Characterised by a mix of hardcore guitar riffs, roaring vocals, pulse driving drum beats, and powerful basslines, Fear Factory has been making waves in the American death/industrial metal scene since their debut album, Soul of A New Machine (1992). The following year, they hired Front Line Assembly member Rhys Fulber to remix some songs to create Fear is the Mindkiller (1993). In 1994, bassist Andrew Shives left the band. In the same year, bassist Christian Olde Wolbers met the band whilst vacationing in LA and agreed to assist them with their next recording, Demanufacture (1995), which went on to become a hugely successful album. Fear Factory spent the next few years touring with such bands as Black Sabbath, Megadeth, and Iron Maiden. The band released a new album composed of Demanufacture remixes called Remanufacture in May 1997, closely followed in July 1998 by their new album, Obsolete, cancelling an appearance at the Dynamo Open Air Festival to finish completion of the album sooner. Wasting no time, they hit the road with Slayer and then began another tour with Rammstein.
Proponents of the concept album, Fear Factory have explored the idea of "Man versus Machine" throughout their work. Concerning their latest album, lead singer Burton C. Bell explained:
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