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Front 242

One, you lock the target. Two, you bait the line. Three, you slowly spread the net, and four you catch the man!
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Front 242 is a Belgian EBM band and the Trope Namers (but not the Trope Codifier) for Electronic Body Music: this term was coined for their 1984 album No Comment.

Their style, EBM, is a subgenre of Industrial that resembles the Darker and Edgier cousin of Synth-Pop. "Darker and Edgier Kraftwerk" is a good description. The music itself is punk like, aggressive and danceable Electronic Music with mostly conventional (verse-bridge-chorus) song structures.

Front 242 member Richard 23 was a founding member of Revolting Cocks alongside Ministry's Al Jourgensen.

Although they have not released a full-length album of new material since 2003, they have begun to introduce new songs into their live sets as of 2021.

Unfortunately, Front 242 have at times been accused of Nazism. This accusation is severely misplaced.

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Discography

  • Geography (1982)
  • No Comment (1984)
  • Back Catalogue (1987)
  • Official Version (1987)
  • Front by Front (1988, the one album featuring "Headhunter")
  • Tyranny (For You) (1991)
  • Live Target (1992, live album)
  • 06:21:03:11 Up Evil (1993)
  • 05:22:09:12 Off (1993)
  • Live Code (1994, live album)
  • Mut@ge, Mix@ge (1995, remix album)
  • Re-Boot: Live '98 (1998, live album)
  • Pulse (2003)
  • Moments... (2008, live album)
  • Transmission SE91 (2013)

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Front 242 provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Album Title Drop: There's one for Official Version in "Slaughter".
  • The Backwards Я: Some of their graphic design work with Cyrillic letters is this, other times it's actual Russian.
  • Big Brother Is Watching You: "Circling Overland" describes a dystopia where surveillance aircraft rule the skies. Remind you of what the US DHS is doing today?
  • Cool Shades: In nearly every promotional shot, music video, and live performance, the band members wear futuristic looking sunglasses or goggles, to the point that this has become an indispensable part of their image.
  • Darker and Edgier: Tyranny (For You) largely dispensed with the sardonic sense of humor that had pervaded much of their previous work, and overall displayed a darker, harder-edged, and more ominous sound that was more in line with 90's industrial. As a whole, Front 242 can be considered a Darker And Edgier successor to electronic groups that came before them, such as Kraftwerk and Fad Gadget.
  • Epic Rocking: "Not Bleeding Red'' by Nothing But Noise, an ambient side project of Front 242, is a total of 96 minutes, and two of the tracks clock over 18 minutes in length.
    • They also have a few songs of their own that go into the 7-8 minute range- "Commando Mix", "Masterhit (Parts 1 & 2)" and "Junkdrome" are all good examples.
  • Excited Band Name!: фронта! 242
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Several examples.
    • Russian: "S.Fr Nomenklatura" I & II. They occasionally stylize their logo "фронта! 242".
    • German: The songs "Kampfbereit" and "Im Rhythmus Bleiben"
    • Italian: A few brief lines: "I nostri sogni sempri presenti.", "due quattro due"
  • Harsh Vocals: Christine "99" Kowalski on the 05:22:09:12 Off album. In recent years, primary vocalist Jean-Luc De Meyer tends to affect a more harsh vocal delivery for live sets, as opposed to the cold, detached style he favored in previous decades.
  • Hidden Track: On Tyranny (For You), there are 2 minutes of silence after the last track, followed by 2 songs: "Hard Rock" and an alternate mix of "Trigger 2" entitled "Trigger 1".
  • Initialism Title: "W.Y.H.I.W.Y.G."
  • The Invisible Band: None of their album covers feature any band members.
  • Letters 2 Numbers: Played with; their 1993 albums 06:21:03:11 Up Evil and 05:22:09:12 Off, when translating the numbers to their appropriate letters, read Fuck Up Evil and Evil Off respectively.
  • List Song: "Headhunter" (or at least its chorus) may well count. It's even a numbered list!
    1. You lock the target
    2. You bait the line
    3. You slowly spread the net... and
    4. You catch the man
  • New Sound Album: No Comment introduced the harder EBM sound the band are most known for (after a Synth-Pop-y debut) and even named the genre to boot! Tyranny (For You) had a slightly more textured, layered sound, and 06:21:03:11 Up Evil was harder-hitting, had slightly more guitars and a slight Techno influence. Pulse has distinct Ambient and IDM elements, as well.
  • Non-Appearing Title: The majority of their tracks follow this trope. "Special Forces", "Don't Crash", "GVDT", "Im Rhythmus Bleiben", and "Never Stop" are notable exceptions.
  • Recurring Riff: The riff from "Until Death (Us Do Part)" reappears as the main melody of "Agony (Until Death)".
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: In live performances, Richard 23 plays the energetic, hype man-like Red Oni to Jean-Luc De Meyer's more reserved, stoic Blue Oni.
  • Refrain from Assuming: It's "Welcome to Paradise", not "Hey Poor".
  • Surreal Music Video: "Headhunter" and "Tragedy (For You)", both directed by Anton Corbijn.
    • In the case of Headhunter, the surrealism was a case of Sure, Let's Go with That: A misunderstanding of the lyrics and a confusion over the concept for the video resulted in the everpresent theme of eggs. The band decided that they liked it this way and ran with it.
  • Sampling: Used in almost every song.
  • Singer Name Drop: "242" shows up a lot in titles and lyrics.
  • Spelling Song: "Until Death (Us Do Part)"
    L-O-C-K
    L-O-C-K space T-H-E space D-O-O-R space F-O-R-E-V-E-R
    F-O-R-E-V-E-R
  • Trope Codifier: For the the EBM genre.
  • Trope Namer: Again, for the EBM subgenre of Industrial.
  • Voice Clip Song: "Welcome to Paradise" and "Angst". Incidentally, both sample ranting preachers. Often times, if a song doesn't have any sung lyrics, it uses voice clips.
  • Word Purée Title: "Funkahdafi" note 
  • You Are Number Twenty Three: Richard 23 (a.k.a. Richard Jonckheere).

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