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introKulttempel, Oberhausen, Germany
23rd October 2014
Front Line Assembly & Full Contact69

Prior the “Gothik meets Klassik” gig in Leipzig, where FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY are going to perform with a philharmonic orchestra, the band scheduled a few more concerts in Germany and Poland. It got all the more exciting when the news was announced that ex-member Rhys Fulber will be part of FLA's line-up – a first in 18 years! We checked out the kick-off of the mini-tour in Oberhausen.


Full Contact69

Opener of the night were FULL CONTACT 69, for which it wasn't the first visit at the Kulttempel Oberhausen as they already supported KMFDM here a while ago, for example. Hailing from Erfurt in Germany, FULL CONTACT 69 is a side-project of the EBM band EDRIVER 69 and thus another brain child of producer and vocalist Andreas Schubert. Focussing on dirty and raw electronics, FULL CONTACT 69 involves more crossover elements than the straight EBM of EDRIVER 69. http://www.edriver69.com / https://www.facebook.com/fullcontact69

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Music & Performance
Entering the stage in front of an already well-filled venue, Schubert and his companion Kai Kwai (keys, synths) were already on the ball and ready to bring the roof down. Unfortunately Schubert thought that the volume was way too low and didn't stop to mention it between songs, claiming that he would need “to feel the beat in my balls”. At one point he even left the stage to have a word with the FOH sound engineer – poor fella! I'm sure that he just tried to do his best. While FULL CONTACT 69 failed to cope with the fact that an opening act not always is granted the same sound volume as the headliner, it was all in good spirits and after all no-one in the audience made the same complaint as Schubert!

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After the first couple of songs, the crowd really drew in close to enjoy the meaty set of FULL CONTACT 69, who musically find the right balance between electronic dance and crossover influences, moulding the big rave beats and aggressive synth hooks which once made NITZER EBB or, for that matter, FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY big in the scene. In the end no-one had something to complain – apart from the singer, apparently!

Setlist
01. Shakedown
02. Ghostlight
03. Recognize my state (WM)
04. Move your ass
05. No first use policy
06. Provocative
07. Genetic disharmony
08. Recognize my state (MM)

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: 8
Total: 7.2 / 10

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Front Line Assembly

It was the third stop in Oberhausen for FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY since 2010, and in general the Ruhr district seems to be a stronghold for the band. Last but not least as they played shows in this metropolitan area as early as 1989, so they FLA have a long history with this part of Germany. But in this densely populated industrial region all things Goth and EBM are pretty huge, the citizens of the Ruhr seem to relate to darker sounds quite strongly. All the more the announcement that Rhys Fulber will be part of the line-up for the first time in 18 years was pretty big news for all long-time fans in the region, and actually the Kulttempel club was quite well attended on this Thursday night. After all, Rhys Fulber was Bill Leeb's key partner during the heyday of FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY and left his mark on albums like 'Caustic Grip' (1990), 'Tactical Neural Implant' (1992) or 'Hard Wired '(1995) and also worked with Leeb on all FLA side projects such as the highly successful DELERIUM up to 1997. http://www.mindphaser.com / http://www.facebook.com/frontlineassembly

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Music & Performance
So there were some expectations in the air when FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY entered the stage of the Kulttempel to the sounds of the intro, HECQ remix of ‘Prototype’ from the latest remix album 'Echoes'. The blasting and bass-heavy 'Killing Grounds' followed, a track from the last regular studio album 'Echogenetic', followed by 'Exhale' from the same long-player. The crowd was really up for it and Bill Leeb on vocals and Rhys Fulber on keys, completed by Jeremy Inkel (synths, backing vocals), Jason Bazinet (drums) and a huge video screen, just once again gave an example how an EBM/Industrial performance is really to be done! Eat this, laptop duos! But those who had hopes that FLA would perform very early material from the Rhys Fulber-era, now that the man himself is on board again, were to be disappointed. In fact Fulber's presence made hardly a difference compared to the last couple of tours, unfortunately.

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But even though the bulk of the set consisted of songs the band has already done over the last few years. No big surprises set-wise, last time the fans at least got the classic 'Mental Distortion' from 1990 but on the other hand there was not too much to complain about. The show was just too compelling, and the combination of high-tech sound and sci-fi visuals just carries you away. FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY would be the perfect soundtrack for a dark Sci-Fi movie. Or a dark Sci-Fi computer game, for that matter – and they actually did a game soundtrack with 'Air Mech'! The band obviously enjoyed the gig just as much as the fans, and classic tracks as the heavy 'Liquid Separation' or the truly epic 'Plasticity' didn't fail to impress while younger songs as 'Blood' or 'Deadened' perfectly blended in with the older ones. Bill Leeb, not exactly known as the most communicative person on stage, even dedicated the song 'Gun' to long-time fan who celebrated his birthday that night.

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After the main set FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY returned to do the standard two-song encore featuring the Industrial anthem 'Ghosts' and the essential 'Mindphaser', taken from the 1992 album 'Tactical Neural Implant' and surely one of the band's biggest hits. Surprisingly FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY came back for a second time, partly because of the enthusiastic crowd and partly because “we have to rehearse this for Gothic Meets Classic anyway”, as Leeb liked to point out moderately. So the rare 'Bio-Mechanic' finished the performance, just another one of those mid-tempo but epic, dark and futuristic hymns only FLA can do so well. If there's one band who knows how to do Industrial anthems right it's surely FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY!

Setlist
01. Prototype (HECQ Remix)
02. Killing Grounds
03. Exhale
04. Neologic Spasm
05. Blood
06. Surface Patterns
07. Plasticity
08. Prophecy
09. Deadened
10. Gun
11. Liquid Separation
12. Mindphaser
---
13. Ghosts
14. Millennium
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15. Bio-Mechanic

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: 9
Total: 9 / 10

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All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)


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