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Complete Total Terror

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Album Review

A collection of home studio recordings from the time when Bill Leeb was Front Line Assembly in total, Complete Total Terror collects both Total Terror releases, making the group's early demos easily obtainable and providing a redundant title that Leslie Nielsen could appreciate. Leeb had purpose from the start, and there's very little here that could be considered noodling. Synths and the recording equipment might have been primitive, but Leeb skillfully used them to construct cinematic and layered pieces, equally concerned with structure and melody. Things are dark, but there's less dissonance than expected. The influence of Front 242 and SPK around the time of Auto DaFe can be heard, but pre-Micro-Phonies Cabaret Voltaire were obviously an obsession for Leeb, especially Stephen Mallinder's buried-growl vocals and the long bits of sampled dialogue. Rhys Fulber — not yet a full-time member at the time of these recordings — does some guest spots, but the liner notes don't bother to point out where they are. Even better is that the spine reads "Complete Total Chaos," another blunder from the never reliable Cleopatra label. Luckily, the label doesn't mess with the music, which Leeb and Fulber have remastered into a clear-sounding mix. At over two hours long it's a bit much for newcomers, but fans should ignore Cleopatra's shoddy packaging and enjoy this tour through the band's origins.


Formed: 1986 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Cana

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Front Line Assembly was the best known of the various electronic music projects undertaken by the prolific Vancouver-based duo of Bill Leeb (vocals, synthesizers) and Rhys Fulber (synthesizers, samplers). After working in the mid-'80s under the pseudonym Wilhelm Schroeder with Skinny Puppy, the Austrian-born Leeb formed the industrial/techno-based Front Line Assembly in 1986 with Fulber -- who initially joined on as a studio assistant -- and synth player Michael Balch. After a handful of compilation...
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Complete Total Terror, Front Line Assembly
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