Front Line Assembly
Wake Up the Coma


3.5
great

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
February 10th, 2019 | 24 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A handful of experiments and the poppier side of Front Line Assembly...

Front Line Assembly repeatedly proved over the years they can successfully shape shift their sound to accommodate the ever-changing trends. Even so, their trademark features always stood firmly as the foundation of each LP. The group’s industrial metal oriented era remains my favorite, although classics such as Tactical Neural Implant or Caustic Grip remain essential as well. The updated counterpart, Echogenetic (2013) was a brilliant return to the electronic roots, shedding all distorted guitars in the process. During this six-year gap, the band went through some modifications: the fortunate one was the return of Rhys Fulber and releasing the cool, expansive WarMech game soundtrack. Unfortunately, long time member Jeremy Inkel passed away last year due to asthma complications, however, his final contributions can be heard on the latest affair on ‘Structures’ & ‘Mesmerized’.

Wake Up the Coma was a deliberate move sideways, as Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber preferred a more collaborative setting. Thus, we’re presented some interesting additions, mainly the Falco cover, ‘Rock Me Amadeus’, where Mindless Self Indulgence’s Jimmy Urine sings in German. The tune already garnered bipolar reactions from the fan base. Despite favoring a less abrasive sound overall, ‘Rock Me Amadeus’ is undoubtedly the poppiest moment here. Nevertheless, I find it successful, maintaining the original song’s charm, while wrapping it in a contemporary production. The Delerium connections are on spot (this is available for several tracks here), however, let us not forget the last couple of records done with Fulber had the same leanings. Meanwhile, another surprise was to hear Nick Holmes of Paradise Lost on the epic title track. FLA processed his clean croon and inserted some brooding synths, alongside trap-oriented beats, as well as EDM build-ups. Again, Rhys had a word to say in PL’s “Depeche Mode” era, but this track surely drove the front man out of his comfort zone. Many purists will probably find it awkward or discard it, yet I believe it was a bold move that actually paid off. Moreover, the Chris Connelly assisted ‘Spitting Wind’ brings forth a WarMech-like instrumental graced by piano-led detours, airy chime pads and busy drumming. Furthermore, it experiments with different vocal styles: intertwined are Leeb’s distorted cyborg voice and the guest’s David Bowiesque tremolos & poignant shouts. Even though there are some interesting ideas on it, the track itself doesn’t take off like others on the album.

The rest of the LP consists of familiar material. I must admit I was craving for a couple of aggressive tracks a la ‘Killing Grounds’, but the majority of the songs are dispersed in the mid-tempo area. Whereas the sequenced synthesizers form the basis of most cuts, Front Line Assembly took their time to properly layer and embellish every segment. The increasing experience displays how easily the guys can craft a solid tune. ‘Tilt’ and ‘Proximity’ plod through pulsing keys that grow in intensity, only to burst into a more harmonious chorus. ‘Negative Territory’ ends closest to Delerium’s nostalgia, as Leeb adopts a softer vocal delivery to match the mournful music. I dig this crossover, mainly due to the fact that it adds a soulful touch to the usually mechanic FLA formulas (it also reminisces another highlight from Echogenetic, ‘Exo’). Thankfully, to balance the record, the guys offer us some vibrant numbers in between the moodier ones too. The most fun is the potential club banger, ‘Structures’, whose EDM influences are again augmenting the darker rhythms. At the same time, ‘Mesmerized’ shares a catchy groove and cool attitude. Together with the “ultra heavy” beats of ‘Eye on You’ or the drum’n’bass-led ditty, ‘Arbeit’, these would make KMFDM proud.

In the end, Wake Up the Coma isn’t that much of a step forward for Front Line Assembly. It consolidates their strengths by spreading out to cover different moods and sounds. The results are satisfying, but this isn’t the band at their peak. Bill Leeb mentioned in a recent interview: “I don’t think we need to prove anymore that we can make an album” and this is the reality. With such a qualitative discography behind, the group wanted to experiment a bit (the collaborations are a direct result to this decision). Besides them, you still get an album’s worth of solid to strong tracks. At this point in their career, I’d rather have them wandering sonic-wise much like Nine Inch Nails did lately, instead of treading the same grounds such as other acts in the genre.




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user ratings (11)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2019


4728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not the best FLA material, but there are several strong tracks here to put aside to your playlists.





'Rock Me Amadeus' (video) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwQBt85Jmp8

'Eye on You' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzGJ-0jLTpI

'Structures' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4Xu33IkVhc

'Wake Up the Coma' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQpbX4RHiX8

'Negative Territory' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aIMgLROfxk

'Spitting Wind' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LGBljXRNDg

'Mesmerized' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsMM6RL8vxE

'Arbeit' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCNZgl141wU

'Hatevol' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dr7hcpPzIXI

'Living a Lie' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJrv1WoBRAU

Digging: My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult - In the House of Strange Affairs

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
February 10th 2019


15084 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sweet rev ins. I still need to check this out

Digging: HEALTH - VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2019


4728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks! There are some awesome tracks and some standard FLA tunes. Curious to see the people's reactions on the title track and 'Rock Me Amadeus' most.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
February 10th 2019


15084 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I’ll report back. I haven’t jammed anything from these guys in years

Flugmorph
February 10th 2019


20668 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

not that impressed by this album but i feel like it can grow on me

Toondude10
February 10th 2019


13656 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

another damn good record from these guys



nothing really out of the ordinary overall but still solid af

Digging: Dream Theater - Distance Over Time

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2019


4728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

If they trimmed it a bit, it would've been better IMO.

CriticalMyth
February 11th 2019


8 Comments


I usually expect something a little heavier from FLA, even given their soundtrack work of recent years, but even the poppier side of their output is worth several listens, IMHO.

Dmax28
February 12th 2019


458 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Tilt is so damn good. T/t, Negative Territory, and Eye on You are really good too. I'm mixed on the rest. Rock Me Amadeus and Living a Lie should be bonus tracks at most imo. Echogenetic had a lot more substance.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 12th 2019


4728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree with Living a Lie and yes, Echogenetic is their tightest album since the late 90s IMO.

Cayit
February 12th 2019


16 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album is not Bad...

Echogenetic was better.

Flugmorph
February 12th 2019


20668 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

hatevol has a great atmosphere

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 12th 2019


4728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Structures grew on me a lot in the past few days, love the groove and that uplifting middle part

Flugmorph
February 12th 2019


20668 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

think i like the t/t the most

Willie
Moderator
February 13th 2019


17623 Comments


Nice review. I've only managed one listen, but it was kind of disappointing. I'll definitely give it more listens, though.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 14th 2019


4728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks! Yes, it's not one of their strongest efforts, but there are some strong songs on it.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
February 14th 2019


15084 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

man, this shit is great so far.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
February 14th 2019


15084 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

as if they covered rock me amadeus haha!

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
February 14th 2019


15084 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=rock+me+amadeus+simpsons&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj7tr-JmbvgAhUpUBUIHQ9ZBsAQ_AUIDigB&biw=1920&bih=963#imgrc=D9ahIievctD6iM:&spf=1550146329766

stonedinthemall
February 15th 2019


18 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not as strong as Echogenetic, which is probably my favorite FLA album right now, but still very enjoyable. The Falco cover came from out of nowhere, and I don't think it fits the album at all, but that hasn't stopped me from absolutely loving it.



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