Front Line Assembly

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Formed 1986 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Front Line Assembly is the best known of the various electronic music projects undertaken by the prolific Vancouver-based duo of Bill Leeb (vocals, synthesizers), Rhys Fulber (synthesizers, samplers) and Michael Balch after Leeb left Skinny Puppy.
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Albums

none Front Line Assembly - Nerve War album art Front Line Assembly Nerve War (Album, MiniAlbum) Not On Label (Front Line Assembly Self-released) none Canada 1986 Sell This Version
none Front Line Assembly - Total Terror album art Front Line Assembly Total Terror (Album) Not On Label (Front Line Assembly Self-released) none Canada 1986 Sell This Version
KK001, KK 001 Front Line Assembly - The Initial Command album art Front Line Assembly The Initial Command (Album) KK Records, KK Records KK001, KK 001 Belgium 1987 Sell This Version
ST 7547 Front Line Assembly - State Of Mind album art Frontline Assembly* State Of Mind (Album) Dossier ST 7547 Germany 1987 Sell This Version
WAX 038 Front Line Assembly - Corrosion album art Front Line Assembly Corrosion (Album) Third Mind Records WAX 038 US 1988 Sell This Version
TMLP 24 Front Line Assembly - Disorder album art Front Line Assembly Disorder (MiniAlbum) Third Mind Records TMLP 24 Europe 1988 Sell This Version
TMLP 47 Front Line Assembly - Live album art Front Line Assembly Live (Album) Third Mind Records TMLP 47 UK 1989 Sell This Version
WAXCS 7075 Front Line Assembly - Gashed Senses & Crossfire album art Front Line Assembly Gashed Senses & Crossfire (Album) Third Mind Records WAXCS 7075 US 1989 Sell This Version
TMCD60, TMCD 60 Front Line Assembly - Caustic Grip album art Front Line Assembly Caustic Grip (Album) Third Mind Records, Third Mind Records TMCD60, TMCD 60 Europe 1990 Sell This Version
TMC 9188 Front Line Assembly - Tactical Neural Implant album art Front Line Assembly Tactical Neural Implant (Album) Third Mind Records TMC 9188 US 1992 Sell This Version
DCD 9051 Front Line Assembly - Total Terror album art Frontline Assembly* Total Terror Dossier DCD 9051 Germany 1993 Sell This Version
DCD 9052 Front Line Assembly - Total Terror Part II album art Frontline Assembly* Total Terror Part II Dossier DCD 9052 Germany 1993 Sell This Version
JRPC-1075 Front Line Assembly - Millennium album art Front Line Assembly Millennium (Album) Roadrunner Records JRPC-1075 South Korea 1994 Sell This Version
SPV 085-22292, 085-22292P Front Line Assembly - Hard Wired album art Front Line Assembly Hard Wired (Album) Off Beat SPV 085-22292, 085-22292P Germany 1995 Sell This Version
none Front Line Assembly - Live Wired album art Front Line Assembly Live Wired (Album) Off Beat, Off Beat none UK 1996 Sell This Version
O-101-P, SPV 085-43792 Front Line Assembly - FLAvour Of The Weak album art Front Line Assembly FLAvour Of The Weak (Album) Off Beat, Off Beat O-101-P, SPV 085-43792 Germany 1997 Sell This Version
MET 103 Front Line Assembly - Re-Wind album art Front Line Assembly Re-Wind (Album, Comp) Off Beat, Off Beat MET 103 US 1998 Sell This Version
Vinyl ZOT 247 Front Line Assembly - Implode album art Front Line Assembly Implode (Album) Metropolis Vinyl ZOT 247 Germany 1999 Sell This Version
MET224, MET 224 Front Line Assembly - Epitaph album art Frontline Assembly* Epitaph (Album) Metropolis, Metropolis MET224, MET 224 US 2001 Sell This Version
MET 303D Front Line Assembly - Civilization album art Front Line Assembly Civilization (Album) Metropolis, Metropolis MET 303D US 2004 Sell This Version
MR 2069-2, none Front Line Assembly - Artificial Soldier album art Frontline Assembly* Artificial Soldier (Album) Metropolis MR 2069-2, none Ukraine 2006 Sell This Version
MET 483D Front Line Assembly - Fallout album art Front Line Assembly Fallout (Album) Metropolis MET 483D US 2007 Sell This Version
mind 160 Front Line Assembly - Improvised Electronic Device album art Front Line Assembly Improvised Electronic Device (Album) Metropolis mind 160 Germany 2010 Sell This Version
MET 831 Front Line Assembly - AirMech album art Front Line Assembly AirMech (Album) Metropolis MET 831 US 2012 Sell This Version
MET 885D Front Line Assembly - Echogenetic album art Front Line Assembly Echogenetic (Album) Metropolis MET 885D US 2013 Sell This Version

Reviews Show All 4 Reviews

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Dragnilar

Dragnilar

July 10, 2020
edited 2 months ago
I am unashamed to admit that I am a huge Front Line Assembly fan. In fact, I am going to disclose that Bill Leeb is probably my favorite musician of all time. While there are definitely valid criticisms of his work (formulaic, sample heavy, etc), I personally can look past these flaws and find a body of work that is both consistently enjoyable and eternally mesmerizing.

While other industrial acts have ventured into their own particular directions, the one thing that has been interesting about Front Line Assembly is that Leeb has not been afraid to abruptly change his sound throughout his career. While the general sound has always been solidly EBM/Industrial/Cyber Punk, it has ventured into various directions at one point or another.

The earlier albums (Initial Command through Caustic Grip) are solidly in the more aggressive, minimal budget produced industrial vein, similar to that of a lot of other classic acts. Bill's experience from Skinny Puppy and influences from Front 242, Portion Control and the rest are evident. It was not really until Caustic Grip that the more signature sound of his work began to emerge.

While the whole of Caustic Grip is raw and still very aggressive and has a more minimalistic sound, there are spots where the "layered" approach and more futuristic sound start to emerge. Provision (which is in my opinion the best track on Caustic Grip) shows this as it does an excellent job of mixing in electronics, guitars, a great hook chorus and numerous samples. Needless to say, FLA's real sound was of course not fully realized until easily their next and most important album: Tactical Neural Implant.

TNI is where things changed dramatically and the sound of the band began to take on a heavily layered approach that provides the distinct EBM/Cyber Punk sound that FLA is arguably best known. I can say with all certainty that if anyone is ever going to give FLA a listen, TNI is definitely the spot to start at and based all judgements of the band. The album has their strongest songs, namely their signature ones - Bio Mechanic, The Blade, Gun and of course, Mindphaser. The recording sessions prior to and during the making of TNI also produced a lot of great B-Sides, some such as Target and Reanimate. But in general, all of the work done during the post Caustic Grip and TNI years are definitely some of FLA's best. That isn't to say they haven't produced great stuff since, but every band has its "eureka" moment, and TNI is definitely FLA's.

Moving beyond TNI, the other notable moments are of course:

- Millenium where FLA exhibited a strong industrial metal sound and produced what is probably one of their best starter tracks, Vigilante.

- Hardwired which while not as strong as TNI in terms of being pure Cyberpunk, does a great job of mixing the two styles dabbled in with the TNI and Millenium years and produced another solid set of songs, namely Plasticity (which was sadly not included on the album), Infrared Combat, Circuitry and Neologic Spasm.

- FLAvour of the Weak which is to this day, Leeb's most chaotic and interesting period, when the band ventured into a far more drum and bass / trance sound replete with lots of unpredictable electronics.

- Echogenetic, which after several albums of exhibiting similarities (I.E. Industrial metal, drum and bass), the band began to show signs of experimentation again and began to venture into the more purely electronic territory again along with experimenting with dub step.

- The more recent Wake Up The Coma, which is a mixed package, but is easily one of the strongest offerings in years. It is solidly produced and features some of the bands best work in years, examples being Eye On You, Living A Lie, Mesmerized and Structures.

Needless to say, I could ramble on forever about FLA and Bill Leeb. It would take eons for me to explain why he has enchanted me to this day, but if I had to give you a TLDR - He is the master of creating dark, intriguing, harsh (or at times melodic) electronic music replete with his own interesting voice and a seemingly comforting sound that is easily to get lost in and fill you with a sense of power.

Disclaimer: YMMV, not all may be 100% satisfied with listening to FLA all day. No money back guarantee.
cutjules

cutjules

May 5, 2020
edited 5 months ago
IMHO, despite several years of work with few interesting releases in early 90's, this band followed the tracks of Skinny Puppy and Front 242 but never reaches the same level of his fathers in an effort of trying to merge both. I always felt/thought that even if FLA is a popular Electro-Indus/EBM, I used to listen to them for few years and really enjoyed it. It often gives me the impression that something was missing, what someone calls great inspiration, soul, daring, risk or sincere artistic act; Maybe it's too under control, too hardly post-produced, too "square shaped" to me. And today I'm more convinced of it, as the band seems completely lost in dubstep sound FX or eternal variations of previous stuff. It's pretty sad.

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