love, largely due to the band's use of programmed drums. It might seem an odd thing to complain about, given FEAR FACTORY's futuristic aesthetic and affiliation with the world of industrial rock, but the decision to remix, remaster and replace those drums with the real thing (played by former member Mike Heller) makes perfect sense.
Now titled "Re-Industrialized", the album is transformed. These were always strong songs, of course, but this new version imbues everything with the same power and conviction that Cazares and co demonstrated on their best records, and the likes of "Recharger" and "Virus Of Faith" are ripe for reassessment. Bolstered by a bunch of bonus material that fills in any remaining technological blanks ("Fade Away" — a remix of "Recharger" by Cazares and long-time collaborator Rhys Fulber — is particularly exhilarating),  it now feels like a worthy successor to "Mechanize", originally released in 2010. That album was arguably a bigger milestone for FEAR FACTORY, as Cazares returned to the fold after a two-album absence, and immediately restored the band's strong identity, both with the help of a new lineup (Gene Hoglan!) and some of the strongest FF songs since "Demanufacture". The title track, "Industrial Discipline", "Fear Campaign" and "Christploitation" are all top-tier, not to mention ten times heavier than anything on FEAR FACTORY's previous album (the flawed and patchy "Transgression"). Although it tails off ever so slightly toward the end, the closing "Final Exit" saves the day, and is as epic, emotional and cinematic as anything in the band's catalogue. As an added treat, re-recorded versions of three songs from "Soul Of A New Machine" are tagged on at the end, and serve as a vivid reminder that Cazares and Burton C. Bell were true revolutionaries back in the death metal day. A chaotic history may have dented their legacy to some degree, but when you are confronted with records as brutal, imaginative and singular as these, the only sane response is to bow down.