Obsolete, the third full-length album from Fear Factory in six years, is definitely their finest to-date. It is an amazing collection of extreme heaviness balanced with incredible melody. “Securitron (Police State 2000),” for instance, has some of the heaviest guitars I’ve heard and yet goes into long melodic parts that I wouldn’t normally expect from Fear Factory or any death metal band. I’d normally expect the songs to be 90% fast, thrashing heavy guitars with 10% melody, if any melody at all. On “Securitron” the melodic parts, with singer Burton C. Bell’s uncanny voice hitting awesome highs, go on for minutes, comprising nearly half the song!
The electronics give the music an eerily mechanical sound to most of the songs, like some strange technological force is relentlessly programming humans into obsolescence… The first song, “Shock,” sets the pace for the album with head-crunching (heavier than banging!) metal with “Edgecrusher” adding some heavier-than-thought-possible rap (really!). “Descent,” “Hi-Tech Hate” and “Smasher/Devourer” all contain the extreme heaviness mixed with near-angelic melody that characterizes the unique Fear Factory sound. Guest stars on this album produced by Rhys Fulber include Gary Numan and the Vancouver Chamber Orchestra!