Review by Tobias on May 9, 2001.
Digimortal seems very much like the next logical step in Fear Factory’s growth. Muscle bound cybernetic melodic death metal isn’t exactly the norm these days and therefore it’s quite refreshing. Although we’ve all heard the components separately and in varied other combinations, Fear Factory does a very good job fusing the elements into something that can be appreciated by many different types of metal fans.
Those who have dropped accusations of Fear Factory "selling out" and going Nu-Metal smoke crack for a living. Don’t trust ‘em! In fact, as a general rule of thumb, don’t trust anyone who actively uses the phrase "sell out" because those monkey-beaters are the ones who have bought into the freak show of couch-side critics that have sold out to the very process of labeling others. I politely ask you all to respond to those who use the phrase "sell out" by punching them in the face.
A basic rule of survival is diversify or die. Fear Factory is doing exactly that and they’re doing it damned well. The trick to diversification in music is to either draw from what other completely different styles do or create something completely new yourself. Bringing in melodic growls with that uniquely digitally haunting clean Burton C. Bell vox over rigid riffs that seem to be back-boned by an influence of Ministry’s The Mind is a Terrible Thing To Taste, seems to accomplish both ideas.
Digimortal is just loaded with high points and some really massive sounds. Some of my favorites are Damaged, Digimortal and the wildly interesting Invisible Wounds… hell, I’m listening to it as I write and there are so many great tracks on here I don’t know what the hell to say about all of them without writing a paragraph for each.
Ok, I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz about B Real of the premiere stoner rap group Cypress Hill showing up on the track Back the Fuck Up. Does anyone remember the Public Enemy and Anthrax collaboration known as Bring the Noise? This isn’t as badass, but it sure as hell is harder and rougher. Even those weary of metal rap (myself included) will have to give this one a nod. If you don’t like it, so what, it’s one track and a short one at that.
Fear Factory continues with their use of sporadic digital mechanical sounding sampling. The difference on Digimortal is that it seems much more controlled and tastefully used. The problem that I found with this album is that occasionally some of the lyrical rhythms seem a bit contrived and rehashed, but considering FF’s style, that’s not all that bad. Also, there are on occasion a track like Acres of Skin which starts out sounding a bit boring, but by mid-song it surprises the hell out of you with some pretty mean Burton Melodic Sound Walls.
Bottom Line: A lot more clean vocals for the better! Nu-Metal labellers can suck some monkey crotch rot, no nu-metal here.
Rating: 8 of 10