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Front By Front

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Album Review

Official Version was fantastic, but this album was something else again. Easily one of the greatest industrial albums ever made, bar none, Front by Front hit like a bombshell on its listeners and influenced more bands and songs than can be counted. Even the album art design, with everything from a rough pixel computer font cover to harsh video stills and blunt slogans, is a work of art, perfectly in sync with the electric mania inside (unfortunately, in the late '90s the entire Front 242 catalog was reissued with "high-tech" graphics). From the rampaging start of the album, "Until Death (Us Do Part)," not a single note, sample, guttural syllable, or headache-inducing drum hit is out of place. The album's most deservedly famous track can make an equally good case for being the definite EBM song: "Headhunter." A portrait of capitalism as mercenary terrorism with a wickedly compelling mock orchestral bass providing lead melody, "Headhunter" deserves notice not merely for the pounding music but the astonishing vocal arrangements. Richard 23 and Jean-Luc de Meyer serve up the memorable step-by-step chorus in perfect balance, the latter delivering each step like an order from on high while 23's singing adds on even more frenetic energy. The overall feeling of militaristic, blunt efficiency encompasses music, artwork, and lyrics — thus utterly appropriate song titles like "Circling Overland" and "First In/First Out." "In Rhythmus Bleiben" stands out as a particularly fine song in a series of them, the melange of computer squeals and glitches, building percussion, chaotic vocal samples, and a downright anthemic chorus resulting in one killer tune. The 1992 reissue does the original CD one better by also including another mix of "Headhunter," as well as the entire Never Stop EP.

Customer Reviews

Industrial's Defining Album

While there were better known groups (Ministry) angrier groups (KMFDM) and darker groups (Skinny Puppy), none made a full album with the impact Front By Front had. It is by far, the seminal industrial album. Nobody has come close in the 20 years since (it was release in 1988 on Wax Trax, NOT 1992 as listed above under Sony). (For anyone curious, Welcome to Paradise was not originally on the album - it was the b-side to Headhunter, and if you want the original Wax Trax artwork instead of the lame Sony artwork, it can easily be found online.)

One of the best techno/industrial albums of all time.

Circling Overland, Welcome To Paradise, and Headhunter are three of the biggest club hits from the 80s and fans still love these songs. However, there's much more here, Until Death, Terminal State, Never Stop and others all add up to make this one of the best albums of its genre.

Never Stop! listening to this album.

If you don't dance, you will want to. If you think you are too cool to like Industrial music, you are in for a rude awakening. I first heard Front 242 at Medusa's in Chicago and it turned me on to Skinny Puppy, Nitzer Ebb, and it keeps me going today. It is a perfect bridge between Heavy Metal and foot pounding, head thrashing dance music. I even played First In / First Out at my wedding (try it! it will get everyone on the dance floor). I was disappointed when Front re-mixed this entire album, I did not even recognize it and it hurt... Old School will always be the best school. Enjoy!


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...
Full Bio