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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Front Line Assembly
Artificial Soldier
Metropolis

Rating: 9/10 ?


June 23, 2006
Last summer was the best time I've had since I resurrected my CD reviewing "career" years after doing my own fanzine (Screaming Skull) and trying to find homes for Everest-sized mounds of Metal Blade, SST and Sub Pop releases. The reason it was so great was in part due to the discovery of Skinny Puppy co-founder Bill Leeb's Noise Unit project, which produced the Voyeur album that I raved about in several zines and in my best-of-2005 lists of last year (the other big highlight was Mind In a Box's Dreamweb, which I recognize now as the sort of widely despised Eurotrash-dance-electro that causes upset stomachs in Kraftwerk freaks, to which I say all the better and repeat again that it was nevertheless probably the sexiest, slickest techno release of 2005 -- and here's to many more!).

This summer has been different. Abandoned to my own downloading devices thanks to Metropolis' smackdown on piracy, I'm on a tear of burning trance CDs from every free resource available, the best of which is epitonic.com in case you didn't know. But being informed about a forthcoming Front Line Assembly release sent gooses up my bumps, halcyon memories of waltzing into the George Thorogood show at Hampton Beach Casino through the power of two free passes and listening to Noise Unit on the drive up, bathing my workaholic cortex in Calgon.

Ah, but one grows up, damn it all. The fresh, clean feeling of getting way-kyewl new albums has given way to curmudgeonly whining when the new freebies disappoint, and so many do, really. Any techno-head with a 3-digit IQ should feel aurally raped by the new Zero 7, for instance; devoid of Tina Dico's hot-college-bitch know-it-all singing, it's not nearly as good as their first two records, with only maybe two songs not floundering in Third Eye Foundation noise-a-maniac bullshit at their codas.

As for Front Line Assembly's new outing, though, Leeb has recruited a commando squad of past and present project contributors. Along with Rhys Fulber, Chris Peterson and newbie Jeremy Inkel, Leeb plays wrist-thwacking sensei to the entire EBM genre, leaving little behind but the tattered remains of also-ran kraut-technoids fried to a delicate crunch in a hellfire of black-belt beats, acidic trance symphonics and sandblasted melody.

Awash in corroded breakbeats, opening tune "Unleashed" surges coolly and insistently forth, Leeb's reverb-dripping rasp leading a pack of Pro Tools multi-layers remindful of his and Peterson's aforementioned and treasured Noise Unit effort of last year, the Cirrus-esque "Liberation" in particular (later on, the KMFDM-grinding "Dissension" posts up a few lines of that song's rap). "Social Enemy" is the Bush-basher, one synth percolating on all cylinders over spacewalk soundtracking until a mother of a hook appears out of nowhere.

One first here is the use of guest vocalists commanding entire tracks, with Front 242's Jean-Luc De Meyer gnashing away at "Future Fall" and Covenant's Eskil Simonsson taking high-BPM trancer "The Storm." Aside from that, it's the usual labor of love, financed mainly by Leeb's worldwide-hit machine, Delerium, which has a record due out on Nettwerk in a few months.

So far this one's the high point in a half-year-load of utter, utter rock n roll nonsense. There's just got to be a way I can get on Paul Oakenfold's promo list. Stay tuned.

Reviewed by Eric Saeger
An LAS staff writer based in New Hampshire, Eric Saeger was named alt.flame\'s Newbie of the Year in 2000.

See other reviews by Eric Saeger

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