PUBLISHED IN SIDE-LINE MAGAZINE
Front Line Assembly - Maniacal (mcd Metropolis/Synthetic Symphony)
After two years, like a mythical hydra, FLA have returned. It's no secret to FLA fans everywhere, Bill Leeb's longtime collaborator, Rhys Fulber is back! The new full length "Civilization" is set to come out at the end of January. "Maniacal" foreshadows what the reunited FLA might sound like. The single contains the original version, a remix done by FLA, and an exclusive b-side, "Anti." The production work of this disc is stellar. When I first heard "Maniacal," it was like Rhys had never left FLA. Leeb and Fulber have not missed a single beat. "Maniacal" is by far the most ferocious track since "Plasticity." This is one pissed off epic that lasts over 7 minutes. This single is more cataclysmic than "Epitaph," but not in a metal sense like "Millennium." Leeb's vocals have a more punk aesthetic that evokes the ghosts of "Gashed Senses and Crossfire" and "Caustic Grip". Mind you, they are not re-treading on past glories either. The duo is reinventing their technocratic warfare with one word, "BANG!" Verses are verbal hand grenades lobbed into the ears of the listener only letting up during the soothing ultra-synthesized mechanical voice reminiscent of "Tactical Neural Implant's" "Bio-mechanic."
The music is distinctly Front Line with its long introspective intros with angelic chanting ala Delerium. Sounds build upon sounds, machines come to life, tempos ebb and flow. There is even a brilliant textured guitar skinning riff performed by Fulber himself. The "repercussive remix" brings the beats and different keyboard melodies forward while some vocals are removed. "Anti" is an awesome 8 minute melodic, industrial-techno instrumental with lots of samples from news broadcasts probably in Afghanistan or Iraq. Reminds one of latter period Noise Unit or Intermix. Both of these songs will be unstoppable live. Front Line Assembly has delivered, "Maniacal" has truly lived up to its name. (CH:8) CH.