Fear Factory

The Best of Fear Factory

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The Best of Fear Factory, released alongside several other Roadrunner Records retrospectives in 2006, focuses on the industrial metal band's recordings with guitarist Dino Cazares, a founding member and songwriter who left the band after Digimortal (2001). The refined focus helps strengthen the overall quality of this compilation, since it centers on Fear Factory's prime output, namely Soul of a New Machine (released in 1992 and represented here by three inclusions) and Demanufacture (1995; four), the band's two collaborations with producer Colin Richardson, as well as Obsolete (1998; four) and Digimortal (2001; one), two lesser, if more experimental, albums produced by Rhys Fulber of Front Line Assembly. The inclusions are all well selected, including key songs like "Martyr" and "Resurrection." Plus, there's the inclusion of "Cars," a cover of the well-known Gary Numan song given an expectedly heavy overhaul. The Best of Fear Factory may be the only one of the band's releases many listeners will need. As stated, it includes all the key songs from Fear Factory's prime in an affordable single-disc package, and while the individual albums are worthwhile listens in and of themselves, albeit intermittently ponderous, it's probably best to start with a well-compiled sampler like this and pursue the albums secondarily (if at all), once you get a sense of which seem most appealing in character. Demanufacture is probably the place you'll want to start, in terms of individual albums. Soul of a New Machine is also recommended; it's not on a par with Demanufacture, but it illuminates how raw and groundbreaking Fear Factory sounded upon their debut in 1992. Also, though it's not represented here by any inclusions, Concrete is another album worth investigating, especially if you like Soul of a New Machine. Concrete actually predates Soul; it's the band's long-shelved first album, produced by a young Ross Robinson and not officially released until 2002, after the departure of Cazares put the future of Fear Factory in jeopardy.

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