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Fear Factory – 'Aggression Continuum' Album Review


1. Recode

2. Disruptor

3. Aggression Continuum

4. Purity

5. Fuel Injected Suicide Machine

6. Collapse

7. Manufactured Hope

8. Cognitive Dissonance

9. Monolith

10. End Of Line

There is (and has always been) something supremely unique about Fear Factory. The beautiful mix of Industrial Metal, melodic instrumental lines, and the alternating between screaming and melodic vocals mean that they are a band you can never mistake for anyone else. I know that they are also famous now for all the behind the scenes turmoil that has happened over the years (the latest of which means that the bands long time vocalist has now left the band before the release of this album), but I’m not going to get distracted by that.

So, does this sound like an album by a band who are falling apart? Or is it an album where they are on top of their game?

Is it strange to say that I’m pretty sure the answer to both of those questions is “Yes”?

The sheer anger and rage harnessed on this album really feels like music that is being made by people who are angry with the world, each other and themselves. If you are looking for a calm, relaxing listen, then this is not it. However, if you are looking for an album that you can’t help banging your head along with, then “Aggression Continuum” is one for you.

Like other Fear Factory albums, I always think that the album is greater than the sum of its parts, so I don’t normally pick individual tracks out to highlight, because the whole thing works beautifully as a sonic slab of anger and insanity. But I will say that two of my favourite tracks here are “Purity” and “Fuel Injected Suicide Machine”, which feel different to each other, have easily singable choruses, and make you want to bounce around the room and break stuff as viciously as possible!

That’s not to put down any of the other tracks, to be honest there isn’t a weak track here. The band know not to overstay their welcome, with all ten tracks being supremely polished and beautifully constructed, making the album flow as one perfect entity (a skill that is often lost in this day and age).

As unique as their sound is, everyone bar their most hardcore fans will agree that the band’s heyday was in the mid to late 90s, with the album “Demanufacture” being their high point (and one of my top thirty albums of all time). So the question is, does “Aggression Continuum” get close to the absolute wonder of that album?

That is an impossible question to answer. Certainly for me. Because “Demanufacture” came along at the time of my life it did, I will always look back at it with nostalgia goggles. But the good news is that “Aggression Continuum” gets pretty damn close to the bands high point, and it is absolutely an essential album of 2021. Whatever the future may hold for Fear Factory (and at this point, no-one knows what that may be), if this is the final send off for the partnership of Burton C Bell and Dino Cazares, then it is as perfect as it could be.

In short – this album is brutal, vicious, exciting, visceral and should be on the playlist of everyone who enjoys extreme music of any kind. 'Aggression Continuum' is one of my favourite albums of the year.

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Review - Michael Braunton


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