Fear Factory: Resurrection
ntense, heavy guitar music is predominantly associated with catharsis and bellicose anger. With some acts it’s all they know how to do; raging against some undeserved wrong and gutturally vocalising their painful dissatisfaction dressed in back with incomplete facial hair. It’s not that often that bands as dark as Fear Factory offer chinks of sunlight through their morose and oppressive perspective of man’s inhumanity to man. “Resurrection” is an example of Metal which refuses to plough its relentless furrow and instead offers a message of hope.
Warming up the proceedings slowly with something that wouldn’t sound out of place as a soundtrack theme to some blackened, crater strewn landscape, the menace builds with distant clanking metal. The song’s six note recurring motif hums, as Burton C. Bell’s slightly vocodered vocals lead into and over the edge of the melody into tight slamming propulsive metal riffing crosscut with slower death metal chords. Bassist Christian Olde Wolbers damages his fingers making the bass sound like an off-road trailbike abrasively revving to nowhere. Numan-esque keyboards and whooshing Ecstasy (as in the pill) rush effects attempt to reinforce this futuristic discourse that Fear Factory employ between Metal and the harsher, but still conservative, side of electronica. Burton C. Bell is an average singer, the aforementioned processing covering up his inadequacies, even still, to bellow along with this song you have to be prepared to pull a Phil Anselmo face (Bell’s faces aren’t as fundamentally metal), a cross between puckering up to kiss your hairy Aunt, an exaggerated frown and a Zeus-like air of self-righteousness. So listening to this in residential areas with 15mph speed limits can be detrimental to your standing in the community.
The first appearance of the ‘moment’ (running from 2.45 till 3.10) lacks the force of its later appearance, both in terms of volume and timing. But at the song’s crescendo a small string section (violins, violas and cellos, I assume) sheens out of the mix (5.23) cutting through the onslaught of riffage and the pounding ‘here comes the finale’ drums. Along with Bell’s roaring, this lifts the song out of its headlong, heads-down focus on being fucking metal (as great as that is) and gives it wings, to use a popular advertising phrase. Instead of Kerry King dropping in for a quick widdlynoodly solo, these strings, and the fact that they have a melody, as opposed to just being an exercise in finger-fret co-ordination, unburden some of the doom inherent in everything Fear Factory do. This not your typical metalhead’s use of strings, given its avoidance of the predominant styles in this genre; either the Hammer House of Horror (see Cradle of Filth) or the pompously epic Wagnerian (see Metallica, if you really must). This swooping mini-orchestra (well, it’s probably a nifty piece of software or a sample) sounds clean, sharp, vibrant and above all positive; an obvious melodic counter to the punishing treatment meted out by the more traditional instrumentation of the band. It’s a rush inducing affirmation of the lyric it follows: “touch the sky”.
I first heard this song in isolation (no, not in prison), unaware that it was from a concept LP about man vs. machine; a kind of 1984/Terminator type future where man became Obsolete. A fitting idea for a band already famed for being a Skinny Puppy/FLA rock vs. techno-industrial hybrid, the promo for their single “Lynchpin” visually articulates this with live shots of the band rockin’ intercut with pumping hydraulics. In isolation, I formed my own personal interpretation of the track, managing to easily ignore the lyrics which didn’t fit into my alternate theory for “Resurrection”. To the group, it’s about men fighting for freedom against robots. To me it’s a humanist anthem that rails against the negativity of atheism; the acceptance (you can even hear a heartbeat emerging from the fury at 4.58, a rebirth?) of the lack of absolutes in a godless world and reaching beyond it. Plus it has a killer riff.
All that I know there was no God for me
Force that shatters all, absence of mortality
Revive all my fears,
Revive wasted tears,
Revive void within,
Revive once again...
Reach for the sky,
Touch the sky,
Revive a hope for mankind
By: Scott McKeating
Published on: 2004-01-15