Front Line Assembly – Echogenetic (CD Album – Dependent)Posted on 27/06/13
Genre/Influences: EBM, IDM.
Content: A few months after the conceptual and visionary “AirMesh”-album FLA strikes back with a new studio release. Bill Leeb and his acolytes have announced a ‘purely electronic return’ to the classic FLA albums like “Caustic Grip” or “Tactical Neural Implant”. That’s rather positive news although I’ve to recognize I really liked the previous opus “Improvised Electronic Device”, which was one of the heaviest releases of the band in years.
So let’s concentrate on this new work featuring 11 songs. “Echogenetic” features the typical FLA trademark made of complexity, sophistication, brilliant sound research and a global outstanding production in sound. There’s a constant move in between EBM elements and IDM. FLA once more reveals their impressive song writing, which is not always that easy to catch. You really have to be familiar with FLA to seize the content and progression in writing. “Echogenetic” is not always what I can call an accessible album. It’s a release clearly taking a distance with the average dark-electro productions and typical 4 to 4 EBM formula.
FLA is made of meticulous composers, building up a song like real craftsmen. It results in multiple manipulated sound treatments placed on different sound layers and driven by some carrying leads. I sometimes get the impression their focus is more orientated on the impact of a sound instead of achieving songs with easy recognizable verses and a chorus.
FLA are sound architects, which they reveal on most of the songs. I especially was impressed by the deep blasting bass lines –which are quite typically FLA-like, and the multiple kinds of flat sound treatments –which are rather innovative. Some of these flat sounds are rather used in the wide techno fields, but here create an interesting new perspective in the sound for FLA.
“Echogenetic” mainly moves in between hard and danceable pieces at one side and softer and sometimes more experimental parts at the other side. A song like “Leveled” is quite alluring, but I definitely prefer the heaviest cuts like “Killing Grounds”, “Deadened” or yet the sublime “Exhale”. “Exhale” is a perfect example of all the writing and production skills of FLA. It’s the kind of song most of the electro artists can only dream of. It’s that sophisticated and yet powerful and danceable. This is the kind of FLA-stuff that will ravish of all of their fans. Bill Leeb’s particular timbre of voice and spooky way of singing remains another essential trademark of the band and this album. Leeb doesn’t use and abuse tortured vocal effects, but perfectly controls his voice as a real instrument.
I won’t compare this album to the “Caustic Grip”-period as “Echogenetic definitely sounds more complex and from a different era.
Conclusion: Front Line Assembly remains a very unique experience in sound belonging to a very particular electronic scene. After the impressive new album of Skinny Puppy this other Canadian pioneer of electronics unleashed a new creative artistic brainchild.
Best songs: “Exhale”, “Killing Grounds”, “Deadened”.
Band: www.mindphaser.com / www.facebook.com/frontlineassembly
Label: www.dependent.de / www.facebook.com/dependent.records
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