Front Line Assembly
Improvised. Electronic. Device.


3.5
great

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
June 23rd, 2010 | 88 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Rhys Fulber might have left again, but it hasn't affected the quality of this release.

There was a time in the early nineties when it seemed as though Front Line Assembly were going to break into the mainstream. After their landmark 1992 release, Tactical Neural Implant, they had returned with two albums that successfully mixed metal riffs with aggressive electronic music (a combination that was still kind of a novelty at the time). They had even taken things one step further during their 1996 world tour for Hard Wired by recreating the songs with a full band that included guitarist Devin Townsend. Instead of exploding into the mainstream, though, the band ended up falling apart. Rhys Fulber left to pursue other interests while Bill Leeb stripped the metal influences and pushed Front Line Assembly through a series of new directions – all of which yielded disappointing results. It wasn’t until Rhys Fulber’s return and the release of Artificial Soldier that the band seemed to get back on track – although still lacking the metal influence. It has been four years since the release of Artificial Soldier and Rhys Fulber has jumped ship again, but fortunately things haven’t fallen apart. Bill Leeb was able to retain his focus and deliver an album that mixes the modern EBM sound of Artificial Soldier with the solid industrial metal of Hard Wired.

It’s really hard to accurately describe what makes this album great without delving a bit more into the band’s recent past. When Bill Leeb dropped the metal influences after Hard Wired he replaced them with a strong drum&bass influence, but he never seemed to truly make it work. That eventually lead him to try integrating a bit of the melodic influences of Delerium, but that also lead to underwhelming results. This is important because it seems that he has finally figured out how to make all of those divergent elements come together and work seamlessly. Pounding industrial beats are coupled with drum&bass breakdowns, power chords are coupled with lush melodic electronics, and it finally all works without diluting the band’s core sound. This powerful musical backdrop seems to have even pushed Bill Leeb to do a bit more with his vocals. It’s no secret that Bill’s lyrics are pretty corny (and they still are) and that his vocals are easily the band’s weakest link, but he has done quite a lot to make them better. Instead of mainly utilizing his monotone, spoken-word delivery he has opted to use a multitude of effects that allow him to more effectively accommodate any given musical situation.

Improvised. Electronic. Device. certainly turned into a pleasant surprise. With Rhys Fulber’s departure, it was largely assumed that Front Line Assembly would go back to directionless experimentation, but Bill Leeb has managed to stay focused. He has retained the powerful electro/industrial sound established on Artificial Soldier and pushed it forward with the return of the heavy guitar riffs. More importantly, he has finally made the drum&bass and ambient electronica elements an effective part of the music for the first time. Improvised. Electronic. Device. is the first album since Hard Wired in 1996 that could truly be considered a great Front Line Assembly release, and we can only hope that this is the beginning of a new trend.



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user ratings (42)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
June 23rd 2010


16051 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Anyone that hasn't heard this band before could start with this album, but I'd suggest Millennium first.

bloc
June 23rd 2010


34925 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice review Trey, got this on my PC and I can't wait to hear this.

BallsToTheWall
June 23rd 2010


44644 Comments


Cool review. Never listened to the band but already on their myspace/

Digging: Mare Cognitum - Phobos Monolith

Willie
Moderator
June 23rd 2010


16051 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I can't believe that you haven't heard these guys before, Balls. A lot of their stuff is kind of mediocre but this album, Artificial Soldier, Millennium, and Hard Wired are all required listening.

How long have you had this, bloc? Check out the second track and the sixth track (I think it's track six) when you get a chance.

bloc
June 23rd 2010


34925 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nabbed it just yesterday. So far, I've just quickly cycled through a couple of random tracks, sounds pretty heavy.

Blindsided
June 23rd 2010


1871 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'll probably get this pretty soon, good review as per usual.

Willie
Moderator
June 23rd 2010


16051 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks. I think that covers all of the sputnik FLA fans.

JesusV4
June 23rd 2010


391 Comments


I really like Millenium. Haven't heard anything else though.

Willie
Moderator
June 23rd 2010


16051 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You'd probably only be interested in this and Hard Wired.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2010


31364 Comments


Great companion piece to your Sarah McLachlan review

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

anotherdeadjuliet
June 23rd 2010


263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wonderful band at one time, they just lost their way.

Willie
Moderator
June 23rd 2010


16051 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, they did but this one and the one before it have kind of brought them back.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2010


31364 Comments


Willie, I see Conjure One listed as a similar artist. Is that simply because of the Rhys Fulber connection, or do they actually sound similar? Because if so, i'm gonna be all over these guys

Willie
Moderator
June 23rd 2010


16051 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

No. It's the Rhys Fulber connection. Conjure One is Rhys' version of
Delerium.

- So, another companion review? Ha ha, what should I do next? Country?

Edit: these guys are EBM/ Industrial metal. Similar artist to this would be...
The reccomended by reviewer bands ;)

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 23rd 2010


31364 Comments


Yeah, but I knew of none of those haha

bloc
June 23rd 2010


34925 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Obv

Willie
Moderator
June 23rd 2010


16051 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ha ha. Well, considering that these guys are one of the more well-known industrial metal bands I guess you'll just have to hit up their myspace page.

AggravatedYeti
June 23rd 2010


7685 Comments


Rhys left again?
great review Trey, didn't even know this was coming out but most certainly on it.



Meatplow
June 23rd 2010


5524 Comments


Will check this one out, great review.

Did you end listening to Portion Control, Trey?

Awesomesauce
June 23rd 2010


1084 Comments


I liked Rhys Fulber's work on Remanufature so I dare say I'll be checking this out. Nice review too.



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