Fear Factory

by Michelle Harper
July 2001

Fear Factory on the cover of Maximum Ink in July 2001

Fear Factory on the cover of Maximum Ink in July 2001

When a friend told me last month that she heard of some band called “Fear Factory” playing the House Of Blues in Chicago, I thought to myself, “That sounds odd.  A metal band playing the House of Blues?”  Then, when I heard that Fear Factory was to be one of the only non-Country bands to headline the Wisconsin Dane County Junior Fair since I was in Middle School, I became intrigued.  I called my publisher almost the same day requesting to do a piece on the popular hard core, leather-wearing band performing in such unusual venues. 

Fear Factory’s fourth LP entitled “Digimortal” is a blend of cyber-metal screams describing in detail the unification of man and machine.  Burton C. Bell sings of an apocalyptic vision in which cloning and memory implants hold the potential of sustaining human life forever, while guitarist Dino Cazares, bassist Christian Olde Wolbers and drummer Raymond Herrera fuel the raging and powerful nightmare.  This latest project exemplifies a progressive effort for the band that originated back in 1992. 

Some facts about the fearless foursome—ten years on the road, four LPs and an EP, a gold record for their third LP “Obsolete”, a black T-shirt, long-haired appearance reminiscent of early Sepultura or Slayer and live shows that are said to radiate phenomenal energy and emotion.  Success of such a band is no small feat, especially given the growing popularity of generically formatted Slipknot/Limp Bizkit imitations. 

Fear Factory has continued to inspire new musical waves in the metal/industrial movement as they grow with the times, staying true to themselves and their music.  Still, these gentlemen have not grown so much into modern technology as to forget their brothers from death metal bands of the 1980’s.  Currently, a rare gold copy of “Obsolete”, the only gold record the band has earned to date, is being auctioned on allbeat.com to financially assist Death’s singer/guitarist Chuck Schuldiner in paying for potentially life saving brain surgery.  He has been fighting brain cancer for over two years, and Burton and the group want to use their success to help a friend from the past.

With roots in Death Metal and their eyes on the technology of the future, Fear Factory is a band that doesn’t show any sign of slowing any time soon.  Max Ink writer Joe Matera caught up with guitarist Dino Cazares for a one-on-one interview…….

A surviving band with a noble cause, Fear Factory is playing the Dane County fairgrounds at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison Wisconsin on July 18th and the La Crescent Arena in La Crescent, MN (La Crosse, WI) oon July 20th with Primer 55, Puya and Dry Kill Logic.                             


With their latest opus “Digimortal”, Fear Factory are again redefining metal’s musical barriers and as with their albums, their live shows are something that must be experienced. I spoke to Fear Factory’s Dino Cazares about all things fearful……

Maximum Ink: Do you think your latest album is the best representation of where the band is at the moment?
Dino Cazares: Definitely. I think it’s the best representation of all our records. It’s the best colaboration of all our styles we have done before, all kind of mixed into one.

MI: What about the overall theme running through “Digimortal”, that of man and machines?
DC: Yeah, but they’re different types of machines that we’re talking about. The government machine, the one that basically rules all machines. We’ve always talked about the sub-level of people who always fight….. they’re not really against the technology, they are against the government, the people who run this technology. On this record we talk about cloning, a subject we have touched upon before. Now, we’re for technology and obviously use it, but we’re against the way it’s being used. For instance, as an example, this whole cloning thing can be beneficial to man in figuring out certain diseases and stuff like that. But then you can have this crazy politician like say, Saddam Hussien, who can get all this technology and use it to clone the perfect person, the killer machine, the guy that doesn’t have to think about it, have no feelings, all he knows is kill, kill, kill! He’s immune to certain things, so certain things can’t kill him like if they used mustard gas, it wouldn’t affect him, so he’d keep killing.

MI: Fear Factory seems to be “musically years ahead” compared to what’s going on at the moment in music.
DC: If you want to go back, “Soul Of A New Machine” was a very death-metal inspired record, but with some melodic vocals on top of it and that kind of stood out. Then we put out “Fear Is The Mindkiller” and we decided to fuck things up a little bit and do techno-industrial death-metal re-mixes and people went “whoa, what the fuck’s this new shit?!”. It wasn’t until “Demanufacture” that we really solidified our sound that was Fear Factory. That record inspired a whole shit load of bands like Static X, Spineshank and early Strapping Young Lad.

MI: It wasn’t until you did a version of Gary Numan’s “Cars”, that the band got mainstream acceptance.
DC: It gave us a gold record and it got the name out there. It got a lot of radio people interested in the band and stuff like that. But at the same time a lot of people feared playing it on the radio because they thought their listeners were going to go out and buy the record and get completely surprised when they put it on and go “Oh fuck, this doesn’t sound like Gary Numan!”. (Laughs)

MI: Your at an important stage of your career, how does it feel?
DC: Larger than life. Look at me! (bursts into laughter) It feels really good. It feels good to have this really strong reputation and strong fan base with the kids and that we can still be here making these records after 10 years. I don’t feel Fear Factory are a band that has gone out of style. I feel Fear Factory, since “Demanufacture”, has been creating new styles.

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CD: The Best of Fear Factory Record Label: Roadrunner Records
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