Fear Factory – Obsolete


Jul 15, 2001
The starry attic
Fear Factory – Obsolete
Roadrunner Records - 618752 - July 28, 1998
By Adam McAuley


After the stellar Demanufacture, Fear Factory were hard pressed to top themselves. Instead of moving into more unknown progressive territories, they tightened up their sound a notch. Many people will scream "sellout" when they hear Obsolete, but this is, in fact, not the case. To make a direct comparison, it isn't an overt attempt at gaining commercial exposure like Sepultura's Roots, but something more similar in nature to Chaos A.D.; a refinement of past sounds into material that is relatively digestible, whilst remaining potent and authentic.

“Shock" blasts out of your speakers in raucous fashion, augmented by improved production values. The album proceeds through a fairly consistent barrage of punishing tracks, slowing things down on only a couple of brief occasions (see the excellent ballad Resurrection) to add relief to the sustained energy. Edgecrusher has a delightfully catchy chorus, as do many of the other tracks. Sung vocals are often used in chorus' to nicely contrast with the harsh verse segments. Descent is enhanced by this facet; it's one of Fear Factory's more popular tunes and rightfully so. The entire work is pretty even in quality, dragging a few times but never to the point of monotony.

People have complained about the simplicity of Obsolete in comparison to predecessors. Furthermore, some turntable elements, electronic effects, and even catchy, almost rapped, vocals would point towards a commercial manoeuvre on the part of the band. I merely see these changes as working towards a common vision, one of making an different album than past efforts, which Fear Factory have most definitely achieved. It becomes a more rewarding listen if taken at face value, and seen as another enjoyable chapter in a mostly solid discography. I still prefer Demanufacture, but Obsolete is without doubt a worthwhile addition to your collection.


Official Fear Factory Website
Official Roadrunner Records Website