Title: Shifting Through the Lens
Artist: Front Line Assembly
Genre: Electro / Industrial
Release Date: 28th May 2010
Label: Dependent / Metropolis
The Canadian FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY has been one of the leading Electronica / Industrial acts since the 1980s when Bill Leeb started this project after leaving the young SKINNY PUPPY, another Canadian act which soon gained cult status. FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY albums like ‘Caustic Grip’ (1990), ‘Tactical Neural Implant’ (1992) or ‘Hard Wired’ (1995) are still considered as huge classics of the scene. To many fans, the last few albums were not on par with the old big ones but now FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY are about to return with a new album, titled ‘Improvised Electronic Device’, which is said to be one of their best in years. But there’s already a harbinger of the new album, the single ‘Shifting through the Lens’. While it will be released in late May it already got some club and airplay, causing quite some excitement among the fan base. Word has it that the title track of the single is going to be FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY’s biggest club hit in ages, so let’s check out the potential of the three-track single release.
The band themselves say about this song “If there was ever a time to pick an obvious club hit, this was it.” And indeed, ‘Shifting through the Lens’ - on the MCD available as an extended version - is a pretty upbeat and dancy track with compelling rhythms. The drums are somewhat tribal, the bass line throbbing and pulsating. Bill Leeb’s voice is pretty vocoded, which sounds fine but does not contribute to the catchiness of the song. And here we have the biggest problem of it: For a song which is promoted as the potentially biggest club hit of the band in years it is rather faceless. It does have a chorus, even a nice one, but it misses a real hook. “Shifting through the Lens’ is a really good song, and a dancy one, but at least in my book it lacks catchiness. It’s nowhere near a massive, classic FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY single like ‘Mindphaser’.
But there are further songs on the single. ‘Angriff’ is a track which will also appear on the forthcoming album, and quite rightly so. A pretty strong mid-tempo stomper which takes its time to build up and which revives the heavy guitars FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY introduced once with their ‘Millenium’ album in the 1990s. A dark masterpiece, and Bill Leeb’s vocals sound like trademark FLA. Truly album-worthy! The third track is the non-album track ‘Endless Void’, an instrumental piece of nine and a half minutes running time and very reminiscent of early DELERIUM, Bill Leeb’s most successful side project. Makes a great listen but I can see why it wasn’t included in the album as well. At the end of the day we have a very solid FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY single with three strong tracks which make me looking forward to the album, which should be really great. On the other hand, ‘Shifting through the Lens’ lacks something special to make it the massive club hit which the band would like it to be. I for one wouldn’t have minded a few remixes of the title track as well, especially as this is apparently a release with the clubs in mind.
01. Shifting through the Lens
03. Endless Void
http://www.mindphaser.com/ / www.myspace.com/thefrontlineassembly
Total: 8 / 10