Review of the Album "Soul of a New Machine" 1992 by the Band Fear Factory
What is the Musical Style of Soul of a New Machine?
Los Angeles area thrash/industrial band Fear Factory first caught my attention back in 1995 during a concert in which I saw Megadeth. But I only discovered their debut album called "Soul of a New Machine" in late 2017 and decided after a bit of thought to give this album a review as well. The style of the album is different from later albums because this first one has a sort of grindcore feel to it. Soul of a New Machine has various styles including death metal, grindcore, and industrial metal. The vocals sound a lot like Mark “Barney” Greenway of the UK’s Napalm Death.
Fear Factory Band Logo
What is the Album Like From a Lyrical Standpoint?
The album is described by guitarist Dino Cazares as a concept album, describing man’s connection to machines which could be either technological or governmental. The album also addresses the evilness of human nature as some people will do what they can to make sure that lives are disrupted and the church becomes a place of sin instead of a place of worship and love.
The Album Soul of a New Machine May be Unique in its Lyrical Concept But it Also Has a Weakness
An example of a song on the album that addresses human wickedness is the song called Desecrate. I could even say that this is one of the first albums that deals with a man versus machine kind of concept especially at around 1992. However, the album suffers from having too much of a death metal and grindcore influence in spite of having various influences. This album was just a sort of warm-up for this band which would get better in 1995 with the album Demanufacture. Soul of a New Machine has 17 songs on it so there is plenty of music to hear on this one. How are the songs like for Fear Factory on this album which had started their career two years earlier?
Soul of a New Machine The Review Includes the Songs Martyr, Leechmaster, Scapegoat and Crisis
The first song called “Martyr” is a song about someone that was born into the world but he suffered so much that he wanted to get away from it. The vocals alternate between aggressive soft vocals to these harsh shouts. Sometimes we are born into this world and we experience a rough life and then we wish we were never born because we feel like we never asked for this. Leechmaster is a song about someone whose love is not a real kind of love but it is the sort that takes advantage of the other person. The song also sounds like the song called Cutthroat by the band Prong but that song would not come out until 1994. The United States all the way through the 1990’s had good bands but only a few of them have escaped what I would like to call the mediocrity bug. Fear Factory was immune to being mediocre musically through the 1990’s. The next song called Scapegoat is a song about a person that has been wrongly accused of a crime as the justice system has been corrupted and it is working against him. The vocals get so low and guttural that it almost sounds as low as Spain’s Avulsed. Avulsed was formed in 1991 so they were formed at around the same time as Fear Factory. The song called Crisis has a bass line and sounds like the song Vicious by the American thrash metal band Fight (now disbanded). Crisis is a song that questions the justification for a war as the soldier is forced to stand on his feet and serve his country.
What Could the Album's Title Mean? My Initial Guess or Hypothesis is That it is Man Versus Machine
Soul of a New Machine could mean that as technology has advanced, the more modern machines have a newer soul or a newer spirit from which they can function, serve their purpose and help man make the world a better place if they use technology for the right reasons. If technology is used to develop and acquire dangerous weapons, these machines will then have new souls that can bring destruction upon the world. This whole man versus machine theme may create a sort of competition.
The Song Called Martyr
Soul of a New Machine The Rest of the Album
Crash Test is a song about what happens when animals are tested. I sense that Burton C. Bell starts to sound like Chris Barnes in this song. Chris Barnes was the vocalist that sang for the band Cannibal Corpse for those of you that don’t remember him. However, with the feedback sound, Crash Test is one of the weaker songs in this album. Flesh Hold is a song about the punishment that criminals sometimes get when they are confined to a jail cell. The drums and the fill sound make this song show a Morbid Angel influence. Lifeblind has the sound of mid 2000’s Sepultura. An example of this kind of sound is found in the album Dante 21 which would be released in 2006. After the one minute instrumental song called Natividad which sounds like garbage cans being thrown around, the next song called Big God/Raped Souls is a song that addresses the rape problem in the United States. Arise Above Oppression is an okay fast song that addresses that we have to what we can to rise above our depression problem. It is not always the case that a band’s first album is their best. Fear Factory is not Metallica and then there are qualities that would be improved upon for this band s their career progressed. Escape Confusion begins with these low, long growls that sound like early Amorphis. Overall, "Soul of a New Machine" is a good industrial death metal album that would actually end up setting the tone for even better music for Fear Factory.
Then how good is the album? The early songs are solid but then there are some weaker tracks in the middle. Then the album ends up being a decent finish. So the final score as of this first review would be 78 out of 100 points, thus surpassing a few albums by US bands that are more famous than Fear Factory.
The Song Called Leechmaster
The Song Called Scapegoat
© 2018 Ara Vahanian