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Fear Factory

Digimortal

Roadrunner

A continuation in the saga of post-apocalyptic battle of man vs. machine, Digimortal is the latest chapter in the cybernetic rantings of Los Angeles' Fear Factory. It seems these lads can't shake their paranoia over future warfare, and this brutal, synthetic metal product falls under the same category. This time around, the lighter harmonies first explored on "Descent" off 1998's Obsolete are emphasized a bit more throughout the 11 harbingers of doom. Rhys Fulber once again lends his metallic fingers in the programming and production arena, and "Damaged" and "Byte Block" squeak and exhale more prevalent keyboard fragments than recorded before.

But it seems that the dirge guitar and triggered drums have been formulated and cloned like one of singer Burton Bell's fictional characters. Although Bell shows off his improved vocals consistently, it seems the rhythm section is hiding under their previous structures and Fulber's meticulous production. Although throwing in the nasally delivery of B-Real on "Back the Fuck Up" sounds promising, the result falls short. Still, these guys have been implanting their soundbytes into our psyches for years now, so fans of old and new should be appeased. But if Fear Factory doesn't alter its blueprints soon, the band might render themselves obsolete.

Roadrunner Records, 902 Broadway, New York, NY 10010, http://www.fearfactory.com