FEAR FACTORY; "Obsolete" (Roadrunner). ***
Some bands would shy away from naming an album "Obsolete." Especially if it's a metal band. A title like that usually opens doors for outside attacks.Then again, not every band is Fear Factory.
A leftover from the grindcore movement -- which included such bands as Sepultura, Obituary and Carcass -- Fear Factory has honed in on the sound to make it a tad more edgy. There are some songs on this album that would leave gaping wounds if they were swords.
The band -- guitarist Dino Cazares, vocalist Burton C. Bell, bassist Christian Olde Wolbers and drummer Raymond Herrera -- has found a nice niche for itself, sitting between the psycho-metal rantings of Pantera and the gothic crank of KMFDM.
"Obsolete," which could be a study of what society will be like after the year 2000, is filled with growling vocals, syncopated drum lines and chainsaw guitars. The powerpunch of "Shock" sets the mood for other tracks, like the head-banging chords of "Edgecrusher" and "Smasher/Devourer."
Still, the music ain't thin and tinny. Instead, it's rough, brooding, angry and quite dark. "Securitron (Police State 2000)" and "Descent" expand on the furious arrangements by creating an almost progressive-metal sound.
"Obsolete" is anything but that. But there are times when the production seems a little too perfect, which goes against the grain of what Fear Factory was like in its early days. Let's just hope it doesn't do a Metallica and release, as a follow-up, a glam-metal disc.
Fear Factory has come a long way since its cheesy 1993 remix album, "Fear Is The Mindkiller."
Editor's note: Fear Factory and Hed (pe) will perform at Club DV8, 115 S. West Temple, on March 10. Doors open at 7 p.m.