After more than a decade of making bone-snapping, synapse-frazzling metal, Fear Factory are shutting down.
The decision became official on Saturday, but the band had been contemplating the end for weeks, according to the group’s publicist, who stressed that the parting was amicable.
Fear Factory’s coup de grâce will be two tracks they’ll record on Tuesday in Hollywood for a “Terminator” video game, due in August.
The split came largely because vocalist Burton C. Bell is tired of playing angry, aggressive music and wants to form a band that’s more indie-rock-oriented, the publicist said.
Fear Factory’s demise had nothing to do with the somewhat disappointing sales of their last album, Digimortal, which sold 152,000 copies since its release in April, according to the publicist. By comparison, SoundScan figures show the band’s previous record, 1998’s Obsolete, sold more than 400,000 copies.
Bell, guitarist/bassist Dino Cazares and drummer Raymond Herrera formed the band in Los Angeles in 1990. The group signed to Roadrunner Records and in 1992 released its debut album, Soul of a New Machine. Following its release, the band hired bassist Andrew Shives (who was replaced by Christian Olde Wolbers in 1994) and began a lengthy tour.
With New Machine, Fear Factory demonstrated its fascination with man’s insidious relationship with technology, a theme woven throughout all of their records. Although the disc was primarily death metal based, the next year the band recruited Front Line Assembly co-founder Rhys Fulber to radically remix six of their songs for the EP Fear Is the Mindkiller.
Fulber worked as a keyboardist and remixer on Demanufacture (1995) and Remanufacture (1997), and he produced the last two Fear Factory discs. With Fulber on board, the band transmogrified from an underground metal band to an innovative, electronic-fueled, melodic-tinged noise unit.
Fear Factory’s first flirtation with the mainstream was a performance of “Edgecrusher” on “MTV Spring Break” in 1998. Early the next year they recorded a cover of Gary Numan’s “Cars,” and soon after they landed a hit single with the claustrophobic “Resurrection.”
Though the band will soon be no more, its members plan to stay busy. Wolbers, who has recently been on the road with Cypress Hill, will continue working with the veteran rappers as well as with Kush, which features Cypress rapper B-Real, Deftones guitarist Stephen Carpenter and Herrera, who is planning to work on a variety of video game music projects after Fear Factory. Cazares will continue to work with death metal cult band Brujeria as well as Asesino, a project he started with Herrera and Static-X bassist Tony Campos.