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Live Code (Live)

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Album Review

Taken from a radio broadcast of a Dutch concert, Live Code captures the touring lineup of Front 242 going through a set drawing heavily on F**k Up Evil material, but with a fair share of the earlier classics as well. In later years, the band dismissed this record in favor of Re:Boot, but regardless of the contractual obligations behind its existence, Live Code still makes a good treat for Front 242 fans. Kicking off with a nicely fried take on "Der Verfluchte Engel," Live Code exhibits a distinctly 1993 atmosphere for the group — older songs are supercharged with both the freeflowing aggression of F**k Up Evil and hints of the fractured experiments of Evil Off. Codenys, as was his general practice, sat out performing on stage in favor of manning the mixing desk, while the other three, supplemented by a guest percussionist, fired things up and tore down the house. De Meyer and 23 in particular pump up the vocal aggro throughout, proving to be a great vocal tag team as well as rabble rousers. No new songs appear and it's not the best starting place for new listeners to the band, partially because the sheer thickness of the studio sonics are unavailable, but Live Code still provides plenty of aural entertainment. The more rock-tinged efforts from F**k Up Evil have an appropriately blunt kick here, such as the heads-down charge of "Motion" and a corruscating rip through "Religion," which closes the set. Three Front Vy Front-era highlights also are deserved standouts here, starting with an invigorating call and response rage through "In Rhythmus Bleiben." Even more powerful, though, is the traditional pairing of "Headhunter" and "Welcome to Paradise," together turning into a monster take with electric guitar snarls and lyric changes (the "man" in "Headhunter" is now being sold "to make us rich and famous") working a brilliant transformation.


Formed: October, 1981 in Brussels, Belgium

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most consistent industrial bands of the 1980s, even though they regularly pursued a more electronic variant of the sound that swept into vogue during the '90s, Front 242 were the premier exponent of European electronic body music. Initially, the group was just a duo when formed in October 1981 in Brussels; programmers Patrick Codenys and Dirk Bergen recorded "Principles" and released the single on New Dance Records. A year later, programmer Daniel Bressanutti (aka Daniel B. Prothese) and...
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