Legendary extreme-metal drummer Gene Hoglan (TESTAMENT, DEATH, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, DARK ANGEL, FEAR FACTORY, DETHKLOK) has slammed FEAR FACTORY for deciding to embrace drum-machine technology on the band's 2012 album, "The Industrialist", instead of hiring him to play on the record, like they did on 2010's "Mechanize".
Hoglan laid down the drum tracks for "Mechanize" and toured with FEAR FACTORY for two years in support of the album before he found out via BLABBERMOUTH.NET that the follow-up effort was completed without his contributions.
In a new interview with Metal Wani, Hoglan criticized FEAR FACTORY's decision to rely on programmed drums during the "The Industrialist" recording sessions. He said: "I'm always, like, I don't care what kind of drum machine you use, I will kill your drum machine. If you have a drummer like myself at your disposal, yet you are gonna go with a drum machine, I don't understand the thought process behind that."
He continued: "I did read [in an interview] here those guys were, like, 'Hey, man, we have a drummer come in, we've gotta pay him all this money…' Yeah, there's number one there. I see where you guys are coming from. 'First we've gotta pay him all this money, and then we just turn around and chop up all the drums and grid everything anyway. Let's just cut out the middle man and just program the drums.' I understand that from an economic standpoint, but if you're thinking long term, you are not thinking if you're thinking, 'Yeah…'"
Hoglan added: "Somebody like ROB ZOMBIE, or somebody like that, that it's just this droning disco drum sound anyway, use a drum machine; who cares? Nobody listens to ROB ZOMBIE to check out the drummer. But if you've got a band like FEAR FACTORY, or a band like SLAYER, or a band like TESTAMENT, you're not gonna have a drum machine playing for you and be taken seriously. So, hey, [FEAR FACTORY] tried it, they saw how seriously they got taken, and now they're using a real drummer. Hey, I'm stoked at the fact they got Deen Castronovo [JOURNEY] playing on the [upcoming FEAR FACTORY] record ['Genexus']; he's playing a track or two on there, I hear. And that's gonna be awesome; I can't wait to hear his tune."
According to Hoglan, his involvement with FEAR FACTORY is something he never thinks about, possibly due in part to the fact that he was never a major fan of the band's music before he joined the group. He said: "I've gotta admit: FEAR FACTORY is — flat out, I'll be honest — it's the one band from my entire history that I just don't pay attention to. I'm not saying anything the band doesn't already know; they know they weren't on my radar before I joined them. They flat-out know this. I was not a FEAR FACTORY listener, or I did not pay attention to anything FEAR FACTORY ever did. When they were saying, 'Hey, man, do you know this song? Can we jam this in rehearsal right now?' And I'm, like, 'Pull it up on an iPad real quick, or an iPod, and let me hear it for five minutes, and I'll play it back for you, but if you wanna kick into it right now, this second, I don't know your material, dude. So I'll have to [learn] it.' And even when looking back on my career, the FEAR FACTORY era is just something that just… I just don't think about."
He continued: "When people ask me about FEAR FACTORY, I sometimes think, 'Why are you asking me about FEAR FACTORY?' And then they mention 'Mechanize', and I'm, like, 'Oh, fuck! Duh!' I can't explain the mental block that I have; I just kind of blocked it all out."
Hoglan went on to say: "I gave FEAR FACTORY the deadliest record they can ever imagine, at the time, and their efforts afterwards weren't taken as seriously. So the proof is right there."
In a 2014 interview with Metal Wani, former FEAR FACTORY drummer Raymond Herrera said that he thought Hoglan "did a great job" on "Mechanize" but claimed he didn't like "The Industrialist" "at all." He added: "I was really surprised that they used a drum machine [on the album], because I actually had thought about us doing that back when we did [2004's] 'Archetype'. I played around with the idea of possibly trying to record… or doing the album on a drum machine rather than me having to play it, but every time we did it, it came out really, really stale. Our demos were always with a drum machine, but it always sounded incredibly stale."
He continued: "I would have loved to hear Gene on that record ['The Industrialist']; I think it would have been way better… I was really surprised that they went down the drum-machine route, because, like I said, we tried to do that, like, 12 years ago, and it didn't sound very good. We were able to come up with a couple of workarounds, but at the end of the day, it just doesn't sound the same, it just doesn't feel the same. Unfortunately. I wish it did. 'Cause it would have a been a lot easier for me over the years than having to learn all the songs that I would program… I mean, originally, most of the FEAR FACTORY drum parts were programmed on a drum machine, then I had to learn them, then I had to play them live. So it would have been way easier for me to just program them and not have to learn them and not have to play them. So, yeah, they kind of cut a lot of corners doing that, and I think there's been a lot of backlash about it too."
Herrera added: "[Using a drum machine] makes it [lot] easier [during the] recording [process], 'cause you don't have to deal with setting up drums, getting drum sounds, your compressions, all your mics, you don't have to worry about editing… any of that stuff. So, I mean, it saves you a lot of time and a lot of money, but it doesn't sound very good, unfortunately. Like I said, I tried to do that a long time ago, so… As soon as you start to play a lot of the faster stuff… If you play really slow — like more 1-2 beats and more rock stuff — you can get away with doing it with a drum machine, 'cause it's not as noticeable. But if you start playing faster, it's very noticeable."
In a 2012 interview with ReGen Magazine, FEAR FACTORY guitarist Dino Cazares defended the band's decision to embrace drum-machine technology on "The Industrialist". He said, "The songwriting process was much quicker, much more efficient, much more cost effective.
"Obviously, a band like FEAR FACTORY has always embraced the technology from the beginning — we've always been open about it, we've always talked about it. We've always talked about guys like [producer] Rhys Fulber helping us out, ever since 'Fear Is The Mindkiller', which was after 'Soul Of A New Machine'. We've embraced all that.
"Most people are saying, 'Them using drum programming is no different. It doesn't really sound any different.' You know what I mean?! They can expect it from a band like FEAR FACTORY. Again, it's very cost effective."
He continued: "The way music is going today, a lot of people don't make much money anymore, unless you're a big radio band or something like that. But for metal bands like us, we make most of our money just on touring and selling merchandise. And the record company is not giving much advances anymore. So you have to find ways to cut corners, financially, to try and save money. But this is nothing new for us, again, at the same time, 'cause when me and Burt [C. Bell, vocals] first did our first demo back in 1990, it was with a drum machine. . . So it's nothing new for us. We started that way. . . And then it wasn't until we met Rhys Fulber when we did the remix album, 'Fear Is The Mindkiller', which was in 1992, and that was when we were like, 'OK, Rhys can afford all this technology. Let's bring it in, let's embrace it, let's use it.' And ever since then, we've always gotten criticized for it. Because most metal fans, they just don't… At the time, back in 1992, it was not really well known in metal to do that kind of [stuff]… I'll put it this way: it wasn't really spoken about. I mean, bands have used other members and other stuff, samplers and stuff like that, to do certain things, but it was never talked about, they never brought it to anybody's attention. We embraced it and that has has kind of always been our concept."