Rating:
8.4
Fear Factory - Obsolete
28 July 1998


01. Shock
02. Edgecrusher
03. Smasher / Devourer
04. Securitron (Police State 2000)
05. Descent
06. Hi-Tech Hate
07. Freedom Or Fire
08. Obsolete
09. Resurrection
10. Timelessness
11. Cars [Gary Numan cover] [bonus]
12. 0-0 {Where Evil Dwells} [Wiseblood cover] [bonus]
13. Soulwound [bonus]
14. Messiah [bonus]
15. Concreto [bonus]


If the team is winning, you better not change it... And they didn't. Boosted by the impressive success of Demanufacture, the Californian act Fear Factory revealed their share in a flooded late 90's industrial rock/metal scene. The objective with Obsolete seems to have been a firm attachment to every possible aspect of the previous album, resulting in another conceptual work, with another ambitious narration of a dystopian tale.

Once again focusing on the impressively unexplored ''man vs. machine'' subject, the album is granted with a charming quality at first sight, from the hackneyed perception of human existence represented by the cover art, to the detailed tripartite storyline depicted in the booklet and through the music. The listener is taken to 2076 A.D., in a world where mankind lies helpless submitted to the oppressive laws of dictatorial machines, and runs downward into the obsoleteness that would mean its extermination.

With the disk finally spinning, the first four tracks (that congregates Scene One) present us to the main characters, from which Edgecrusher, leader of the oppositional terrorist group, stands above; the track named after him completely overrides the remaining three in this outset, showing exciting riffs, a strong chorus and a well exploited performance of DJ Zodiac's scratches. As the sole song of Scene Two, ''Descent'', follows, we have a break in the groovy brutality in favor of Fear Factory's famous soul-drift feeling, a slow cadenced and atmospheric song, reflecting the despair of Edgecrusher in face of his hopeless endeavor.

The re-acceleration of Dino's picks in synchrony with Herrera and Wolbers among the final scene resulted in ''Freedom Or Fire'', probably the most well-balanced and emblematic song of the band. Brutal in a tense way, it makes proper use of electronic features and deal with subjects such as self-immolation in anti-war protests. It's not hard for the listener to imagine himself in the midst of the chaos; the lyrics and sonority converge into an apprehensive climax as the matches fall from the rebel fingers. After those turbulent moments, the notorious single ''Resurrection'' guides us back to the emotional outcome, with an excelled keyboard performance and the echoed voice of Burton building the atmosphere for the upcoming gloomy finale.

Taking instrumental repertoire into consideration, Obsolete can be perceived as a carbon copy reproduction of Demanufacture, exhibiting subtle hints of experimentation. And the adoption of this accessible alternative sound, walking further and further from the death metal roots, was apparently a wise choice considering the album's successful financial and critical reception. Today, Obsolete still pales in comparison with the majority of its brother albums, but an impeller concept and a satisfactory number of memorable songs (appropriately hiding the insipid ones) earn for this album the honor of being very good.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 10


Band profile: Fear Factory
Album: Obsolete


 


written by Uirapuru | 28.08.2010


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

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vezzy - 28.08.2010 at 23:03  
Very well written. Never heard the album though.
Angelic Storm - 29.08.2010 at 00:21  
My favourite Fear Factory album. I love the concept, and the songs all smoke!

Nice review. xD
!J.O.O.E.! - 29.08.2010 at 00:41  
One of the best, and most readable, reviews I've seen on here in a while; it's great to see someone put a poetic spin on a review. Fantastic album too, as you've said. People, take note!
Vitriolic Hate - 29.08.2010 at 01:55  
Great review! Very well written indeed. (Break of the Edgecrusher... )
I_Die_Often - 29.08.2010 at 02:39  
FF disc I spin the most!
Aetherius - 29.08.2010 at 04:53  
Very enjoyable to read this review! Great album. Love the concept and the metal ^^
Troy Killjoy - 29.08.2010 at 05:53  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 29.08.2010 at 00:41

One of the best, and most readable, reviews I've seen on here in a while...

Indeed - I barely needed to make any edits in the proofreading process. I love it when people make my job easy.
Uirapuru - 29.08.2010 at 06:15  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 29.08.2010 at 05:53

Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 29.08.2010 at 00:41

One of the best, and most readable, reviews I've seen on here in a while...

Indeed - I barely needed to make any edits in the proofreading process. I love it when people make my job easy.


Lol.. glad I could compensate for my inumerous modification requests on the Therion review


And Thanks for the comments everyone! =D

An album with such attractive concept required almost full attention to such, that kinda ease up the whole writing.
Elodie Artour - 30.08.2010 at 03:00  
Wow! Awesome review! I haven't heard the album, either. This review is not just very well-written; it gives a clue about the whole concept of the record which obviously is a complex subject. I guess I should give "Obsolete" a try some day...
Thrash del Sur - 30.08.2010 at 13:45  
Good review! but I don't think this album was that similar to Demanufacture, in fact this album is closer to Nu Metal.
mariano - 30.08.2010 at 17:39  
Written by Thrash del Sur on 30.08.2010 at 13:45

Good review! but I don't think this album was that similar to Demanufacture, in fact this album is closer to Nu Metal.

True. Also the band sounds more "human" / less artificial in this album, like they didn't use drum machines at all -actually I'm not sure if they ever used one for Demanufacture, but it definitely sounds different.
Uirapuru - 30.08.2010 at 18:14  
Written by mariano on 30.08.2010 at 17:39

Written by Thrash del Sur on 30.08.2010 at 13:45

Good review! but I don't think this album was that similar to Demanufacture, in fact this album is closer to Nu Metal.

True. Also the band sounds more "human" / less artificial in this album, like they didn't use drum machines at all -actually I'm not sure if they ever used one for Demanufacture, but it definitely sounds different.


Yeah, it does sound more ''human''. From what I've read somewhere the trio ''Demanu/Obsolete/Digimortal'' represents stages in the man/machine struggles, the last one reaching a balanced existence. So they kinda have calculated the process of sound-softning..

Demanufacture does have its strenght as characteristic, due exactly to the drum machine, but aside from the experimental tracks on Obsolete (''Ressurection'', ''Timelessness'' and the DJ presence at ''Edgecrusher''), the albums are incredibly similar.

Its even possible to identificate which song of both albums can be associate by resemblance =

Replica - Descent
New Breed - Edgecrusher
H-K - Freedom or Fire
Zero Signal - Ressurection

Sure Obsolete already tends more to this alternative sonority, but its much closer to Demanufacture than to Digimortal.
Angelic Storm - 30.08.2010 at 19:08  
What? There's a drum machine on Demanufacture? That's news to me, I thought Raymond Herrera did all the drums on that album...

I actually think "H-K" resembles "Securitron" far more than "Freedom Or Fire".

I think Obsolete has a slightly warmer sound than the previous album, a bit less mechanical. And it's not as nu-metallish as Digimortal. The only track that really fits into that category is "Edgecrusher", with it's ultra detuned riff, and the record scratching in the mid-section. Its like a cross between those two albums, but it has it's own identity. And the concept is awesome, which further helps it stand out in their discography. xD
Thrash del Sur - 31.08.2010 at 20:29  
Written by Angelic Storm on 30.08.2010 at 19:08

What? There's a drum machine on Demanufacture? That's news to me, I thought Raymond Herrera did all the drums on that album...

I actually think "H-K" resembles "Securitron" far more than "Freedom Or Fire".

I think Obsolete has a slightly warmer sound than the previous album, a bit less mechanical. And it's not as nu-metallish as Digimortal. The only track that really fits into that category is "Edgecrusher", with it's ultra detuned riff, and the record scratching in the mid-section. Its like a cross between those two albums, but it has it's own identity. And the concept is awesome, which further helps it stand out in their discography. xD

Hahahaha the drum machine controversy in DemanuFacture, that takes me back to 97. Some Ppl said that it wasn't drum machine but drum triggers or viceversa and we all got drunk and pissed off arguing about that a considerable part of several nites hahahaha. Some drummers friends of mine (good ones by the way) told me that Raymond did that album with triggers but I don't know for sure and I don't care cause I like it anyway.

Obsolete is closer to Demanufacture than to Digimortal no doubts about it, but you said the only "Nu metal" song in Obsolete is "Edgecrusher" ?? Listen to "Descent", this song is really Kornish, but I like it so much and all along the album you can find nu metal and "Alternative" influences, but FF helped to create that sound which was ripped off by Ross Robinson and Korn, so the FF guys were riding the wave of those days doing a cool album with that great concept that gives you the impression of a movie... a really good movie!!!.
Marcel Hubregtse - 31.08.2010 at 20:34  
Written by Angelic Storm on 30.08.2010 at 19:08

What? There's a drum machine on Demanufacture? That's news to me, I thought Raymond Herrera did all the drums on that album...




It is new to me as well. As far as I know it is ALL Raymond, but wih the use of triggers. But then again 99% odf all modern brutal death metal, gothenburg metal, nu metal, modern thrashis recorded with triggers nowadays. And back in 1997 it was already common.
Triggers are imo horrendous cause they take away from the feeling and soul in drumming. But with the sort of music FF produces it does work well since it creates a nice cold machinelike sound.
!J.O.O.E.! - 31.08.2010 at 20:34  
I often heard it was triggers, only off hand though, never looked it.
Angelic Storm - 31.08.2010 at 22:09  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 31.08.2010 at 20:34
It is new to me as well. As far as I know it is ALL Raymond, but wih the use of triggers. But then again 99% odf all modern brutal death metal, gothenburg metal, nu metal, modern thrashis recorded with triggers nowadays. And back in 1997 it was already common.
Triggers are imo horrendous cause they take away from the feeling and soul in drumming. But with the sort of music FF produces it does work well since it creates a nice cold machinelike sound.


Yep, I knew Raymond used triggers. I do remember the rumours at the time saying it was a drum machine on Demanufacture, but thats all they ever were, rumours. lol

I agree with what you're saying about triggers, at least in general. In FF's case it does work well though, because they just add to the mechanical/machine-like sound that they have.

@"Descent": I think it sounds modern and mainstream, yep. But not really nu-metal. I still think "Edgecrusher" is the only song you could put sqaurely into that category. Although elements of it can be found in other songs. Speaking of it giving the impression of a movie, Ive often thought it would make an awesome movie. xD However, the chances are very high if it ever was made into a movie it would suck majorly!
mariano - 02.09.2010 at 00:14  
What the hell is a trigger anyway
Can someone explain what it is?
!J.O.O.E.! - 02.09.2010 at 00:19  
Written by mariano on 02.09.2010 at 00:14

What the hell is a trigger anyway
Can someone explain what it is?

As far as I'm aware it's where the noise of the drum whenever one gets hit is transplanted with a programmed sound instead of the natural, actual sound of the drum. It ensues a consistant (and identical) sound instead of varying sounds.
mariano - 02.09.2010 at 17:02  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 02.09.2010 at 00:19

Written by mariano on 02.09.2010 at 00:14

What the hell is a trigger anyway
Can someone explain what it is?

As far as I'm aware it's where the noise of the drum whenever one gets hit is transplanted with a programmed sound instead of the natural, actual sound of the drum. It ensues a consistant (and identical) sound instead of varying sounds.


Got it, thanks.

Anyway, looks like you're right about Raymond not using a drum machine:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demanufacture
Troy Killjoy - 03.09.2010 at 05:58  
Written by mariano on 02.09.2010 at 17:02

Anyway, looks like you're right about Raymond not using a drum machine:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demanufacture

Oh for sure! Wikipedia is of course the be-all/end-all source of official information.
!J.O.O.E.! - 03.09.2010 at 17:31  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 03.09.2010 at 05:58

Written by mariano on 02.09.2010 at 17:02

Anyway, looks like you're right about Raymond not using a drum machine:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demanufacture

Oh for sure! Wikipedia is of course the be-all/end-all source of official information.

It is when it's supplied with links to interviews backing up the statements, which that article has.
!J.O.O.E.! - 03.09.2010 at 17:32  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 03.09.2010 at 05:58

Written by mariano on 02.09.2010 at 17:02

Anyway, looks like you're right about Raymond not using a drum machine:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demanufacture

Oh for sure! Wikipedia is of course the be-all/end-all source of official information.

It is when it's supplied with links to interviews backing up the statements, which that article has.
Troy Killjoy - 03.09.2010 at 17:33  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 03.09.2010 at 17:32

It is when it's supplied with links to interviews backing up the statements, which that article has.

Ya I just like ragging on people who abuse Wikipedia citations.
!J.O.O.E.! - 03.09.2010 at 17:39  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 03.09.2010 at 17:33

Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 03.09.2010 at 17:32

It is when it's supplied with links to interviews backing up the statements, which that article has.

Ya I just like ragging on people who abuse Wikipedia citations.

I owe a whole lot of my Distinctions from college essays to Wikipedia. Wikipedia and the copy + paste tool anyway.

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