Front Line Assembly
Following an extended hiatus, Front Line Assembly bolt into the spotlight with their latest release Artificial Soldier. Chris Peterson, long time collaborator and sonic enhancer, rejoins Rhys Fulber and Bill Leeb along with newcomer Jeremy Enkle on this all-out electro assault. While their previous release, Civilization, displayed a more laid back delerium-like approach, Artificial Soldier forges steel and raw energy reminiscent of their earlier works. The opener “Unleashed” sets the tone for the onslaught to come; an unnerving digitized menace loaded with energy and sonic bliss, where pounding beats play alongside Bill’s sinister vocals to forge a potent alliance. Yet with all of the synthesized mayhem, FLA stay true to their songwriting forte. Keeping the mercury at the boiling point, “Low Life” creeps in next with bombastic percussion and captivating textures. This one’s guaranteed to bring the masses to the dance floor. Robotic vocal treatments provide a surreal touch to the verses. The BPMs are revved-up on “Beneath The Rubble” where we find Leeb & company cocked & loaded. The electronic bass and musical layering are top notch. Be sure to fasten your seat belts for this one.
We are catapulted into hyperdrive with “Buried Alive” where driving beats and aggressive rhythms are interwoven with precision. Like a fighter jet piercing the sky, this gem breaks the sound barrier at Mach 3. Industrial treatments abound on “Social Enemy” pushing the needle into the red. With a touch of rave in the mix, this dance floor commando really satisfies. Jean Luc de Meyer (Front 242) provides his unique vocal talents to “Future Fail,” creating a moving piece. One of my favorite tracks, “Future Fail” will please rivet heads of all ages. I find myself playing this track over and over during midnight driving excursions.
Adding a new ingredient to their potent formula, FLA bring Eskil Simonson’s (Covenant) emotional vocals to “The Storm.” While Covenant and Front Line walk on different musical paths, their styles merge and work effectively here. Eskil also provided additional keyboard wizardry on this one. The remainder of the album is simply explosive, with each track adding to the grandeur of the experience. This should be hailed as FLA’s comeback album, as the band present themselves as true masters of their craft. Artificial Soldier gets a 12 out of 10 in my book and is a must for the industrial music aficionado.
Metropolis Records: www.metropolis-records.com