Obsolete (Roadrunner Records, 1999)
Fear Factory

By Jason Koerner and Mike Taylor

The year is 2076 CE. Man has become obsolete, at least in the eyes of Fear Factory. A CD with social comments is hard to find these days, but here one is, preaching of a time when man is ruled by machines. Think Terminator 2, without Linda Hamilton. If you are tired of hearing "Edgecrusher" on the radio, buy the CD so you can hear some of their better tunes, like the powerful "Shock" or the laid-back Pink Floyd-esque "Timelessness."

This is a CD that you don't have to listen to a million times to "let it grow on you." If you like anything heavy, you'll like this. There's even a Gary Numan cover of "Cars" (exclusively on the Digipack) for those of you who are still stuck in the '80s. If you are too cheap to buy a Digipack, you can still hear Gary's voice at the beginning of the title track, "Obsolete." Ten songs are on the LP, while five killer extra tracks are included on the Digipack version, for a mere 10 "extra" bucks! But believe me, it's worth it!

All in all, if you think Korn is heavy because they use 7-string guitars, you're way off. These guys use 7-strings and are from California too, but they must have come from the non-sexually abused side of the San Andreas fault line. Their main strength is their rhythmically enhanced drummer, Jason Herrera. He is one of the fastest drummers on the planet and he kills the competition in stamina. We saw him in concert and he didn't even break a sweat. That's crazy!

Their guitarist Dino Cazares chunks it out, while bassist Christian Olde Wolbers got a hold of a stand-up bass for "Edgecrusher." Vocalist Burton C. Bell puts a spell on you with his hypnotic, chant-like bellowing that compliments Rhys Fulber's keyboard orchestration. Bell is schizophrenic in his vocal patterns (i.e.- screaming his anti-government slurs one minute, then declaring his melancholy state the next). If you need further instructions: BUY THIS CD!!! Quick, before you become obsolete!

Mike's rating- * * * * * (5 out of 4 stars)

Jason's rating- I don't do stars, but trust me, it kicks!