FEAR FACTORY have split up following frontman Burton C. Bell's decision to leave the band, a source within the group has confirmed to BLABBERMOUTH.NET.
According to reports, Bell had become increasingly unhappy with FEAR FACTORY's musical direction and no longer felt angry enough to sing in one of the world's most high-profile extreme metal bands. It is also believed that personal differences between guitarist/mainman Dino Cazares and Bell, brought on in part by the increasing pressure caused by the disappointing sales performance of the band's last effort, 2001's Digimortal, had contributed to the break-up, which became final sometime last week.
Despite the group's decision to disband, FEAR FACTORY will go ahead with the plans to record two brand new tracks for an upcoming Terminator game, which is tentatively due in August. These recordings will take place on Tuesday, March 12th at American Studios in Hollywood with producer Rick Will (i.e. INCUBUS, SKINDRED, NO DOUBT) and will mark FEAR FACTORY's final recordings as a group.
At this point in time, none of the individual bandmembers have made any firm plans to form new projects, although it is believed that bassist Christian Olde Wolbers will continue to be involved with CYPRESS HILL and KUSH, his long-running band with FEAR FACTORY drummer Raymond Herrera, DEFTONES guitarist Stephen Carpenter and CYPRESS HILL frontman B-Real. Meanwhile, Herrera is expected to make several death metal-style recordings for Relapse Records (following the drummer's successful appearance on PHOBIA's Return To Desolation CD last year), some of which may or may not feature Cazares, who is said to have expressed interest in contributing to the projects in the songwriting/performing capacity.
Although Dino is expected to continue his involvement with BRUJERIA and the offshoot ASESINO project, the guitarist has no plans to throw himself into a full-time band situation in the immediate future and will likely take his time finding the right musicians for his next group, which will follow a heavy and aggressive direction yet sound substantially different from FEAR FACTORY. Burton, on the other hand, recently spent time in West Virginia jamming with KARMA TO BURN on material for the group's next studio effort, which will tentatively feature guest appearances by a number of high-profile vocalists, including those by Bell, C.O.C.'s Pepper Keenan, SPEEDEALER's Jeff Hirshberg and CLUTCH's Neil Fallon.
While FEAR FACTORY's split has effectively put an end to an impressive four-album stint that peaked with the gold-selling 1998 effort Obsolete, plans exist for Roadrunner Records to unearth the group's previously-unreleased 1991 Ross Robinson-produced album, entitled Concrete, and issue it as the band's first posthumous release sometime in late 2002 or early 2003.
Containing 16 tracks, including eight that were never made available anywhere else in their original or re-recorded form, Concrete was initially meant to be released through Ross' own label but was eventually shelved following a contractual dispute between Robinson and the band. Easily the rawest and most stripped-down recording of the group's career, the album remains an important piece of FEAR FACTORY's history, and will likely serve as a fitting epitaph to what has been a truly remarkable 11-year run.