For three decades, the name of Front Line Assembly has been synonymous with underground electro/industrial music; renowned for innovative production techniques that blend cinematic soundscapes, pulsating EBM rhythms and bass lines, and aggressive yet subtly melodic song structures, Bill Leeb and his revolving door of collaborators have given voice to a generation and a style of music that remains as vital as when it first emerged in 1986. Since the addition of keyboardist Jeremy Inkel and guitarist Jared Slingerland (both also current and former members of Left Spine Down, respectively), Front Line Assembly has steadily settled into a stable band dynamic with Leeb concentrating on vocals and songwriting, continuing to wage the communications war through his lyrical musings on the violent and technological state of a world gone haywire. During the band’s tour for the 2010 album Improvised.Electronic.Device., Front Line Assembly performed at the prestigious Kinetik Festival in Montreal, delivering a powerhouse performance that is now offered in this live DVD presentation, Kampfbereit
When any band lasts for a considerable number of years like Front Line Assembly, there comes the expectation that while the emphasis will be on newer material, the fan favorites over the years must be made part of the set list (the “hits,” if you will). To look at the set list on Kampfbereit, one must give the group credit for not only doing just that, but doing so in a manner that intersperses the old and the new to keep the crowd consistently satisfied and guessing as to what song will come next. The martial five-count of “I.E.D.” begins the proceedings, the explosive chorus effectively getting the audience riled up and ready for the onslaught of the 1995 hit “Circuitry.” Other songs from Improved.Electronic.Device. like “Angriff” with its virulent chorus offset by a chilling ambient guitar intro, the pumping beats and guttural brusqueness of “Shifting Through the Lens,” and the caustic breakbeat-laden “Hostage” all stand up brilliantly beside classics like “Prophecy” and “Plasticity.” A highlight of the performance is Caustic Grip‘s “Resist,” in which all of the band members join in percussive duties with drummer Jason Bazinet for a veritable drum circle that recalls all of the hallmarks early industrial/EBM; indeed, despite Leeb’s assertion that the song is “something old,” it sound as fresh and as vigorous as it did in 1990. Closing out the proceedings are the vicious rockers of “Millennium” and “Liquid Separation,” demonstrating that with or without guitars, Front Line Assembly knows how to keep the energy levels on high right from start to finish.
Much credit should be given to director Anastasia Blink-Warhol – a.k.a. NastyByte – for her proficiency in this production; Kampfbereit features a crisp sound and a sharp visual sensibility that focuses purely on the band in its live element with few distractions. Capturing multiple angles – a combination of thoughtful camera setup and clever editing as the video encompasses other performances on the tour (although the emphasis is clearly on Kinetik) – and taking its sound directly from the mixing board, the cheers of the audience are never intrusive during the songs, but quite loud and clear in the moments in between. Although this lack of frilly extravagance does make for a rather bare-bones DVD that features no bonus material (aside from the hidden bonus track, “The Legend of Soy Leeb,” which can only be accessed via the tracks list in the menu – “12 tracks, 12 paths to the END. To watch the track called ‘Legend,’ one must start at the END.”), there is something quite refreshing about its simplicity of presentation, with Vlad McNeally’s cover artwork adding a nice touch that recalls the multiple artistic styles that have adorned FLA’s discography over the years – technological yet abstract.
To put it simply, Kampfbereit
Front Line Assembly Website http://www.mindphaser.com
Front Line Assembly MySpace http://www.myspace.com/thefrontlineassembly
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Front Line Assembly Twitter http://www.twitter.com/F7A
NastyByte Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NastyByte.Filmproduktion
MVD Visual Website http://www.mvdvisual.com
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)