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Obsolete (album)

The meaning of «obsolete (album)»

Obsolete (styled °BSΩLE+e on the album cover) is the third studio album by American industrial metal band Fear Factory, released on July 28, 1998. Conceptually, it is a sequel to 1995's Demanufacture. With the success of its fourth single, "Cars," a Gary Numan cover that featured Numan himself on vocals, Obsolete would break Fear Factory into the mainstream and remain their highest selling album.[6]

The group began writing and pre-production in late 1997. This came to a sudden halt when Ozzy Osbourne invited Fear Factory to open for the reunited Black Sabbath at two sold-out stadium shows at the Birmingham NEC. Fear Factory also headlined their own concert on December 7 in London. The band intended to return to work on their album in Los Angeles until late January when they would record in Vancouver with producers Rhys Fulber and Greg Reely. The working title Obsolete was announced during this time although not certain to remain.[7]

In a first, guitarist Dino Cazares tuned down to A for this album.[8] Gary Numan appears at the beginning of "Obsolete" and on the cover of his own 1979 song "Cars."

"Edgecrusher" is an unusual track in that during parts of the song, Olde Wolbers plays a stand-up bass,[9] while the breakdown features hip hop scratching. The latter would prove to be a point of contention not only with purist listeners,[10] but within the band itself: According to Herrera, Olde Wolbers' suggestion to include it was initially met by strong resistance from Cazares, as did a number of other experimental ideas.[11]

A concept story is contained within the music and continues where Demanufacture left off. Obsolete is about the future of mankind and how machines have taken over humanity. It was inspired by the band's belief that humanity has become too reliant on technology.[8][12] Bell explained, "We're up to the point in the story where man is obsolete. Man has created these machines to make his life easier, but in the long run it made him obsolete. The machines he created are now destroying him. Man is not the primary citizen on earth."[13]

However, a hero named Edgecrusher sets out to destroy the machines and save humanity. The story of Obsolete was inspired by books like The Boys from Brazil, Brave New World, and 1984.[8]

The CD booklet features a narrative that details one chapter in the conflict between humankind and technology which corresponds with the songs. Illustrations by artist Dave McKean, famous for his work in comic books, are also based on themes or characters from the record. Bell explained the wealth of booklet content:

Edgecrusher is the main character and protagonist.

In the songs "Shock", "Descent", "Hi-Tech Hate", and "Resurrection", Burton C. Bell portrays Edgecrusher as the one singing the lyrics. The closer song, "Timelessness", is about him as well. As he has been captured by the Securitron in the story's conclusion, the song captures his words (or thoughts) of fear and despair as he is in jail or possibly in the process of being executed.

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