2 November 2013

Fear Factory - Remanufacture (Cloning Technology)

Can two worlds co-exist? That was the question when this slab of plastic was released in 1997. The premise was an interesting one. Mixing metal with techno? It seemed a good idea and opened up the possibilities to more extreme soundscapes. It's an experiment which...kind of worked. On one hand you have the greatness of Red Harvest and Anaal Nathrakh (Ok, they're more black metal but there is a definite techno influence in there) but you also have shit like Cubanate. Even Morbid Angel tried to incorporate a techno sound to their work and it shat the majority of their fanbase up the wall (I personally loved that album - Illud Divinum Insanus - but Radikult is a shit song). The rest of the time, you'd get something that sounded well heavy but once the novelty wore off, that was it. Back in '97 though, it was, as I said, an interesting proposition.

This album is a remix of the Fear Factory's second album, the awesome (and still stands up today) 'Demanufacture'. At first, there was an air of suspicion and allegations of "cash-in" with regards to this as remix albums are nothing new, plus there were other (slightly more underground) remix albums at the time, most notably from Godflesh, who Fear Factory have always been massive fans of. But, to give them their due, Fear Factory have always had a long-standing interest in electronic music as this is their 2nd foray into the world of remixes as they'd released an E.P called 'Fear Is The Mindkiller' which remixed a few songs off their first album (For the record, it's alright but not very good value for money as they only had six songs on there, three of which were two remixes of the same song plus the original). This one was a simple premise - take all the songs off 'Demanufacture' - not including any bonus tracks -  and remix them to see if you can come up with a different interpretation of that song.

The most notable contributor to this is Rhys Fulber, who aside from producing the large majority of FF albums, was also a member of industrial band Front Line Assembly. I never considered that band much cop as the album I heard sounded like bad techno played by goths, hence why I was originally surprised he was on board for this thing, but he does a good job. He does the songs 'Remanufacture' (Demanufacture - pretty much similar to the original but with a more techno twist, appears in two forms which are essentially the same), 'National Panel Beating' (Body Hammer - sounds different to the original, treads a thin line between ambient and heavy. Really good), 'Faithless' (Zero Signal - keeps the same riffs pretty much unaltered but has a slow drum beat. Sounds kinda like a more metal version of 'Closer' by NIN is only example I can think of), 'Machines Of Hate' (Self Bias Resistor - full on gabber which is pretty fucking awesome!). The only stinkers he does are '21st Century Jesus' (Pisschrist) and 'Bound For Forgivness' (A Therapy For Pain) as they're exercises in Trip Hop wankery. Fact - Trip Hop was only popular for a few minutes in '97. Even Sneaker Pimps knew the game was up after they'd released their first album hence their radical overhaul.

The second most featured collaborator for this album is a DJ by the name of Junkie XL (Or JXL as he's known these days. He did that Elvis remix from a few years ago which was a big fuckin' hit). His contributions have more of a funky, almost break dancing vibe to them ('Genetic Blueprint; - New Breed, 'Burn' - Flashpoint and a nice little interlude called 'Bionic Chronic'). His stuff isn't bad but it would've been nice to hear more from him as the general vibe is this is a project that was dominated by Rhys Fulber. Sharing the cake would've been nice...

The only other notable remix is 'Cloning Technology' (Replica) which was done by Kingsize. This is brilliant as it sounds almost on par with the original. It sounds like the song that would play in the 'decadent club scene' of an 80's movie or something. Brilliant. Pure brilliant.

So, how does this fare up? Well, it's a bit dated now due to the technology becoming more advanced in later years and although I loved this at the time, the whole thing comes across like 'techno for metalheads'. You can find a much better techno sound if you look around. Especially the Dutch stuff. Is it better than 'Demanufacture'? Fuck no. I say that as a journalist called  Morat who worked for Kerrang! at the time gave it 5/5 and proclaimed it better than the original! Mind, the guy was responsible for pushing The Prodigy into the pages of K! during the mid-90's as well as various other techno which quite frankly did not belong in a rock magazine so what the hell would he know?

6/10 - Now I see where you're going but you're not quite there.

Chris J.

You can buy this album on iTunes.

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Listen to album on Spotify

Sorry everyone, no music video as there wasn't any made for this album.

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