Despite the fact that a new Fear Factory album is slated to come out in just a few weeks, singer Brandon Bell has stated he will be leaving that band. The long time front man has confirmed he will be moving on due to legal disputes that have taken a toll on himself and the band. He also wishes to focus more of his attention on his side project, “Ascension of the Watchers”.
Although the story behind the legal battles that have plagued the band for so long are not completely clear, there were disputes going on between Bell and former members bassist Christian Olde Wolbers and Raymond Herrera regarding the licensing rights and trademarks of the music, merchandise and live performances.
The parties worked out an agreement in which Bell would own the band’s rights and trademarks but would continue paying Wolbers and Herrera for using them. However, a few years after reaching that agreement, Bell filed for bankruptcy leaving the former members without the agreed upon income.
The case went back and forth and Bell was ordered to pay $214,307.24 to Herrera and Wolbers as well as $905.605 in legal fees. However, Bell continued fighting the case in court and the judge agreed that the new settlement was in violation of many of the stipulations of Bell’s bankruptcy discharge injunction. This would allow him to sue for damages in a case that took place last March. The outcome of that case is not public knowledge.
But the story did not end there. Once it was established that Bell owned the Fear Factory name, he moved forward with the creation and release of the band’s new album “Monolith” without the knowledge of guitarist Dino Cazares. This led to even more lawsuits, this time between Cazares and Bell, and as a result, the release of the album was postponed.
The upshot of it all is that Cazares won the lawsuit and the album will be moving forward, but now he needs to find a new lead singer.
In the meantime, Bell posted a lengthy statement regarding his decision to leave the band. He calls out a “dishonest representation and unfounded accusation of past and present band members,” and called the situation, “a toxic drama I choose not to be a part of.”
"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,” Bell went on to say. “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.”
Fear Factory formed in 1989 with Bell as the singer and he has remained in the band until now. The band released nine studio albums, the last one being 2015’s, “Genexus”. The new album, now called “Apochrypha” is due to release on Oct. 9 via Dissonance Records.