In a move that can't come as a shock if you've been following the Fear Factory situation unfold, vocalist Burton C. Bell has now said that he is no longer a part of the project.
Earlier this month, guitarist Dino Cazares revealed the band would be putting out new music in 2021. Cazares said the main roadblock was an ongoing legal battle, and the project was currently without a label, and in need of financial help. This led to fans encouraging Dino to start a GoFundMe to help produce the record. Bell distanced himself from the fundraiser after it was announced, posting on social media "Let me be clear, I am not part of, nor am I benefitting, from any GoFundMe campaign."
Cazares began work on completing the new album, even releasing studio updates with new drummer Mike Heller. Today, Bell released this statement:
"I consider myself a private person, preferring to keep my personal business to myself and trusted loved ones. I make my public statements with thoughtful intent, never deviating from the truth, in spite of the consistent series of dishonest representations and unfounded accusations from past and present band members; a toxic drama I choose to not be part of.
"The past several years have been profoundly agonizing, with these members bleeding my passion with depraved deceit. As a direct consequence of their greed, these three have dragged me through the unjust, judicial system, resulting in the legal attrition that has financially crippled me. In the end, these three members have taken possession of my principal livelihood. However, they will never take my 30-year legacy as the beating heart of the machine. A legacy that no other member, past or present, can ever claim.
"So, it is after considerable, contemplative soul searching that I have come to the realization that I cannot align myself with someone whom I do not trust, nor respect. Therefore, I am announcing to my fans my departure from Fear Factory, to focus all my energy and attention toward the continuing success for Ascension of The Watchers, and all my future endeavors.
"I am very proud of the Ascension of The Watchers' latest album, Apocrypha. The writing and recording process for Apocrypha has been a truly cathartic and artistic journey of exploration and growth for me. Reigniting my passions for my writing, allowing my music to flourish, enabling my soul to soar, saving me from the real hell that engulfed a significant part of my daily life. Collaborating with talented, kindred spirits has truly created an inspirational environment of support and mutual respect, a spirit I have missed for a very long time.
"I would like to thank all of my fans for their continued support throughout my career. I am very proud of my achievements, but, it is time for me to move forward. Now I look to the future with open eyes, open mind and open heart, as my artistic path strives for even greater success in music, writing and my art. It's true, 'the end is always the beginning'. The soul is free from the machine."
Burton's vocals may still appear on the new Fear Factory record, as they were laid down in 2017. In defending the GoFundMe, Cazares has said the added funds will help beefing up production on the final product. "This is to address some of the controversy regarding the Fear Factory GoFundMe page. It is not a scam. All donations go toward covering newly incurred production costs and not anyone’s personal legal fees.
"On the previous version of the album recording, which was completed in 2017, it had programmed drums. I decided to not make that mistake again and had Mike Heller perform live drums on the record. I later realized I needed to re-track guitars and bass to fit better with the live drums. I also decided to add new keyboards from Rhys Fulber, Damien Rainaud, Igor Khoroshev, Giuseppe Bassi and Max Karon.
"Damien Rainaud took over production duties for all this, and Andy Sneap is also handling the mixing and mastering. They all did an amazing job on Genexus, and I decided to bring them back for the new album. Burton's lead vocals, which were also recorded in full in 2017, will remain on the new version of the album.
"Fear Factory has exceeded its limit in borrowing money from the record company to complete the new version of the album. For this reason, and this reason only, a decision was made to ask for outside donations."