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Review of the Album "Obsolete" by the Industrial Thrash Metal Band Fear Factory

Updated on April 6, 2023
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

This photo symbolizes not only the power of the human brain but that humans may become obsolete in certain jobs.
This photo symbolizes not only the power of the human brain but that humans may become obsolete in certain jobs. | Source

Obsolete is a Very Good Follow Up Album to Demanufacture

American industrial groove and thrash band Fear Factory had one of their most solid albums in 1995’s Demanufacture album. In 1998, they released their 3rdstudio album called Obsolete and this one is no less heavy than that album and the band shows that they are ready to kind of shock their systems with a brutal, straight ahead industrial thrash album. This band from Los Angeles is another one of the elite US metal bands and I’ve observed that pretty much all of the best US metal bands throughout the history of the genre have come from California. Is that really the case? How good is the album Obsolete?

Shock Is One of the Heaviest Fear Factory Songs Ever

The opening song called Shock may not literally be a power surge for the fans musically but once again, Fear Factory shows that they are ready to provide us with HEAVY industrial thrash metal that works! This first song is one of the heaviest Fear Factory songs to date at least until that time due to Burton C. Bell taking his shouts to a level not seen before. The melodic singing that we heard in Demanufacture is also present in the song Shock.

Shock, Edgecrusher, Smasher/Devourer and Securitron

"Shock" starts this album off in that dramatic, heavy fashion just like we witnessed with the album Demanufacture.Does it get any more dramatic with the words “shock to the system?” I don’t think it gets any more dramatic in terms of heaviness as Fear Factory shows that they can be heavy while at the same time letting us know that they can write good songs.

"Edgecrusher" sees Burton C. Bell sounding somewhat like Prong’s Tommy Victor when he sings. This song is about a person that is consumed by the rage and hatred of a human terrorist willing to destroy other people’s lives for his own benefit. The third song called "Smasher/Devourer" is a song about someone that has been created to create disorder, chaos, and confusion for both rich and poor people. The song sees Burton C. Bell sing the word “salvation” several times as he says “I am the way. Prepare for salvation.” The song "Securitron (Police State 2000)" is a song about what typically happens in countries around the world that are considered police states. In these countries there is little or no press freedom as the movement of private citizens is watched very closely. There feels like there is no place to hide as people are forced to surrender to authority.

A Comment About the Cover for the Album Obsolete

The album’s cover has on it what looks like a human brain with the spinal column attached to it. Does this mean that humans will become obsolete with the rise of technology? In 1998, we were just two years away from the year 2000 and the beginning of a new century.

Obsolete Songs 6 Through 8 Including the Title Track Obsolete

Fear Factory also addresses the topics or concepts of automation, politics, and social issues. The song called "High-Tech Hate" is a song about the real dangers posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This is a danger that people cannot ignore. The band advocates a world where there is less social suppression. They address this concept in the song called "Freedom or Fire." History has shown that those nations that have sought independence from their European colonizers have paid a price for that struggle. Many of us would rather live in a freer society than a suppressed one. The song "Obsolete" is a song about the real possibility if not certainty that humans (men) can be replaced by robots or machines as man becomes extinct. One thing is for sure: technology is constantly changing and a future where robots replace humans in certain jobs could very well happen.

The Song Called "Shock"


Final Thoughts about the Album Obsolete

The song "Resurrection" is a song about trying to come to terms with a troubled past full of fears and what is referred to as wasted tears in the song. The song has nu-metal influences before it slows down once again. Obsolete is a good album but it is a step below the album Demanufacture. Even so, this is a good album from these Southern California industrial metal guys.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2017 Ara Vahanian


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