ARKAEA — the new band featuring (former?) FEAR FACTORY members Christian Olde Wolbers (guitar) and Raymond Herrera (drums) alongside vocalist Jon Howard (THREAT SIGNAL) and bassist Pat Kavanaugh (THREAT SIGNAL) — will release its debut album, "Years In The Darkness", in Europe through Century Media Records on the following dates:
Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux, Italy: Friday, July 17
Spain, Portugal: Tuesday, July 21
Sweden, Finland, Hungary: Wednesday, July 22
U.K., France, Greece, Denmark, Norway, Rest Of Europe: Monday, July 20
"Years In The Darkness" is scheduled for release in the U.S. on July 14 via E1 Music (formerly KOCH Records). The CD was produced by Christian Olde Wolbers and ARKAEA and mixed by legendary producer Terry Date, best known for his work with the DEFTONES, SLIPKNOT, WHITE ZOMBIE, SOUNDGARDEN and PANTERA. The album was mastered at Sterling Sound by Ted Jensen, who mastered FEAR FACTORY's gold-certified 1998 release "Obsolete".
"We are truly proud of this record," states Olde Wolbers. "Ironically half of the ARKAEA album consists of songs that were intended to be the next FEAR FACTORY record."
Howard describes ARKAEA's familiar-yet-innovative sound: "Chris and Ray have been writing together for many years, so the music does have a lot of FEAR FACTORY elements. However, we've been open to trying different things. It basically fuses what I have been doing vocally in THREAT SIGNAL with driving FEAR FACTORY rhythms, along with some of our own experimentation. The idea behind the project is to be heavy, but maintain melody at the same time. We have crazy riffs, but some grooving choruses as well. It's a great mix."
The band's experimentation also proves extremely refreshing. "Gone Tomorrow" is a slow, brooding song that shows ARKAEA's range and diversity by combining ethereal melodies and hypnotic vocals. Wolbers states, "These songs were designed like the FEAR FACTORY songs that Raymond and I always wrote. However, we've been able to push the boundaries and go out of that context, while remaining heavy."
Howard has been a part of the FEAR FACTORY family ever since Wolbers served as producer for THREAT SIGNAL's debut, "Under Reprisal". Given that connection, the chemistry was there the instant the band started jamming. Howard has managed to push himself as a singer with the help of the veteran musicians. "I always try to do new things and experiment with my voice, and this project has been challenging," says Howard. "It always takes a little time to get comfortable working with new people and a new style of music, but I got over that really fast with Christian and Raymond, and I feel very comfortable where we're going right now."
In the end, what matters for these musicians is creating metal that will last. Wolbers concludes, "You have to write a lot of songs in life to stumble on those couple that are like 'Walk'. Every day, music pours out of us, and we aim to capture it." Howard concurs: "My goal is to create an album I'm completely proud of, that will last for years and years without getting old: something like a PANTERA record, or an early METALLICA record."
"Years In The Darkness" track listing:
02. Beneath the Shades of Grey
03. Years in the Darkness
04. Gone Tomorrow
06. Black Ocean
07. Break the Silence
08. Lucid Dreams
09. My Redemption
10. War Within
11. The World As One
12. Rise Today
13. Away From the Sun
A new version of FEAR FACTORY has been officially launched featuring the band's original members Dino Cazares (guitar) and Burton C. Bell (vocals) alongside bassist Byron Stroud (who played on the last two FEAR FACTORY albums in addition to touring and recording with STRAPPING YOUNG LAD and ZIMMERS HOLE) and legendary drummer Gene Hoglan (DETHKLOK, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, DARK ANGEL, DEATH, TESTAMENT). The band is scheduled to play a number of shows this summer as well as record a studio album.
Regarding why Christian and Raymond aren't involved with the new FEAR FACTORY lineup, Bell told U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine, "It's like a business and I'm just reorganizing. After time, you realize what's important and what's not important, and after talking to Dino again, it just felt good and it felt right."
When asked if he knew straight away that he wouldn't include Christian and Raymond in the new FEAR FACTORY lineup, Burton said, "It's part of the organization. We learned some things and we have a really good rapport with Byron, and Gene is an amazing drummer. Dino and I, as the founders of FEAR FACTORY, we thought, 'Hey, let's try this, a different flavor.' Because wherever me and Dino go, it'll still be FEAR FACTORY, I believe."
Dino added, "I've had many projects in the past and I've played with some of the best drummers in this form of music, from Roy Mayorga to Nick Barker, Tim Yeung, Joey Jordison, and now I'm playing with the king of this genre. How could I pass that up? How could anyone pass up a chance to play with Gene Hoglan?"