Obsolete’s Streams Entire New Album “Animate/Isolate” Ahead of Release

Minneapolis Death/Thrashers Obsolete are dropping their debut album, Animate/Isolate, this Friday, April 19th, 2021 via Unspeakable Axe Records. The band’s brutal technicality and uncompromising songcraft are on full display and will find fast fans of OSDM originators, Melo-death legends, and even some modern like-minded heroes. You can catch the full album stream early right now, courtesy of Decibel Magazine.

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Of Mice and Men Share a New Single “Timeless”

Metalcore leaders Of Mice & Men have shared a brand new single, the title track of their upcoming EP Timeless, due out February 26 via SharpTone Records. The artwork for the single and EP were hand-drawn by iconic artist Derek Hess. This is their second single off the EP following “Obsolete.” Purchase and stream “Timeless’ now!

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Fear Factory – Genexus

Fear Factory Genexus album cover 2015

Reviewing a new Fear Factory album in 2015 is like purchasing the Blu-Ray edition of a film you already own on DVD. It’s a good movie and it’s all shiny and high-definition like, but overall there’s no substantial surprises. A new commentary track and special features (or in this analogy, lyrics) are nice perks.

Long story short, there’s not a whole lot of deviation. In that regard Fear Factory’s Genexus (Nuclear Blast) is similar enough to the last review I penned, Kataklysm’s Of Ghosts and Gods. Sure, they’re both new albums, but do you really expect (or want) a dramatic stylistic change from these extreme metal institutions?

All the core Fear Factory components that made 2010s Mechanize and 2012s The Industrialist memorable are back. Vocalist Burton C. Bell and guitarist/bassist Dino Cazares are still playing nice while under the guidance of longtime collaborator and producer Rhys Fulber. Two of the songs feature Blade Runner samples so yeah, the man grappling against artificial intelligence theme is present again. Really, the biggest or only variations to be found here are a return to live drumming (a strong performance from Mike Heller) and the record label.

If you’ve had the pleasure of listening to Demanufacture or Obsolete you’re gonna hit the ground running on this outing. Seriously, like those two landmarks we open with some industrial samples/noises that lead into a jack hammer of a song and 40 minutes or so later the album is bookended by a sweeping and melodic closer (this time in the form of the excellent ‘Expiration Date’).

And that’s a good thing. Very good if you’re into this sort of metallic business. But wait, there’s more. In between the covers you also get slabs of brutal groove like ‘Anodized’ and ‘Soul Hacker.’ It’s all the downtuned 7-string chug coupled with machine-gun fire kick drums your little mechanical heart desires. And despite being in this racket for 25+ years, Bell still can do the bark and croon thing better than most.

Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

Although if they’re going to keep moving forward with the “cybermetal” sound (or whatever Fear Factory refer to themselves these days) I’d like to see it with the full classic lineup. That means bringing bassist Christian Olde Wolbers and skinsman Raymond Herrera out of exile. They were there for the Demanufacture and Obsolete days, they should be here for the resurgence.



Obsolete – Riven


Obsolete is a Dark Progressive band from Ohio, and Riven (self-released) is their second EP. It has four songs, the last of which was released in a slightly different form on their previous EP, Ockham’s Razor (also self-released).

While the balance of the instruments is quite good, the vocals aren’t so much mixed in as put on top of the music. While I like the clean and full sound of Dan Rivera’s voice, it doesn’t work very well when he sings high and fast, which he does in ‘Grey’ and ‘Seven Years’. I think this has to do with the vibrato, which makes it sound like he’s uncontrolled and a little out of tune at the end of short notes, as well as a certain nasal quality that sometimes seeps into his voice. A longer sustained note at the end of his lines might alleviate both this and the sense of abrupt ending. The vocals do sound much better when they are slower, such as at the end of ‘From the Beginning’ and ‘Barren’.

I enjoyed the bass lines, especially on ‘Grey’, and the drumming is solid and tight. Both the electric and acoustic guitars generally sound good. However, ‘From the Beginning’ varies between different styles in a disjointed way, and even in the intro when the band comes in it is just not tight enough to be entirely comfortable. I did enjoy ‘Barren’, as the transitions between soft and hard are good and the backing vocals work well.

While there are definitely a lot of good elements on this EP, there are also a few glaring mistakes that should the band should have picked up on when listening to the recorded product, as there are a few notes in every song that could have done with a re-take. All in all, it sounds like the band rushed to produce an EP instead of taking the time to unlock their full potential.


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Cold Snap – World War 3



As the monolithic behemoth of a tour featuring Slipknot, Korn and King 810 strides across Europe at this moment, Cold Snap’s new album World War 3 (Eclipse) seems the perfect accompaniment. If you played this album to anyone in that crowd they would think, wow 2002 will indeed live forever.

Cold Snap is an amalgamation of everyone who seemed to be big at the time of the Japan/South Korea World Cup. It has the rhythm section and drum sound of White Pony (Maverick) era Deftones, the vocals of Corey Taylor circa self-titled Slipknot album (Roadrunner), and the overall industrial aggression of Obsolete (Roadrunner) era Fear Factory (in a time before they were).

At first the sound does have hints of the recent Djent sound, but then when the chundering riffs kick in you realise that this is indeed paying homage to Burton C. Bell and co rather than doing directly for the more current range of bands they could have taken influence from; if you listen to ‘Only One’ or ‘Me Inside’ you’ve pretty much heard the tracks on here.

If you liked balls to the wall Nu Metal without some of the despicable rapping then this maybe for you. There are plenty of downtuned moments dispersed in between the barrage of Dino Cazares off cuts that make up the majority of the album. You could never criticise the album for lacking punch or aggression, but there is a quarrel with the album lacking originality. This is a record whose influences all cut off around the same time people started to buy clothes that weren’t four sizes too big for them.

Overall, as a fan of the genre, World War 3 is an enjoyable listen but it doesn’t progress any further than being a massive nostalgia trip. If you at any stage wore a baseball cap and some shorts big enough to catch basketballs in them then this album will certainly take you back to that time, the only problem is that the original albums will already do that for you and are of incredibly better quality.


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