Former NIGHTRAGE singer Antony Hämäläinen, who recently unsuccessfully auditioned for the vocalist slot in FEAR FACTORY, claims that he knows the identity of the person who has been chosen to replace original FF frontman Burton C. Bell. “I know who it’s gonna be,” he says in a interview with Pierre Gutiérrez of Rock Talks (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). “So I already know it’s gonna be. But it’s not me. So that’s the thing — I know it’s not me. That’s the unfortunate part. I know it’s not me.”
Pressed about the identity of the new FEAR FACTORY singer, Antony said: “I’ll say this: it’s a person from Italy. And there was a girl involved [who auditioned as well, but didn’t get the gig]. That rumor is true. People will know who that is. She’s in a band with somebody who’s a well-known producer/musician. I won’t say who it is because it’s not fair to do.
“But I feel — here’s what I feel: the Italian person who got the job, I believe that there’s better people than both of us out there, personally,” he continued. “That’s what I think. But I believe that there’s people that were better than that, and me, that I heard. And I think maybe because they don’t have the touring experience, and they’re just YouTube people, maybe that’s the reason why [they weren’t chosen]. But there were some really good fucking people out there — better than what I did.
“Hopefully people like what I did — that’s cool if they do — but there were some really good fucking choices out there. If the dude from Italy ends up being the dude, then all right; that’s cool.”
Hämäläinen went on to say that he was a “huge” FEAR FACTORY fan before he auditioned for the band. “So if I would have got the job, I’d go up there and fucking windmill every night. You know what I mean?” he said. “It would have been incredible. But I know I’m not the guy. And it’s okay. But I wouldn’t say who the dude is because I don’t wanna fuck the shit up.
“People can judge from themselves,” he continued. “I think there’ll be people who will like that guy and not like Burton. There’ll be people who like what I did and not like that guy. There’s always somebody with a fucking opinion.”
After Gutiérrez expressed his surprise that a female singer actually tried out for FEAR FACTORY, Antony said: “Yeah, there was a girl [that auditioned]. And this person, I’ve never heard them sing clean, I don’t think, ever, so I don’t know how that would sound; I think that would be weird. I don’t know. I just know their names and the players in the game. I’m just here, and I tried my best. I know some people liked it and I know some people didn’t.”
Hämäläinen repeated again that he didn’t want to spoil the surprise and name the Italian vocalist that supposedly landed the FEAR FACTORY gig.
“They’ll announce it eventually,” he said. “There’s 20 million fucking Italian people on the planet. Good luck figuring out who that is.”
Hämäläinen‘s vocal rendition of FEAR FACTORY‘s “Self Bias Resistor”, which he recorded as part of his audition, can be streamed below.
FEAR FACTORY guitarist Dino Cazares, who has yet to publicly reveal the identity of the band’s replacement for Bell, spoke about the singer change in a recent interview with El Lado Oscuro. He said: “The future is gonna be definitely very challenging for sure. Everything is — life is. Every day we wake up can be a new challenge. But it’s how we take on those challenges. And for me, it’s been very positive.
“I’ve had a lot of people around the world contact me regarding the position of singing for FEAR FACTORY, and I look forward to it,” he continued. “I look forward to where this new person can take us — to a different chapter of FEAR FACTORY.”
Regarding what he was looking for in Bell‘s replacement, Cazares said: “I don’t want to get somebody who can’t necessarily represent the past; I want somebody who can do that. But I also want this person to have his own identity moving forward in the future — just as when we have to step into the past that he’s able to handle that as well as what we create moving forward.”
FEAR FACTORY is expected to release the first song featuring the band’s new lead singer later this year.
Cazares told This Day In Metal about his decision to showcase FF‘s new frontman with a new song: “I really want people to hear it and judge it by when they hear it. Because if I announce who it is right now, then it’s gonna be, like, everybody is gonna give their opinion before they even hear anything. So I’d rather people give their opinion of when they hear it than before they hear it.”
Asked about his previous comment that he was open to hiring a female vocalist for FEAR FACTORY, Dino told Bucketlist TV: “That was true. I auditioned a few women, yes. But it didn’t work out — not because they were female or anything like that. Because I wanted to pick whoever was best for the position, and it turned out to be a guy.”
Dino also addressed his statement from earlier this year that he wanted to give an “unknown guy a shot” at fronting FEAR FACTORY. He said: “Well, it wasn’t like I was only looking for somebody that nobody knew. I was looking for all different [types of singers]. Sure, if the guy turned out to be, or the girl turned out to be, someone that nobody knew and I gave ’em that shot, yeah, great. I was open to all of it, is what I’m saying. Male, female, whatever, known, unknown — I was open to all of that.”
In September 2020, Bell issued a statement officially announcing his departure from FEAR FACTORY, saying that he “cannot align” himself with someone whom he does not trust or respect.
Bell‘s exit from FEAR FACTORY came more than two weeks after Cazares launched a GoFundMe campaign to assist him with the production costs associated with the release of FEAR FACTORY‘s new LP.
Bell later told Kerrang! magazine that his split with FEAR FACTORY was a long time coming. “It’s been on my mind for a while,” he said. “These lawsuits [over the rights to the FEAR FACTORY name] just drained me. The egos. The greed. Not just from bandmembers, but from the attorneys involved. I just lost my love for it.
“With FEAR FACTORY, it’s just constantly been, like, ‘What?!’ You can only take so much. I felt like 30 years was a good run. Those albums I’ve done with FEAR FACTORY will always be out there. I’ll always be part of that. I just felt like it was time to move forward.”
In October 2020, Dino issued a statement in which he said that the door for Burton to come back to FEAR FACTORY wouldn’t “stay open forever.” The guitarist also revealed that Burton “lost his legal rights” to the FEAR FACTORY name “after a long court battle” with drummer Raymond Herrera and bassist Christian Olde Wolbers. “I had the opportunity to do something right, and I felt that obtaining the name in full was the right thing to do for the both of us, so after nearly four years we can continue as FEAR FACTORY, to make more records and to tour,” he said. “That is why it is sad to hear that he decided to quit and, in my opinion, for whatever issues he has it seems like it could’ve been worked out.”
FEAR FACTORY‘s latest album, “Aggression Continuum”, was released in June 2021 via Nuclear Blast Records. The LP, which was recorded primarily in 2017, features Cazares and Bell alongside drummer Mike Heller.
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