CD, Metropolis, 2006
www.mindphaser.com (unofficial site)
After the supposed ending that “Civilization” was for Frontline Assembly, one of the true cornerstones of Industrial and EBM as we know it, and the multitude of side projects that Leeb and Fulber have spawned until and since then, comes “Artificial Soldier”.
Being an FLA fan from the early days of “Corrosion” didn’t help much with accepting that “Civilization” was to be the last release, as well as quite a mediocre one. Thus, it was with a certain amount of surprise and a lot of anticipation that I first treated this record. Still, from the opening of “Unleashed”, a grin was transfixed on my head, lasting long after the first spin of the album. “Artificial Soldier” is everything “Civilization” ought to be, and then some.
Aggressive lyrics are the most distinctive characteristic throughout the disc, with a flair for the dystopic and apocalyptic that is almost cheesy, but so in accordance with the original Frontline Assembly feel that they can’t be but shouted along in all their old-school distorted glory. Also featured on two of the ten tracks are Jean-Luc De Meyer of Front 242 and Eskil Simonsson of Covenant, each adding a certain unique dynamic with their vocals.
The loud guitars from “Millennium” are here, while not as dominant as the percussion, which is generally fast in pace, somewhat resembling “The FLAvour of the Weak”, but unlike there, without trading harshness for the gain in rhythm. The keyboards, whenever present, serve well in enriching the overall sound, as well as adding to the whole epic dystopian vibe that we’ve come to know and love from the older FLA material.
Whether you take it as an end to an era or a wonderful new beginning for FLA, “Artificial Soldier” is a great EBM record, and as such, I give it a 9/10.
— George Mouratidis