Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
Is Transgression a Turning Point for Fear Factory?
Transgression is the 2005 studio album by American industrial metal band Fear Factory and this one has come under criticism because of the bad production but for me having known about their music since the early days I knew that even if the production is bad that it would still be an enjoyable album. As of September 2020, the status of Fear Factory is active putting to rest the idea that they will be disbanded forever. Transgressionis considered to be an experimental album and there is some truth to that. There are two songs on this album that are covers, one of them is a cover of the U2 song called “I Will Follow.” But not all is soft on this album because after all what Fear Factory album would be commercialized rock? The last song “Moment of Impact” starts in such a way that you know that there will be a return of the heavy sludge metal that defines the music of Fear Factory in a way. What impact Transgression will have on the listener depends upon your musical tastes.
However, Fear Factory may be one of those bands that could wear out some music fans because they may think that these guys are musically predictable. To a certain degree that may be mostly true but Transgression is one of those albums that offers some variety musically for a band that has made a name for themselves with one heavy industrial song after the other. “540,000 Degrees Fahrenheit” sees Burton C. Bell explore himself vocally by using more of his clean vocal approach as the song ends with a flash and we are immediately treated with the title track of this album.
Take Criticism About the Album Transgression With a Grain of Salt
Transgression was met with mixed to negative reviews from fans and critics but I beg to differ as Transgression is actually one of their strongest releases to date. Guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers explained that it was hard to have a producer do everything because they are usually more involved with the people that they work with. Because of this, Transgression has a different mix and a different sound than the other albums. Christian described Transgression as an album that was halfway finished and he even walked out of the studio because he was not happy with his guitar sound. For whatever issues that the band members were having with each other, Transgression is still a darn good album.
And having musicians from other countries in a band may help with the creative process if the other members have an open mind about the creation process. Even so, Transgression is not a musically disjointed effort.
An Interesting Aspect About Fear Factory as a Band
Transgression is the last album to feature the contributions of Raymond Herrera on drums. Transgression would also be the last album to have Belgian guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers. Fear Factory has had a sort of international lineup of sorts for a very long time. Byron Stroud who plays bass on this album is from Canada.
Consistency Has Not Been an Issue for Fear Factory
Listening to Fear Factory again makes me believe that they have been better as a band in terms of industrial metal than Prong has. Consistency has not really been an issue for this band. In spite of the problems between members, the music itself is still more than definitely good. The industrial heaviness that Fear Factory has had I still present such as in songs like the anti-war song of “Transgression.” Wars are nothing more than battles of attrition for the gaining of territory and trying to demonstrate the use of power. “Spinal Compression” has this sort of beginning riff that reminds me of Arch Enemy as Burton C. Bell begins with a shout and the song is a heavy industrial metal favorite.
Final Thoughts About Transgression
Here is where Transgression at least at the initial stages is one of those albums in which a few of the songs might not fit in compared to the rest of the album. The softer songs “Echo of My Scream” and “Supernova” are ballad style songs that don’t belong on a Fear Factory album. Of course, this perspective may change with time. However, this album feels like it is rushed so that the record label could release something fast. These two songs are not bad songs but for some reason they seem to be out of place. However, not all is average with Transgression. It has the industrial thrash that these guys have been turning out since about 1995 and it has just enough good material to make this album worth listening to especially the beginning riff of the song “Contagion.”
© 2021 Ara Vahanian