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Front Line Assembly-Caustic Grip

1990 album from Front Line Assembly

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The chair is armed. I repeat, the chair is armed!! 94%

  • Apr 14, 2012
Front Line Assembly has been a pretty new addition to my list of favorite bands, as I just got into them about two months ago as of writing this. Much like their fellow Vancouver brothers Skinny Puppy, their early works are masterpieces of the “cyber” sound. Aside from mastering the cyberpunk aesthetic in their music, their early works are prime examples of how industrial music should be. Harsh, simple, and a little cryptic.


The mixing on this album is really solid since the vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, and percussion all come in really clear while at the same time, have a gritty feeling to the overall sound as to match its visions of a bad future for mankind. Rhys Fulber did a great job mixing in all the elements of the music.


FLA's style of industrial perfectly exemplifies cyberpunk media and of electronic music in general. Their style is founded upon intense electronic percussion and creepy synth-lines and sound samples, topped off with Bill Leeb's fairly cryptic yet harsh vocals. The percussion is especially worth noting because for me, percussion usually makes or breaks electronic and industrial music. Thankfully for this album, this was made before the cliché and annoying “nts nts nts nts” beat was around. So if you're craving intense yet ear-grabbing percussion, this album will be a really warm welcome for you. If you've watched or read any cyberpunk media from the 80's and early 90's (such as Akira, Bubblegum Crisis, Robocop, and Blade Runner), FLA's music paints perfect mental images of such media. If you're a pervert, you may envision pornographic BDSM imagery with this music.


All the songs on this album are really good, though some tracks stand out better than others. My personal favorite track off this album is the second track, “Victim.” This track starts off with some weird sound samples of what sounds like hostage negotiators and is followed with some of the most infectious percussion you'll ever hear in the industrial genre and brilliant, pulsating synth loops. I think Leeb dishes out his most gravelly vocals on this track. Another really notable tracks is the “hit” on this album, “Iceolate.” I know this track had a rather weird music video created for it back in the day, and this song has some of the best synths on it, especially the loops from 1:52-2:09. The best way to summarize this song is “violent dance music.” I thought I'd never say that!! Other tracks like “Force Fed” and “Mental Distortion” carry out the aggressive feelings “Victim” and “Iceolate” contain, though there's some slower, dark tracks like “Threshold” that buck the trend while giving the listener something cool to listen to. The closing track, “The Chair,” is the weirdest of the bunch, since it starts off somewhat slow as it's mostly composed of sound samples and eerie synth lines, while the latter half dishes out some violent percussion and dark synths.


If you love cyberpunk and crave music that matches such aesthetics, this album is essential listening. If you want prime industrial music, this is still essential listening. If you enjoy this album, you'll probably enjoy FLA's other works like “Corroded Disorder” and “Tactical Neural Implant.” For other bands of similar nature, you may also enjoy Skinny Puppy's “Bites,” “Too Dark Park,” and “Last Rights.” If you find yourself enjoying this one a lot, don't be surprised if you take out any Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson albums you have and get rid of them.

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April 18, 2012
Well conveyed!
April 18, 2012
April 19, 2012
You are very welcome.
April 17, 2012
Sounds very very cool. Your line "....don't be surprised if you take out any Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson albums you have and get rid of them" cracks me up!
April 17, 2012
If you're craving dark industrial music, then this is a must-have. The MP3 album is only $5.99 on Amazon (not bad for an album with over 52 minutes worth of music). Glad to give you a good laugh as well.
About the reviewer
David Kozak ()
Ranked #20
I'm a morbid cynic who thinks very, very differently from most other people. Chances are, if the majority says X is the greatest in its category, I'll disagree with that notion, because I tend … more
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