Friday, February 8, 2019

Frontline Assembly : " Wake Up the Coma"

The project's 20th album finds them pumping out what you would want from them. Aggressive dystopian dance music with slithering grooves. The first departure from their tried and true formula is on their cover of Falco's " Rock Me Amadeus" with Jimmy Urine from Mindless Self Indulgence on vocals. Things get darker on "Tilt" that almost borders on dark wave. It's amazing that 20 albums later these guys are still making things that sound fresh. By fresh the nature of the genre certainly owes much of it's identity to the 90s . These songs don't seem like a total plea for nostalgia and work in 2019. Then again I about a drug store trip away from dyeing my hair black on any given Friday so I am partial to this sound. I would think if you are taking the time to read this review you probably are as well.

I really dig the synth sounds on this album. They are mean and dark. The vocals are in that whispered rasp. They drops down to a lower more gritty spoken tone. Almost sung , but not quite. "Hatevol" is the first song that comes closest to being the more run of the mill 90s industrial. I think there is enough love in the song writing to keep it from defaulting to that. The sheen dulls a little on the marginally more upbeat "Proximity". They coming back bumping really hard on "Living a Lie" that has a more aggro beat reminding me of KMFDM. Nick Holmes from Paradise Lost sings on the title track, which is not as heavy as you would think it might be with him on the track. It's more like Gary Numan.

There is more of a techno pulse to " Mesmerized". Though it's darker than your typical Lords of Acid song more on par with My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult. It is not the album's strongest song , but it still works with what they do. Right from the first few bars it is obvious that "Negative Territory is a better. It's more melodic and moodier. "Structures" is fine for what it is. It doesn't feel as inspired as the previous song, but better than any pretenders to their throne. The pairing with Chris Connelly  is pretty smooth. Connelly who now fronts a Bowie tribute band called Sons of the Silent Age, tries to use his best Bowie croon. It sounds more like late 90s Bowie. I'll give this album a 9.5 , it's going be hard for other industrial bands to beat this one this year.

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