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Artist: Front Line Assembly Title: Echoes Label: Metropolis Date: May, 2014 01. Contagion 02. Leveled – Sonic Mayhem 03. Ghosts – Comaduster 04. Killing Grounds – Rhys Fulber 05. Echogenetic – Youth Code 06. Deadened – Liebknetch 07. Next War 08. Echogenetic – Blush Response 09. Exhale – Henrik Backstrom 10. Prototyp – HECQ 11. Leveled – Slighter 12. Heartquake – Techdiff 13. Blood – Haujobb 14. Exo – Hijacker FLA are the Jaromir Jagr of industrial music. They haven't slowed down at all (at the time of this writing Jagr just scored the overtime winner for the Panthers) and just keep plugging away even though they're a rat's whisker away from getting the senior discount at the local Burger King. In 2013 they released Echogenetic to much acclaim fusing their hard edged style with today's music trends. So a year after that they now put together a remix album with a who's who of industrial music. I don't know who any of these people are the same way I don't know if the immigrant in the kitchen of my favorite restaurant isn't giving my meal a little bit of the old special sauce. Gotta trust. And pray. Lots of prayers. And trust me when I tell you they knocked it out of the park with this one. The remixes are lush and dynamic. On the headphones it was pure aural bliss. Electricity courses through android circuits and I'm reminded of how great industrial music can be. Millions of bits and bytes flow in unison; morphing, oscillating like a sentient being. The atmosphere is robot futuristic, sometimes ruthlessly aggressive but often placid leading to a dramatic eruption that will rattle some windows. There are moments where the remixers bring back the old sound of FLA and I can smile and reflect. The programming is off the chart. The Blush Response remix threatens to start an electrical fire and I'm convinced the HECQ mix was created by some form of Artificial Intelligence. On top of awesome remixes you get two new tracks that were co-written by Ian Pickering of the Sneaker Pimps. Both are rich in sound and detail, but I was floored by the eminent danceability of Next War. When that hook drops it will forcibly eject you from your seat. There are so many standout moments it's tough to single out just a few. Even though I, uh...kinda just did that. The only gripe I have is that there is a deluxe version where you get 4 extra tracks, but it's only available with the digital album. Pickard gets it. Look thanks for the lyrics of the new tracks, bu I bought your little digipak, shouldn't the extra tunes be a reward for not being a pirate? Rrrrr you serious? That minor complaint aside, if you're a fan of industrial music or even electronic music (and I know that you are) do not hesitate to pick this up. Metropolis Bandcamp Amazon
Artist: Front Line Assembly Title: Echogenetic Label: Metropolis Date: July, 2013 1.Resonance 2. Leveled 3. Killing Grounds 4. Blood 5. Deadened 6. Ghosts 7. Echogenetic 8. Exhale 9. Exo 10. Prototype 11. Heartquake "I don't know if it's my mind playing tricks on me, but every so often you look out these little windows...you get the sense that something might be looking back at you." Why? Why is the western world up in arms if this prepubescent boy screams for attention? Who gives a sh*t? Think the people in Syria care if that middle school child grinds on Beetlejuice? Extra extra, spoiled Hollywood brat sacrifices dignity and self respect. Is this really news. When the parents of that malnourished boy step up to spank that ass and put it on YouTube that will be news. You know Madonna masturbated in a wedding dress on stage in front of millions for the same network. Somehow life went on. I think the more depressing side of this was that "twerking" made it into Webster's dictionary and my kids cartoons. Disturbing. This takes me to a dark place I'm reluctant to tread. Which is where the revolving member door of FLA brings me. I used to hate this band and dismiss it due to the raspy, distorted vocals, but that changed. It changed when I realized how lush and atmospheric their synth programming was. Masterful. I came to tolerate the vocals and now for the most part I treat them as another synth preset. Their depiction of a cold and post apocalyptic work is a theme that runs through the FLA catalog. And what a catalog it is. What is this their 87th album? Bill Leeb is the mastermind behind the project and as supremely talented as he is I think it's just as remarkable that they've found a way to make the same album over and over again. First and foremost this project is EBM/Industrial music and is legendary in electronic music circles. Let's not forget they have a relationship with the psy community. Remember the Cydonia Remix of Colombian Necktie? Their last album was a soundtrack to a video game and I believe this to be their best since Implode back in 1999. It's a mix of the dreary instrumental death march of Hard Wired and the dance dance viability of Flavour of the Weak. All the while giving Skrillex the finger. They've taken dubstep and put their atmospheric stamp on it. Rich programming is the hallmark though as they've ditched the guitars and went all electronic. From the dramatic and jarring Resonance it moves into the throaty crawl of Leveled. The alien tendrils reach deep even providing an eerie moment of rest. Killing Grounds is their NIN Closer radio moment. It's poppy and infections and it might make you, umm... "Peggy I can't stop! What is happening!" Probably not. Blood is an eviscerated android slowly pulling itself along the metal floor and is thick with electronic regret. Deadened (dark enough for you?) will get you your cyber fix dance on. Which brings me to Ghosts. Most of the time I don't pay attention to lyrics of pop songs I like because it will reveal how stupid a song really is and then I'll be embarrassed to listen to it. Ghosts is a glitchy yet melodic suicide note. "I climb the stairs, don't want to leave a blood filled mess." Man I hope my kids don't take music so seriously. This has disturbed soul shooting up a school written all over it. The title track is another slow assault like a horde of zombies. Deliciously dark which had me waiting for Exhale. Crack is wack. And that's not what I meant. It's another of the more danceable tracks followed by Exo which has a haunting piano melody and deep layering. Prototype is the instrumental opus. Couple the cyber darkness of the Matrix with the gritty and dirty reality of Elysium and this is the machines time to conquer. Outstandingly visceral. They close with Heartquake and it is a combination of power and restraint. Great EBM. Like I said I believe this to be their best since Implode. Dark and twisted with the richness and full flavor I've come to expect. It's an epic release and I cannot stop listening to it. Metropolis Amazon (Holy sh*t I just linked to Amazon!) Mdk