Jul 2018 05

Front Line Assembly - WarMechFront Line Assembly
Category: Electro / Industrial / Dubstep
Album: WarMech
Blurb: An improved follow up to Front Line Assembly’s 2012 AirMech soundtrack and a fine showcase of what Jeremy Inkel added to his 13 years in the band.


 

AirMech is a good video game soundtrack, better than the game deserved. That’s not to say AirMech is a bad game… it isn’t. But it’s a real time strategy game that is very mechanical and not very emotional. While most of the AirMech soundtrack would fit that environment just fine, there are touches of emotional melody in the songs that transcend its game trappings, leading up to the middle track “Everything That Was Before,” which feels like it would be out of place in the game, and may be considering the game is actually rather sparse with its music. “Everything That Was Before” is drenched with melancholy, with equal parts beauty and sadness, and this writer has yet to run into any part of the game that would merit that amount of emotion. For Front Line Assembly to return to that genre with WarMech seems to indicate that the band has a genuine interest in the style and had more to say with it.

Where WarMech improves on its predecessor is in that it feels more like a standalone album. AirMech feels like just a soundtrack, background music to something else and doesn’t leave as lasting an impression. The bigger, more emotional tracks like “Everything That Was Before” and “Lose” colored the rest of the album to make it feel more filled out than it really was. WarMech doesn’t make that mistake. Each track has significant traces of melody and the album is considerably more listenable because of it. While most of the album has its feet firmly in the subgenre of melodic dubstep, it does venture out into tangential genres, such as electro/house in “Heatmap,” drumstep in “Meteorfall,” and slower cinematic pieces like “The Imminent” and “The Eminent.” It’s difficult to parse out which parts are Jeremy Inkel’s contributions as his are listed as electronic instruments, like everyone else on the album. But as he is credited with string recordings, there are parts where those arrangements shine through. For instance, “Force Carrier” starts off similar to other tracks with its drum pattern and tempo, but sets itself apart when it gets to the chorus. Besides having a nice melodic hook, the strings arise out of nowhere and turn this into one of the biggest tracks on the album with a nice full sound. The only real downside to be found to this album is that it leans so hard onto that melancholy ambience that it can become a little tiresome. But this seems to be an issue within the genre as a whole, and a veteran act like Front Line Assembly does a better job balancing the use of that emotion than other artists that work primarily in the style like Blackmill or Illenium.

For what it’s worth, this writer believes that some of Front Line Assembly’s best work has come about since the inclusion of Jeremy Inkel and his contributions to WarMech make this album all the better… and his absence all the more palpable. At the very least, although WarMech stylistically sounds like something that would have fit better inside of Bill Leeb’s side project, Noise Unit, it is a worthy contribution to Front Line Assembly’s catalog.
 
Track list:

  1. Mechvirus
  2. Anthropod
  3. Heatmap
  4. The Imminent
  5. Force Carrier
  6. Meteorfall
  7. Molotov
  8. Rip Sensor
  9. The Eminent
  10. Mechanism
  11. Earthriser
  12. Creator

 
Front Line Assembly
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube
Artoffact Records
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube
 
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Bandcamp
Storming the Base CD
Storming the Base Vinyl
Storming the Base Vinyl (Greasy)
 
2018-06-22
 
Douglas Leach (nownandforalltime)

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