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Album Review

Front Line Assembly's last album, Epitaph, received decent reviews in the press, but it split the fan base. Some felt it was merely the continued development of the band, some felt it was limp and incorporated too much of Delirium's sound (the band's successful off-shoot). With original member Rhys Fulber coming back to the group, the stage is set for a return to form. Civilization returns to the band's classic sound here and there, but it just as often turns to Delirium-style ambiance and neo-classicism. After making a grand entrance with two tracks of gritty industrial-dance, Civilization switches to the rather dreamy "Transmitter," a track with vocoders, violins, and angel's voices. It's what fans like to call "Delirium Line Assembly", but that's over-judging and ignoring the band's maturation. Few other bands in the electro-industrial world have the talent to convincingly bounce between the sweet and gritty like Front Line Assembly do, but it does take a while for the listener to adjust to the roller coaster of tempos and emotions on the album. But is it worth it? Considering the lack of serious competition, and that "Fragmented," "Transmitter," and the title track are fantastic, it just might be. Fulber has been gone for a while, and Civilization could be the result of him and Leeb getting reacquainted. It makes for a schizophrenic album with some underdeveloped ideas, but it does lay the groundwork all over again. Fans can hope for something more even-keeled next time. As it is, Civilization starts off as a disappointment, grows on you a little, and ends up an average Front Line Assembly album.


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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Civilization, Front Line Assembly
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