Burton C. Bell has announced his departure from Fear Factory in a statement on his official website. The split doesn’t seem to be very amicable as Bell cites “the toxic drama of the greed of three members (who) have dragged me through the unjust, judicial system, resulting in the legal attrition that has financially crippled me.”
Bell is clearly referring to Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares and former Fear Factory members Raymond Herrera and Christian Olde Wolbers.
The whole drama is all about the legal battle over the Fear Factory name. The drama started to unfold publicly when Cazares recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to finish the group’s new album. Burton called the campaign a scam to cover Cazares’ own legal fees, especially because the album had already been completed since 2017.
From dispute to dispute
Fear Factory formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1989. Throughout the band’s career, they have released 9 full-length albums and have evolved through a succession of sounds, all in their main style of groove metal and industrial metal. Over the years, Fear Factory has seen changes in its lineup, with lead vocalist Burton C. Bell being the only consistent member for 31 years until his departure in 2020.
Other than guitarist Dino Cazares, there are no original members left in its current lineup. The band went on hold in March 2002 following some internal disputes, but resumed activity a year later without founding member Cazares. Previous bassist Christian Olde Wolbers replaced him as the new guitarist, and bassist Byron Stroud joined the band.
In April 2009, a new lineup was announced. Cazares returned as guitarist, and Gene Hoglan as drummer. Bell and Stroud reprised their respective roles, and this lineup recorded the band’s seventh studio album titled “Mechanize” (2010). Former members Wolbers and Raymond Herrera—both of whom were playing in Arkaea—disputed the legitimacy of the new lineup, and a legal battle from both parties had begun. Despite this, Fear Factory has since released two more albums: “The Industrialist” (2012) and “Genexus” (2015).