It’s been three years since industrial metal titans FEAR FACTORY released their eighth studio album The Industrialist. Widely panned by critics, the record was essentially a two-man collaboration between vocalist Burton C. Bell and guitarist Dino Cazares. Whilst that album was panned by some critics for its use of a drum machine, Genexus looks to correct things with the addition of drummer Mike Heller.
Opening with foreboding synthesisers and a robotic narration, Autonomous Combat System sets the tone quite well. Sounding like the musical equivalent of The Terminator, it’s essentially the template for the next hour or so to follow.
Anodized manages to fuse the band’s standard industrial metal fare to a deceptively tuneful chorus. Utilising some rather nice harmonies, it’s a far cry from what you’d usually expect from FEAR FACTORY, but in a good way.
Dielectric pretty much encapsulates the sound of the entire album. Orchestral-sounding synth once again gives way to a furious drumbeat and Bell’s iconic barked vocals. It’s a strong showing from the group, but ultimately is repeated to the point of ridiculousness as time goes on.
Soul Hacker actually calms things down slightly, taking a much slower-paced approach to the FEAR FACTORY sound. The riffs and drumming are far less frantic, and an impressively melodic solo make this a highly memorable track, and one that’s extremely enjoyable to listen to.
Kicking off at a gallop, Protomech is easily one of the album’s strongest tracks. Relentless and wonderfully heavy it simply refuses to pause for breath at any point. The performances from each band member are all individually great here, and their chemistry is very apparent.
Title-track Genexus carries on with the speed, and is essentially a standard FEAR FACTORY track. Insanely fast and deeply menacing, it pauses only for a breakdown.
Church Of Execution is another slower song, and one that sadly fails to make much impact. Plodding and ultimately rather dull, it does very little interesting. The exception to this is a short section in the middle which features vocals that are basically spoken-word from Bell.
Regenerate is yet more of the same metal found elsewhere on Genexus. The only real difference here is an attempt to inject more melody into its closing section, with only some degree of success.
Battle For Utopia brings synthesisers back to the forefront – beginning with several stabs of heavily distorted noise and soon leaping back into another up-tempo beat that sounds exactly like everything else on Genexus.
Closer Expiration Date is undoubtedly the weakest point of the album. At almost nine minutes, it feels as though Bell and co have tried something a lot more progressive, but the end result is just not very good. Overly-long and uninteresting, it’s a disappointing way to end what should have been a far better album.
Overall, Genexus has its moments of intrigue, however it simply falls short as a whole. Far too samey in most places, the album improves drastically on its predecessor but comes nowhere near to the band’s older material.