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Front Line Assembly Echogenetic Review

General Information:

Artist: Front Line Assembly
Album: Echogenetic
Genre(s): Electronic, Electro-Industrial
Subgenres(s): Dubstep
Released: 2013
Length: 58 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Dependent Records, Metropolis Records

Track List:

01. Resonance
02. Levelled
03. Killing Grounds
04. Blood
05. Deadened
06. Ghosts
07. Echogenetic
08. Exhale
09. Exo
10. Prototype
11. Heartquake

Front Line Assembly Echogenetic Cover

Front Line Assembly Echogenetic Cover

Front Line Assembly Echogenetic Review

With Echogenetic, Front Line Assembly has fully embraced their dubstep influences that first came about on the Airmech soundtrack from the previous year and they’ve made it central to their sound this time around. It’s a natural progression to what they were already experimenting with so this development shouldn’t come across as that much of a shock to most fans.

The electric guitars featured in many of their other albums are absent entirely and while Front Line Assembly have retained their grotty industrial aesthetic that conjures up scenes from a decaying dystopian city, the direction that the music has taken is accessible without having to latch onto the “brostep” style of artists like Skrillex or Excision so hardcore fans can rest assured that the band are still very much themselves.

A new dynamic within the group has clearly influenced their direction. Along with Bill Leeb and long-time collaborators Jeremy Inkel and Jared Slingerland, they reunited with Craig Johnsen and Sasha Keevill who both contributed to the Airmech soundtrack. For Echogenetic they worked in 2 separate groups consisting of Jeremy Inkel and Sasha Keevill in the first and then Jared Slingerland and Craig Johnsen in the second with Bill Leeb jumping between them. Every few weeks all 5 contributors got together to go over the material to critique it and add new elements to the songs.

Killing Grounds exemplifies what Front Line Assembly is capable of doing within dubstep as this song in particular has plenty of momentum and memorable moments. Some other songs lack the immediate appeal that you easily recognise here so they take a bit more time to grow on you. On the other end of the spectrum is Prototype, an instrumental that could have been accurately retitled Archetype. It’s packed full of interesting twists and turns while avoiding any and all accusations of being comfortable background noise because it is something that commands your attention.

Echogenetic is a focused effort that should have been shook up with more varied tempos or even by bringing back the guitars for a few songs to avoid this pleasant plateau that the band seems to have found themselves on although this unlikely fusion of genres also makes for an interesting album beyond any novelty you could associate with it.

Performers:

Bill Leeb: Vocals, Electronic instruments
Jeremy Inkel: Electronic instruments
Jared Slingerland: Electronic instruments
Craig Johnsen: Electronic instruments
Sasha Keevill: Electronic instruments

External Links:

Front Line Assembly Homepage
Front Line Assembly on Wikipedia
Echogenetic on Wikipedia

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Fall of Icarus Endorphin Review

Fall of Icarus Endorphin Review

Artist: Fall of Icarus
Album: Endorphin
Genre(s): Electronic
Subgenres(s): Dubstep
Released: 2013
Length: 17 minutes
Language(s): English, German
Label(s): N/A

Track List:

01. Filthy Souls
02. Raining (Fall of Icarus Remix)
03. Morphine
04. Hellsing

Fall of Icarus Endorphin Cover

Endorphin is a free EP by Austrian musician Fall of Icarus. In his 4 short songs he demonstrates his willingness to surf the dubstep tidal wave while avoiding being narrowly pigeonholed by borrowing elements of other genres to throw in his melting pot of ideas.

The EP kicks off with Filthy Souls, taking its name and dialogue from the fictional film Angels with Filthy Souls from Home Alone and puts it against his music to create a short audio theatre introduction in a similar style to that used for Internet Friends by Knife Party. The soft natured Raining moves Fall of Icarus in a subdued direction with a singer to match before being replaced with jarring bass wobbles inspired by dubstep figurehead Skrillex.

Like the 2 pervious songs, Morphine includes a number of samples from different sources but unlike the obscure and creative choice for Filthy Souls it brandishes chopped up and pitch shifted voices and a dog barking, something that didn’t work favourably on Pink Floyd’s Seamus either. Endorphin is brought to its conclusion with the claustrophobic atmosphere of Hellsing and enough chaotic bass noises to cause a sensory overload and crack a few of windows.

Endorphin could have been streamlined by removing some unnecessary samples and sound effects but as far as EPs go in giving a quick demonstration of what a musician can do, Fall of Icarus manages to do just that. He is an aspiring young musician looking for his own direction but he has the means and drive to carve out a name for himself given more time.

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Chase and Status No More Idols Review

Chase and Status No More Idols Review

Artist: Chase and Status
Album: No More Idols
Genre(s): Electronic, Hip Hop
Subgenres(s): Drum and Bass, Dubstep, Grime
Released: 2011
Length: 59 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Mercury, Vertigo

Track List:

01. No Problem
02. Fire in Your Eyes (feat. Maverick Sabre)
03. Let You Go (feat. Mali)
04. Blind Faith (feat. Liam Bailey)
05. Fool Yourself (feat. Plan B & Rage)
06. Hypest Hype (feat. Tempa T)
07. Hitz (feat. Tinie Tempah)
08. Heavy (vs. Dizzee Rascal)
09. Brixton Briefcase (feat. Cee-Lo Green)
10. Hocus Pocus
11. Flashing Lights (with Sub Focus feat. Takura)
12. Embrace (feat. White Lies)
13. Time (feat. Delilah)
14. Midnight Caller (feat. Clare Maguire)
15. End Credits (feat. Plan B)

Chase and Status No More Idols Cover

No More Idols is the second album by British duo Chase and Status. For almost every song they have enlisted a different singer, which is a good way to draw some attention to themselves with the likes of Plan B, Cee-Lo Green and Dizzee Rascal all making appearances but this ultimately backfires and makes No More Idols sounds like a compilation rather than an original studio album.

Each song sounds like it was written specifically with the singer in mind, turning No More Idols into a commercialised portfolio for Chase and Status to show off their creative muscles by jumping between drum and bass, dubstep and hip hop to display their versatility as producers. The songs have been roughly arranged into 3 different styles; starting out with dance orientated songs that transition into the rap inspired portion of the album before tailing off into some quieter, ballad-esque songs as the album winds down.

As individual songs they are accessible to a wide audience but when they are put together to form a whole album it immediately turns into a disjointed collection that lost focus the moment producers Chase and Status enlisted an all-star cast to front their efforts.

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Knife Party Rage Valley Review

Artist: Knife Party
Album: Rage Valley
Genre(s): Electronic
Subgenres(s): Dubstep, Electro House, Moombahton
Released: 2012
Length: 18 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Earstorm, Big Beat (USA Only)

Track List:

01. Rage Valley
02. Centipede
03. Bonfire
04. Sleaze (feat. MistaJam)

Knife Party Rage Valley Cover

Knife Party Rage Valley Review

Rage Valley is the second EP released by duo Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen of Pendulum fame, performing under the moniker Knife Party. Consisting of 4 songs and clocking in at a little over 18 minutes, the duo manages to seamlessly fuse dubstep and electro house into a condensed, yet remarkably diverse listening experience that ends with Sleaze, showcasing the newly emerging fusion genre Moombahton (a combination of reggaeton and house music).

The eponymous track greets you with a sample of a gun being cocked and fired, which queues the song to jump into life. Starting out as a minute long frantic build up, it anticlimactically stops and begins to rebuild itself again more rapidly for about thirty seconds before unleashing aggressive bass lines and thundering percussion. It eventually calms down to introduce a more prominent synthesiser sound before reverting back into the bass heavy parts. Continuing in this fashion for the remainder of track, it sets the mood of the EP quite clearly.

Vocals are sparsely arranged throughout the track Rage Valley and build in frequency as the EP progresses. The documentary-like introduction to Centipede is noteworthy for referencing the Pendulum song Tarantula and metaphorically killing the band off when stating “as quick as lightning, just like the tarantula it’s killing, the centipede has two curved hollow fangs which inject paralysing venom. Even tarantulas aren’t immune from an ambush”. This is before dropping into an unrelenting dubstep frenzy that makes up the remainder of the song.

The latter two tracks, Bonfire and Sleaze, feature repetitive choruses but the line “until they kick us out” from Sleaze is repeated ad nauseum and could be the considered the low point of the EP just for the sheer frequency at which it is repeated. It will also make you forget about the well-crafted and tense, crawling introduction in no time at all. Bonfire, in contrast, sounds like a complete redux of Fire Hive (from their first EP 100% No Modern Talking), having toned down the bass, added a larger instrumental break between the minimalist lyrics and features a trumpet and a reggae inspired rhythm that has been brought to the forefront of the song, setting it apart from the rest of the EP and making it instantly recognisable.

In short, the lyrics are still something to be desired but Rage Valley showcases better song writing and a refined edge that 100% No Modern Talking lacks. If comparing the direction of the two EP’s is anything to go by, future output from Knife Party will be well worth the listen as they continue to change their sound and push forward into new territory.

External Links:

Knife Party Homepage
Knife Party on Wikipedia | Rage Valley on Wikipedia
Knife Party on Discogs | Rage Valley on Discogs