Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares is a pioneer. His ultra-tight picking, monster tone and pioneering use of seven and eight string guitars helped to solidify the combination of mechanical precision and brutal riffing that spurred an industrial metal revolution and eventually fed into the development of the djent sound. And Dino’s riffage is in fine form on the band’s new album, The Industrialist. The collection is perhaps the most pure representation of the Fear Factory philosophy yet, with Dino handling guitar, bass, and drum programming, and vocalist Burton C. Bell dishing up the kind of anthemic melodies and brutal textures that made albums such as Demanufacture and Obsolete such classics.
A big part of Fear Factory’s sound is Dino’s use of silence, strategically placed within otherwise busy riffs. And although some players prefer using noise gates to get those ‘holes of silence’ as tight as possible, Dino achieves the effect via a much more analog method: “It’s called having a really good right hand!” he laughs. “A long time ago when we first started the band, we decided it was going to be called Fear Factory and it was going to be industrial. Back then a lot of the bands looped a guitar riff. KMFDM, Ministry, whoever, they would loop a riff that would go over and over. And it would sound like a looped, mechanical riff. So I always tried to copy that. I really learned how to palm mute and stop really fast. Like for instance, ‘Self Bias Resistor’ [sings riff]. It’s just that rhythm over and over again, and it has that really quick stop in between. It sounds like a cut or an edit but it’s not. And that’s how I developed my style on how to be really tight. Normally if someone’s playing that riff, you’ll hear a little noise in between the riffs. I’ve learned how to eliminate that noise, not just with a noise gate but with my palm.”
For around five years now, Cazares has built his tone around the Seymour Duncan Blackouts active humbuckers in his Ibanez LA Custom Shop guitars. “I’ve been using the Blackouts for some time now,” he confirms. “I remember when they were talking to me about it and they used me as a guinea pig for the prototype of the Blackouts. That was when I was working on the first Divine Heresy record in 2007. They sent me a prototype and I was like, “Wow, this is really [bleeping] cool.” And I just fell in love with it, and I’ve been using them ever since. I use them for seven-string and eight-string. It has that midrange presence which is what I love, what I need to cut through on recordings. That midrange boost really cuts through on recordings and live, so that’s one of the benefits I love.”
There’s one thing which Dino requests on his personal Blackouts that sets them apart slightly, and shows off his allegiance to the pickup: “I always tell them when they make mine to make the logo bigger. So instead of having the smaller Seymour Duncan logo, it has a bigger one. It looks cool on my pickup! I’m trying to get them to make different color ones now too. I know they can do white but I want them to do other stuff like green and red. Not pink! But green, red, yellow…”
The Industrialist is released on June 5. Preorder it here.