FEAR FACTORY guitarist Dino Cazares spoke to Australia's Heavy about his search for a replacement for the recently departed FF singer Burton C. Bell. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "There's some really great people out there — male and female. So there are male and female [singers] in the running, who's gonna get this position.
"There's a lot that goes into this," he continued. "You can't just find anybody just to step in and think they're gonna be able to handle it. You've gotta really get someone who's willing to make the commitment to FEAR FACTORY, somebody who has to know they're gonna be on the road for a while; we're gonna be traveling the world. It may not happen right away, 'cause of a lot of the COVID restrictions; some places have got it [worse] than others still. Whoever takes the position has a lot to learn, big shoes to fill."
Asked what sort of attributes he is looking for in a new singer for FEAR FACTORY, Dino said: "Someone who knows how to be a good frontman on stage, someone who knows how to command a crowd. This is just besides talent. Of course, whoever I pick is gonna have talent. But it's not just vocal talent; there's other talent too. There's being secure with your position — mentally secure — not being insecure, taking care of your throat, being able to command a crowd, getting along with others, being a team player, et cetera."
Cazares went on to say that he would "definitely" encourage the new FEAR FACTORY vocalist to bring his or her own elements into the band's sound. "But the majority has to be the FEAR FACTORY mold, 'cause we already created a style," he said. "Sure, we can always expand on that style — I'm always open to that, for sure; one hundred percent. But they're also gonna have to accept that sometimes ideas get put on the chopping block. Some ideas are just, like, 'Nah, ain't gonna work.' But that comes with the experience, and that comes with somebody who has talent in that way, that you can't take things personally.
"That was one of the things about when we were a group in FEAR FACTORY that no idea was stupid; we tried everything," he explained. "Because you never know — some of the craziest ideas could turn into something great."
Last month, FEAR FACTORY released its first new song in over five years, "Disruptor". The track will appear on the band's upcoming album, "Aggression Continuum", due on June 18 via Nuclear Blast Records.
"Aggression Continuum" features Cazares and Bell alongside drummer Mike Heller. It was produced and engineered by Damien Rainaud (DRAGONFORCE, ONCE HUMAN), with keyboards by Igor Khoroshev (ex-YES), and programming on two songs from longtime collaborator Rhys Fulber (FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY). "Aggression Continuum" was mixed by A-list rock and metal producer Andy Sneap (MEGADETH, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, TRIVIUM), who also mixed FEAR FACTORY's previous album, 2015's "Genexus".
Last September, Bell issued a statement officially announcing his departure from FEAR FACTORY, saying that he "cannot align" himself with someone whom he does not trust or respect.
Bell later told Kerrang! magazine that his split with FEAR FACTORY was a long time coming. "It's been on my mind for a while," he said. "These lawsuits [over the rights to the FEAR FACTORY name] just drained me. The egos. The greed. Not just from bandmembers, but from the attorneys involved. I just lost my love for it.
"With FEAR FACTORY, it's just constantly been, like, 'What?!' You can only take so much. I felt like 30 years was a good run. Those albums I've done with FEAR FACTORY will always be out there. I'll always be part of that. I just felt like it was time to move forward."
Pressed about whether there is any chance of a reconciliation with FEAR FACTORY down the line, Burton said: "I'm done. I haven't spoken to Dino in three years. I haven't spoken to Raymond [Herrera, drums] and Christian [Olde Wolbers, bass] in longer than that, and I have no intention to. I'm just moving forward with my life."
In October, Dino issued a statement in which he said that the door for Burton to come back to FEAR FACTORY wouldn't "stay open forever." The guitarist also revealed that Burton "lost his legal rights" to the FEAR FACTORY name "after a long court battle" with Herrera and Olde Wolbers. "I had the opportunity to do something right, and I felt that obtaining the name in full was the right thing to do for the both of us, so after nearly four years we can continue as FEAR FACTORY, to make more records and to tour," he said. "That is why it is sad to hear that he decided to quit and, in my opinion, for whatever issues he has it seems like it could've been worked out."