Front Line Assembly
After more than a decade of solid EBM releases, FLA are back in a big way! While their last effort Epitaph delivered a superb mixture of soaring keyboard textures and other worldly production, Civilization takes the duo to new heights. The creative forces of Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber come full circle to provide an aural experience second to none. The album’ opener “Psychosomatic” is a hard driving commando loaded with attitude and thick bass lines. Pulsing beats and searing vocals combine to bring the masses to their feet at the dance floor. “Maniacal,” also the album’ first single, kicks in next with a menacing tone and vibrant synthetics. Strong melody and attention to every digi detail abound on this gem. The tables are turned on the listener with the following masterpiece, “Transmitter.” This indeed is the beginning of something very special. A subtler piece incorporating orgasmic female vocals by Leah Randi, who also provides a stunning bass performance on the title track.
This song got me hooked on the album, as evidenced by the chorus “Let’s all come together… let’s all join hands” playing over and over in my head. Reminiscent of earlier Delerium material, “Transmitter” will envelop you and take over without warning. During a recent interview, I asked Bill Leeb about the creative process on the album. “Rhys approached me and said that we should do another Front Line album, since he felt that there was another chapter in the FLA story to be told.” It had been nearly eight years since Bill and Rhys worked together on the FLA flagship Hard Wired. “Rhys and I have always had a great working relationship and we’ve never had an argunment or confrontation during the making of an album. The idea behind Civilization was to release something that we would enjoy listening to ourselves, which is the aim I was looking for.” To this end, “Civilization” delivers much more than a typical electro release. “We made this album for ourselves, not really concerned whether it would sell 5 or 5,000 copies. The programming and production took place at Rhys’ studio in Los Angeles, and we would send files to each other over the internet and share ideas.”
Feeling no pressure or creative restraints, Bill and Rhys have crafted a gorgeous body of work that captivates. “Vanished” is an excellent example of this, with space age bleeps and brooding bass. On the title track, we come to the apex of the album. “Civilization” displays provocative programming and sound design of the highest order.
The intro takes you on a mind trip to the outer limits of reality, with subtle vocal samples. Soon a syncopated percussion pattern takes hold and grabs your soul, culminating in an intense break. “Fragmented” follows with masterful percussion and electronic wizardry to spare. Some great guitar work can be found here, interweaved in a dense soundscape. Engineering brilliance is clearly visible on “Parasite,” with superb song writing and execution. This track proves that intensity need not solely be measured by high revving BPM’s. A sonic odyssey emanates on “Dissident;” a dreamy journey into a dark abyss. “Schiksal” picks up the pace with a dash of trance in the mix.
All in all, Civilization is a quantum leap in maturity and sound sculpture that leaves the competion in the shadows. Will Bill and Rhys take this ground breaking epic to a live setting? Bill says ” we are in a wait and see mode right now. Rhys is interested in touring. I would like to see the reaction of our fans to the album. We’ve already done plenty of tours in front of 400 or 500 people. If the album sells well, we would be open to a tour to support it. Then again, if it doesn’t sell well, at least we have produced something that we are proud of and is true to ourselves.”
Anyone with a taste for creative, invigorating music should pick up a copy and witness the transformation first hand.
Metropolis Records: http://www.metropolis-records.com/