Front Line Assembly

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Iceolate EP

Front Line Assembly - Iceolate EP ©1990 Wax Trax!
1. Iceolate
2. Mental Distortion
3. Iceolate (Dub Mix)

I pity the completist who decides to follow the career of Bill Leeb, perhaps one of the most prolific musicians outside of Bill Laswell. Leeb, who has appeared and/or collaborated in what seems to be eight thousand different projects, apparently has recorded every single note he's ever played and/or programmed, providing literally an unreal number of albums, EPs and singles. Leeb's main project, Front Line Assembly, is no exception to this deluge of music.

Iceolate is one of Front Line Assembly's earlier single, providing two takes on the title track and a second song called "Mental Distortion". The music is within the same ballpark as Skinny Puppy (the band Leeb was part of for a portion of their early career), with somewhat dance oriented rhythm patterns and distorted, marginally creepy vocals. Front Line Assembly's major flaw was that they were either hit or miss with their songwriting. At times, the band could produce impressive tracks that created a strong mood. But often the band just muddled around in the middling territory, which Iceolate firmly inhabits. Neither "Iceolate" nor "Mental Distortion" does much to stand out from one another. The remix of "Iceolate" does a bit of reductionist work, but still does not elevate the status of the song.

If you're a completist, Iceloate is necessary, but it's not going to be enough to really impress even the less picky listener.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/2007

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