Fear Factory : Concrete

Ross Robinson-helmed industrial metal rarity

Fear Factory‘s quest to haul sweaty, thrashy metal into a dark cybernetic future culminated in their last album, ‘Digimortal’ – a record that provided a fitting swansong to the quartet’s decade-long career. ‘Concrete’, however, is where it all began. A 1991 pilot album recorded on a shoestring with help from future metal production pioneer Ross Robinson, it was shelved when the group inked a lucrative deal with Roadrunner. There’s little evidence here of the group’s characteristic cyborg sound – tracks like ‘Soulwomb’ are oily, mechanical thrash documents with barely a hint of the chrome-slick production of the later records. All the same, ‘Concrete’ holds a weird kind of power. Far from a blockbuster, it’s the group’s Eraserhead – a bleak, alien, but far from artless noise assault.

Louis Pattison