This is my favourite Fear Factory album. I know music is subjective and deeply personal, and that everyone gets something different from hearing the same original stimuli, but it really surprised me to find out that this wasn’t a fan favourite album.
I remember when it first came out reviews were saying “best album since Demanufacture” (my next favourite Fear Factory album), my peer group was saying “best album since Demanufacture” and I was saying “even better than Demanufacture.” I lost touch with music magazines, moved away from my peer group across country borders and stopped following Metal news and reviews for a few years. I never stopped liking this album though. It came as a big surprise that when I started paying attention to the band’s reviews and interviews and fan’s opinions again that this had fallen from favour. I thought everyone loved this (and justifiably so).
2004’s Archetype is the Los Angeles Metal band’s fifth official full length studio album (if you discount compilations, remix albums, and the 1991 Concrete album). It featured long time bassist Christian Olde Wolbers moving from bass to guitar, replacing long time guitarist Dino Cazerez, and introduced Byron Stroud to the band as the new bassist (even if Christian actually did the bass too in the studio). It was self-produced by the band and longtime contributor Rhys Fulber.
The album contains the ferociously catchy singles “Cyber Waste” and “Archetype” as well as the famous “Bite The Hand That Bleeds” which many people of a certain age will remember from its SAW soundtrack inclusion and SAW themed music video.
I really, really enjoy this album. The first six tracks alone are all individually one of my favourite ever Fear Factory songs. “Slave Labour” and “Corporate Cloning” really summed up the mood of the time, both musically and lyrically. The album is heavy and aggressive like the band’s fan favourite material, but all songs are easily-digestible, memorable, and catchy. They all have a distinct identity, and it is much less samey than the albums that would be released when Dino was back in the band and Christian was thrown out.
It’s a Fear Factory record, so naturally highlights include Raymond Herrera’s incredible drumming and Burton C Bell’s distinctive vocal talents. Its worth listening to for those alone, never mind the fact that its chocked full of fun patterns, excellent choruses, great riffs, and generally red hot song writing. The material here still stands up today, over a decade since its release, as do the performances.
I urge anyone who has ignored this album just because Dino is not on it, or who hasn’t heard it yet to give it a try. Don’t miss out on it just because the fickle court public have swept it under the carpet nowadays. This is some seriously good Metal music. Equal to if not better than the best of rest of their discography in my own opinion. If you are a fan who hasn’t listened to it in a while, I’d just like to remind you about it and about how good it is.