FEAR FACTORY & HELLOWEEN RETURN
I’m not going to mask the fact that I’m a huge fan of Fear Factory. I purchased this album the day the pre-order went online. They’re one of my favorite bands to come from the decade of the 90s, and a band I’ve played quite a bit. So I was confident I would enjoy the album.
While sites are putting their reviews together of Aggression Continuum, poo-pooing some of the band’s past albums, I’ll say that I love the band’s catalog. Do I love every album they’ve released? No, but there is always enough on each release to ensure that five or six tracks make my Fear Factory playlist.
The band has always done enough with their music to capture my attention. Whether that’s the switching between the guttural and clean vocals. The machine-like rhythmic syncopation, whose parts equally made up by the guitars, bass, and drums. Or the subtleties you hear in the background, like keyboards, or samples. They have always locked in together and tweaked things enough to make me want to check out each of their releases.
Fear Factory’s latest album Aggression Continuum is no different. It offers up a lot of what fans have come to love by them. But, sonically it sounds better than any other Fear Factory album. And for all of the drama that has gone down, Burton C. Bell sounds better than ever before. His melodies are just on point and sound better than anything he’s done within the band.
You can argue all you want if the songs are as memorable as “Replica”, “Decent”, “Resurrection”, or “Lynchpin”. But as I say time and time again, no one ever says oh if you like hamburgers you can’t like pizza.
You can enjoy the classics, and enjoy the new tracks as well. They can just as easily slot into your favorites by the band. Will they have the same emotional connection? Probably not, but doesn’t mean that there are any rules against enjoying them.
This is a must-have for any fan of Fear Factory. And it is a good gateway album for anyone that’s heard of them but has yet to check them out. If you like this, you will more than likely want to go back and check out albums like Demanufacture, Obsolete, and Genexus.
Here is Fear Factory with "Fuel Injected Suicide Machine":
Check out Aggretion Continuum by Fear Factory
Not sure whether this album is for you or not? Check it out on Spotify, Apple Music, or Bandcamp below.
I have always had a love/hate relationship with Helloween. Well not always, I was a huge fan of the band before they really made any sort of dent in the US. I continued to be a fan when Andy Deris took over and then lost interest after The Time Of The Oath.
The hate part came when I felt that the band just started becoming a mockery of themselves. When all else fails, too many bands turn to just making D and E grade copies of the albums that got them to the dance. In Helloween’s case, it was their first two Keeper Of The Seven Keys albums.
Those two albums created power metal. For anyone that looks back and thinks it’s Iron Maiden, I’ve seen that argument lately, it wasn’t. Did they heavily influence a band like Helloween to do what they did back then? Why yes, but saying Maiden or Judas Priest invented power metal is like saying Black Sabbath invented thrash metal. They heavily influenced it, but Metallica and Megadeth had more to do with its creation than Sabbath.
By the time you got to Keeper Of The Seven Keys: The Legacy, you already had bands like Hammerfall, Sabaton, Blind Guardian, and Rhapsody Of Fire, who had already been making faux-oween albums for years.
So instead of trying to continue to differentiate themselves, the band decided to become another member of the power metal pack instead. So I lost interest altogether in what the band was doing after Rabbit Don’t Come Easy.
It’s a big shame because I really loved the band and everything they did up until The Time Of The Oath. While others crapped on Pink Bubbles Go Ape and Chameleon, I genuinely liked both of those albums. They were trying different things, and I got it. They were adding different colors to their palette, not just doing the same paint by numbers songs they would end up doing in the future.
Helloween’s self-titled album has the uniqueness of reuniting several pieces that had been missing from the puzzle for so long. Michael Kiske and Kai Hansen are back, so you get their voices coupled with Andy Deris’. You also get a triple-guitar attack with Hanson also adding his brand of playing to the mix.
The album mixes more or less everything the band has done over the years, even if so subtly. It does harken back to the Keepers albums I reference above. But Helloween the album also has a modern twist on it.
It is also packed to the gills, the digital version, which has some bonus tracks clocks in at 73 minutes. Plus it also contains the regular version of the track “Skyfall”, which I think might be my favorite since the moment I heard it.
If you’re a diehard fan, you’ll be checking this album out, and probably crap all over what I’ve stated above. Is this a good album to get into the band? I’d recommend you start with 1987’s Keeper Of The Seven Keys: Part I, and work your way up through the band’s catalog.
The album by no means sucks, but for me is missing that spark of magic those first few albums had.
Here is Helloween with "Fear Of The Fallen":
Check out Helloween's self-titled album
Check out the album before picking it up on Spotify or Apple Music. You can also pick it up directly from Frontiers, or from my Amazon Affiliates links below.
HERE ARE SOME OTHER NEW RELEASES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU
Styx – Crash Of The Crown
Timo Tolkki’s Avalon – The Enigma Birth
Pharoah – The Powers The Be
Bossk – Migration
Hacktivist – Hyperdialect
Thy Kingdom Will Burn – Thy Kingdom Will Burn
Chalice Of Sin – Chalice Of Sin
Crowne – Kings In The North
Reinforcer – Prince Of The Tribes
Social Disorder – Love 2 Be Hated
Kent Hilli – The Rumble
Lucifer’s Hammer – The Trip
Oxblood Forge – Decimator
Entierro – El Camazotz
Tom Morello And The Bloody Beetroots – The Catastrophists
Crobot – Rat Child
Silverchair – Freak Show Vinyl
D.R.I. – Four Of A Kind Vinyl
D.R.I. – Thrash Zone Vinyl
Angel Dust – Into The Dark Past
Orange 9MM – Pretend I’m Human
Subway To Sally – Eisheilige Nacht: Back To Lindenpark
Various Artists – Dark Nights: Death Metal Soundtrack
Support the site and the bands you love by picking up any of the albums listed above.
Here are the various Amazon stores I am affiliated with: US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, and Spain. When you make a purchase via one of my Amazon Affiliate links, know that I may be eligible to receive a small kickback for any purchase I send their way. You don’t pay anything else, while I make a small profit. Win/win for everyone!