Background/Info: There’re not enough adjectives to qualify Front 242, but let’s simply remind the Belgian veterans of EBM as the most famous and successful band in the genre from the EBM history. Front 242 created EBM in the early 80s and nearly 35 years after their debut they remain subject of devotion and veneration by the worldwide EBM community. It also is a perfect reason to celebrate this anniversary.
The debut full length “Geography” originally released in 1982 has already been re-released and re-mastered multiple times, but now gets a ‘deluxe anniversary’-edition for its 35th anniversary. There are many editions available, but this special box-edition is the one for the die-hard fans and has been strictly limited to 1242 copies!
Next to the original album on CD- and vinyl format we also get an extra vinyl album with rare material plus an exclusive 7” plus fan material like cards, posters and an extra label sampler featuring Alfa-Matrix bands.
This album has been released together with the re-edition of the albums “No Comment” and “Pulse”, which are all available in a special limited box edition as well. All boxes together create a unique artistic piece.
Content: I’m afraid everything has been said about “Geography”, which remains the debut full length of the band featuring Daniel B., Dirk Bergen, Patrick Codenys and singer Jean Luc De Meyer. The work was pretty minimal and clearly experimental, but several songs were driven by a danceable cadence and icy vocals. Back in time I really had a shocking experience discovering “Geography”, which I still consider as the best work of ‘242’. The Belgian masters showed a new sound made by electronic gear, which sounded frozen and even a bit disturbing.
35 years later songs like “Operating Tracks”, “U-Men”, “Least Inkling” and “Kampfbereit” still have this original piece of magic! I can’t say this album was the real breakthrough of EBM, but definitely an opus that should quickly entered into history.
The next vinyl (album) reveals work from some ‘242’ side-projects that were still active during the 80s. We already got the opportunity (thanks to Alfa Matrix) to (re)discover bands like Prothese (Daniel B.) and Underviewer (Patrick Codenys & Jean-Luc Demeyer), which were bands active before the set-up of Front 242. You’ll recognize the total experimental expression of Prothese and the somewhat more accessible Underviewer. You’ll also (re)discover the rare Front 242-songs that were originally released on the previous Alfa-Matrix re-edition, which is now sold-out. You here will get several instrumental versions of early songs and two so-called “Aerial”-versions.
Last, but not least we get an exclusive single featuring the famous early hit “Take One” and the song “See The Future”.
+ + + : There’s only one Front 242 and that’s what this legendary album once again reveals to the entire EBM community. You can hear that the tracks are from another decade (and Century), but they still have this fascinating analogue elements revealing pure coldness. It also confirms the great skills of producer Daniel B. and the charismatic vocals of JL Demeyer.
The main strength of this new edition for sure is the artwork of this box. This is without a shadow of a doubt the most artistic edition in history!
– – – : I can’t imagine any kind of regret on this album and especially for this unique box-edition, but you for sure might wonder if this new re-edition will be really the last one!? The real last studio-album “Pulse” of Front 242 was released 13 years ago and we haven’t gotten a new song since then.
Conclusion: I thought to have seen it all about “Geography” till the band and their label came up with this amazing box bringing the legendary vibes and tunes of “Geography” alive again.
Best songs: “Operating Tracks”, “U-Men”, “Kampfbereit”, “Least Inkling”, “Kinetics” + “Take One”.