Artist: Front Line Assembly
Genre: Industrial Rock
Release Date: 13th May 2014
Label: Metropolis Records
FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY will always be known as one of those “legendary” bands that drew attention to the whole electronic/ industrial music phase that is basically driving the current music scene. Ignore the insanity that electronic (pop) generates with hit stars like KATY PERRY and LADY GAGA; groups like FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY (FLA) are truly where this is at. The band started in the late 80s after co-founder Bill Leeb departed from SKINNY PUPPY (another godfather of the electronic/ industrial genre) and forged this semi instrumental group that has been churning album after album for nearly three decades. The result of FLA's work has inspired the likes of groups like FEAR FACTORY and other prestigious rock/ metal acts that have really gone in depth to merge a sound that is both aggressive and catchy. If anyone says that one cannot dance to metal or rock, they should take a closer look at bands like FLA and their counterparts.
FLA didn't really move into their more electronic phase until 'Artificial Soldier' back in 2006, and since then they've been constantly blending in a sound that would be a favourite at a local dance club with the more anthemic and pile driving riffs that makes rock music so powerful. After 2013's rather successful marriage of electronic and rock with 'Echogenetic,' the band decided remix and release (nearly) the same album again a year later. The result is a strong line-up of fellow artists who have had a hand in FLA's work before, and vice versa- such as former band mate RHYS FULBER, industrial driving BLUSH RESPONSE who has worked with FEAR FACTORY, and TECHDIFF. Each one brings their recognizable electronic influences to these already pretty awesome tracks. ‘Leveled,’ mixed by SLIGHTER, is one of those tracks that sounds a bit clicky at first but builds like a wave and just crashes down with the right elements. RHYS FULBER does some work on ‘Killing Grounds’ with the ethereal vocal work, a dreamy atmosphere, and samples plinking away in the background but not so loud it ruins the dreamscape. For those looking for more distortion, BLUSH RESPONSE (for those who checked out FEAR FACTORY'S 'Industrialist' they'll see a track with the same title) provides a very aggressive and thumping sound that is more head banger worthy and doesn't quite feature that smooth touch that a lot of the other artists bring to the table. It's loud, noisy, and definitely heralds back to older FLA days.
The only struggle with a remix album (and this one is not excluded) is that unless the remix is a drastic deviation from the original album, it isn't quite going to garner that much attention. Granted, those who are in the niche of loving remix albums no matter what will find this album very enjoyable, but for the average listener who likes FLA, they will probably hear this and shrug a bit because it doesn't deviate much from the original 'Echogenetic.' There are a few stand out pieces here like the closing ‘Exo’ by HIJACKER- that arrangement has a more classical feel to it and just sounds beautiful- but compared to the rest they just don't quite stand out as unique tracks. In fact, the two original FLA tracks that aren't remixed like ‘Contagion’ and ‘Next War’ will probably grab more attention than most of the remixes (‘Contagion’ is a great opener with a very sci-fi feel and is just right at home with the entire feel of FLA's work). In short, the average listener for industrial/ electronic rock who has never heard the original album will love 'Echoes' for its catchy, upbeat tones, but for those who already know the original will probably pass it off as another remix and possibly a one or two time listen. If one was back in the older days of FLA this would be amazing because they were much more raw and less electronic then, but with the new age of music the two discs- 'Echogenetic' and 'Echoes' are too close in sound- making it hard to distinguish one album from another.
01. Contagion - 5:30
02. Leveled – Sonic Mayhem - 7:51
03. Ghosts – Comaduster - 5:09
04. Killing Grounds – Rhys Fulber - 6:15
05. Echogenetic – Youth Code - 3:41
06. Deadened – Liebknetch - 4:48
07. Next War - 6:19
08. Echogenetic – Blush Response - 4:37
09. Exhale – Henrik Backstrom - 5:07
10. Prototyp – HECQ - 7:30
11. Leveled – Slighter - 6:17
12. Heartquake – Techdiff - 4:49
13. Blood – Haujobb - 5:16
14. Exo – Hijacker - 5:26
Total: 6 / 10