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Most Front Line Assembly fans consider TNI the best album. To me, its tied first place with Hard Wired, but that is no insult.
TNI is what the soundtrack to Blade Runner should've been. This album is pure Cyber Punk and a work of atmospheric genius.
This album is Industrial but, surprisingly for many, very accessible. Front Line Assembly has always made catchy music, but this album contains some of their biggest Ear Worms. The beats aren't particularly hard, the songwriting is catchy and poppy, and you never struggle to find the melody. What makes it Industrial are the complex cybernetic textures, sound effects and synthetic percussion; the level of detail in this album is striking. Additionally, the dark and mournful atmosphere keeps things solemn.
I'd recommend this album to anyone looking for Industrial that won't tear their head off and scar them for life.
Front Line Assembly have had a long career making Industrial and IndustrialMetal and have always managed to differentiate themselves from their peers by freely incorporating influences from other genres, most notably Breakbeat, Drum 'n Bass and IDM.
Their latest album, Improvised.Electronic.Device., is certainly a significant improvement compared to the previous two albums Artificial Soldier (which was overly cheerful and overly breakbeat-filled) and Civilization (which was excessively organic and insufficiently angry). This album is much more metallic than usual; several songs are Industrial Metal and one even contains vocals by Al Jourgensen of Ministry. Overall, the album sounds cybernetic but very dry, it brings to mind lots of wastelands and deserts. Sampling is extensive and the atmospheres are very detailed. Alongside the Industrial Metal, you can hear influences from Ambient and Breakbeat/IDM. So this album is by no means simple.
What lets it down is few genuinely striking Ear Worm melodies. There are some, surely, but few that really stick in your head. Also, the basslines (usually Leeb's best area) are less prominent than usual. Additionally, the production is less Record Of Loudness War than Artificial Soldier but still sounds somewhat thin. Finally, the songs of the second half of the album aren't as good as those on the first half.
Overall, it is an improvement from the previous two albums, but it isn't another Epitaph, Tactical or Hard Wired. Still, fans of the band will enjoy this album.
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