The 25 Most Important Metal Bands of the ’90s: #7, Fear Factory


The ’90s: they were the bomb! That’s why MetalSucks will spend the month of March giving snaps to the decade that was all that and a bag of chips by counting down The 25 Most Important Metal Bands of the ’90s. These aren’t bands that necessarily formed in the ’90s, nor are they bands that would turn out to be influential somewhere down the road; these are bands that a) were doing their best work in the ’90s, and b) amassed a devout following during the ’90s. These are the bands that we feel truly defined the decade for extreme music. These are the bands that we feel truly defined the decade for yo mama.

I won’t make the argument that this is Fear Factory’s defining legacy, but Burton Seabell pretty much invented the good cop / bad cop approach to metal vocals. It’s since become a hallmark in the genre, for better or worse. Just sayin’.

Fear Factory’s importance and influence were far reaching in the decade of Bill Clinton and snap bracelets. They were the perfect synthesis of basically everything that was going on in metal at the time: the precision of Meshuggah, the tribal aggression of Sepultura, the groove of Pantera, the brute force of death metal, the industrial mechanization of Nine Inch Nails, the nu-metal accessibility of Korn and Deftones. Thank Dino Cazares for all of that: he was, and is, a true student of metal, and a vastly underrated rhythm player.

Which isn’t to say Fear Factory were imitators — far from it, they were pioneers! In no way did they ever ape the styles of any of their contemporaries, including the bands mentioned above — they were completely themselves, original, unique… in today’s parlance, true special snowflakes. They incorporated all of those elements not because they were chasing trends, but because they were a part of those trends, which I doubt they knew at the time; they were simply following their muse. Once any trend has been identified it’s already too late to copy it with any amount of success, anyway.

In a way, Fear Factory were the quintessential ’90s metal band: a little bit of everything yet completely unlike anything else.

They were also a gateway metal band for a fuckton of people.

And, oh yeah, Burton Seabell invented good cop / bad cop vocals.

#25: Morbid Angel
#24: Melvins

#23: Meshuggah
#22: Emperor

#21: Cave In
#20: Botch
#19: Cradle of Filth
#18: Sepultura
#17: Napalm Death

#16: Rage Against the Machine
#15: Type O Negative

#14: Dream Theater
#13: Alice in Chains
#12: Nine Inch Nails
#11: Carcass
#10: Death
#9: Deftones
#8: Cannibal Corpse

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