In the early '90s, many years before Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall started combining strangled growls with catchy vocal melodies, and Static-X and Rammstein began blended pounding staccato riffs and jackhammer beats with electronic samples, Los Angeles future-thinkers Fear Factory were reinventing both death metal and industrial rock with an arsenal of sonic styles. After releasing four critically acclaimed albums and two industrial remix EPs, selling over a million albums in the process.
Following a grueling tour with Machine Head in 2002, the creative core of Fear Factory imploded due to personal differences and sheer over-exertion. Guitarist and songwriter Dino Cazares went on to play with Brujeria and Asesino and vocalist Burton C. Bell took a few months off before eventually reforming the band and releasing two more records over the next few years. Without Cazares in the mix, however, Fear Factory was missing a key element of its sound and wound up feeling like a shadow of their former selves.
"It just didn't feel complete," says Bell. "I realized that Dino and I were a real integral part of Fear Factory and we needed each other to make it work, and without the both of us it lost that intensity."
As time passed, the chance of a reunion between Bell and Cazares seemed less and less likely. Then in April 2008, a full six years after they had last spoken, Bell, then touring with Ministry, ran into Cazares at the band's Los Angeles show and reopened the lines of communication. "I just said 'hey, how you doing?' and it started from there," Bell says. Not long thereafter Bell and Cazares were jamming again. With bassist Byron Stroud and drummer Gene Hoglan (Dethklok, Strapping Young Lad), Fear Factory was back and ready for action.