Few metal singers have a voice as distinct as Burton C. Bell of Fear Factory, G/Z/R, the non-metal Ascension of the Watchers, and now, City of Fire fame. In City of Fire, Bell has joined forces with current Fear Factory bassist Byron Stroud. Despite working in two bands together, City of Fire represents a different experience for Bell. "I have known Byron for many years, and for the past few years, as he played in Fear Factory, we grew to be great friends," Bell told Noisecreep.

"We always talked about music and realized that we had many similarities between us: the same music tastes and dislikes," Bell continued. "Byron knew that I would love the music he and his friends in Vancouver were creating, and he was right. When I first heard the music, I was excited by the sounds I heard. This is the music we both love to listen to and play." He deems the band's self-titled debut, available at the band's Web site, "a fantastic album of sounds."

Recording amidst the relative tranquility of Vancouver was a change of pace from the dominant urban pace of Los Angeles that Bell normally traffics in. It wasn't the singer's first sojourn north, though. Bell spent three months in the Canadian city while recording 1998's 'Obsolete,' which remains Fear Factory's most critically and commercially successful album to date.

"Vancouver is a beautiful place, but beneath the beauty is a gritty and dark underbelly," he said. "This dichotomy was prevalent everywhere. The surreal beauty appeared to me like flashes. If I was not paying attention, I would have missed it." Despite the city's flashes of inspirational brilliance, Bell said, "The greatest inspiration was whom I was working with: a new and exciting sound, being played by new friends I felt comfortable with and grew to respect. The energy was high during the creation process. Vancouver allowed me to be myself."

He also admitted to mining personal experiences for lyrical inspiration! Being away from family during the recording wasn't easy, but perhaps necessary? Bell candidly revealed, "I was away from my woman and busy working on music and freezing my butt off in a rehearsal room inside a motorcycle shop. I don't know about you, but if I go a few days without 'it,' I start getting 'aggro.' That angst can be heard in my voice. It's like Rocky's trainer Mickey said, 'Stay away from the women while you train, Rock! They make ya weak in the knees!'"

Despite our best efforts, Bell wouldn't crack regarding the current status of Fear Factor. The 'Reader's Digest' version: Band broke up in 2002, got back together sans guitarist Dino Cazares, put out two albums. Somehow, some way, Cazares was back and longtime drummer Raymond Herrera and bassist-turned-guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers were suddenly out.

No one is talking. No one knows who is or isn't an official member, outside of the respective Factory-ites' legal teams! All Bell would give up, information-wise? The description of the new Fear Factory as "the future of a classic." Cryptic indeed! Anyone care to decipher?