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Fear Factory Say Programming Drums on ‘The Industrialist’ Expedited Recording Process

Burton C. Bell of Fear Factory
Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

Fear Factory are about to drop their latest cyber metal opus ‘The Industrialist’ on Tuesday, June 5. Vocalist Burton C. Bell recently spoke to Johnny Thrash of 106.3 The Buzz about the fact that the band elected to program the drums, as opposed to using a live skinsman, revealing that the decision expedited the recording process. He also delved deep into the concept behind the album, shedding a little light on exactly who ‘The Industrialist’ is. Strap yourselves in, metal fans, as you are about to enter a ‘Terminator’-like world of sentient automatons, which essentially translates to machines with sensory perception.

Choosing to program the drums instead of using a human player is appropriate with Fear Factory, whose music addresses the constant battle between man and machine. Bell said, “We started thinking about [it] after we recorded ‘Mechanize.’ We were bouncing around [that idea] with Gene Hoglan and [guitarist] Dino [Cazares]. This would expedite the process. Ever since ‘Digimortal,’ that’s when Pro-Tools came into existence, ever since then, even though there would be live drumming, whoever was playing drums, when it comes to Pro-Tools, the live aspect is lost because every hit the drummer made was…was touched up, was moved and edited. Every hit. Every sound was replaced by a different sound. At that point, why are we even using a live drummer? So they can learn the songs? It saved time, that’s for sure.”

It saved time and made sense for the band, which is known for tight, triggered, syncopated drumming. Bell further explained, “Dino and the drum programmer were comfortable, without having to kill a drummer for hours a day. It expedited the process immensely.”

Bell also explained the overarching concept that is anchors the album. It’s certainly futuristic and when he describes the automatons, an image of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator immediately comes to mind. Quick, somebody call John Connor!

“The Industrialist is an automaton, which has become sentient,” Bell shared. “It’s the story of man vs. machine, like Fear Factory does. This time the story is from the perspective of the machine. In our world today, as technology develops and moves forward, the older model is replaced. That’s true in this story. The creator –man– is searching out the Industrialist and other types, other models of this era, to disassemble, to take them apart, to end their existence.”

Things go a little haywire when the Industrialist discovers the will to survive, via his newly sentient nature. ‘The Industrialist is leading the other sentient automatons in a fight against ‘the man’ who is trying to take them apart and end their existence,” Bell finished.

Still with us and them? It’s sci fi stuff and a complex but provocative storyline, set to the band’s crunchy, gnashing heavy metal. It’s make you think and mosh!

Listen to the full audio of the interview here.

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