Burton C. Bell has officially announced his departure from FEAR FACTORY, explaining that he "cannot align" himself with someone whom he does not trust or respect.
Bell's exit from FEAR FACTORY comes more than two weeks after guitarist Dino Cazares launched a GoFundMe campaign to assist him with the production costs associated with the release of FEAR FACTORY's long-awaited new album.
Earlier today, Bell posted the following statement to his official web site:
"IN MY OWN WORDS
"I consider myself a private person, preferring to keep my personal business to myself and trusted loved ones. I make my public statements with thoughtful intent, never deviating from the truth, in spite of the consistent series of dishonest representations and unfounded accusations from past and present band members; a toxic drama I choose to not be part of.
"The past several years have been profoundly agonizing, with these members bleeding my passion with depraved deceit. As a direct consequence of their greed, these three have dragged me through the unjust, judicial system, resulting in the legal attrition that has financially crippled me. In the end, these three members have taken possession of my principal livelihood. However, they will never take my 30-year legacy as the beating heart of the machine. A legacy that no other member, past or present, can ever claim.
"So, it is after considerable, contemplative soul searching that I have come to the realization that I cannot align myself with someone whom I do not trust, nor respect. Therefore, I am announcing to my fans my departure from FEAR FACTORY, to focus all my energy and attention toward the continuing success for ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS, and all my future endeavors.
"I am very proud of the ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS' latest album, 'Apocrypha'. The writing and recording process for 'Apocrypha' has been a truly cathartic and artistic journey of exploration and growth for me. Reigniting my passions for my writing, allowing my music to flourish, enabling my soul to soar, saving me from the real hell that engulfed a significant part of my daily life. Collaborating with talented, kindred spirits has truly created an inspirational environment of support and mutual respect, a spirit I have missed for a very long time.
"I would like to thank all of my fans for their continued support throughout my career. I am very proud of my achievements, but it is time for me to move forward. Now I look to the future with open eyes, open mind and open heart, as my artistic path strives for even greater success in music, writing and my art. It's true, 'the end is always the beginning'. The soul is free from the machine."
In a statement explaining his reasons for starting a fundraising campaign, Cazares said that all donations will go toward covering newly incurred production costs involved with the making of the new FEAR FACTORY LP, including re-recording the drums, guitars, bass and keyboards, as well as mixing and mastering by Andy Sneap. Burton's original lead vocals, which were recorded in full in 2017, will remain on the new version of the album.
Earlier this month, Dino told Dave "Higgo" Higgins of Australia's MMM Hard N Heavy radio station that he has not spoken to Burton directly about his decision to update the 2017 recordings and release them. "He's made it clear that he's distancing himself from FEAR FACTORY because he is working on [his] ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS [project]," Cazares said. "Now, I'm quoting him, and he's [told the] media and [gone] on record [as] saying that. We have tried to reach each other over the years, but we do not have exactly the perfect relationship. Usually when Burt's working on a project, he disappears and he focuses on that. That I know from 30 years of knowing him and being in the business with him — those things I know. And that's it. There hasn't been any communication between us two at all whatsoever — lately."
FEAR FACTORY's fundraising campaign marks the first public activity from the band since it completed a 2016 U.S. headlining tour on which it performed its classic second album, "Demanufacture", in its entirety.
In a November 2018 interview, Bell said that FEAR FACTORY had completed a new album tentatively titled "Monolith". He also said that "legal technicalities" needed to be sorted out before the record could be released. The effort will mark the Californian band's first collection of new music since 2015's "Genexus" LP.
FEAR FACTORY was the subject of breakup rumors in May 2017 when the band's former bassist-turned-guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers posted a since-deleted eulogy for FF on his Instagram. He wrote "RIP Fear Factory" and appended that post with the hashtag #GrownAssMenThatCantWorkOutShit.
ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS second full-length album, the aforementioned "Apocrypha", will arrive on October 9 via Dissonance Productions. The recording will be available on CD, two limited vinyl formats and through all major digital outlets.