Archive: Front Line Assembly & Stromkern

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Front Line Assembly

Front Line Assembly bring the apocalypse

I couldn’t get into support act Stromkern, much as I tried. Fusing hip-hop and industrial is certainly valiant, and there were flashes of something interesting in there, but… I dunno. Just as I thought they’d reeled me in, they’d go insipid again and I’d be back to hating the guitarist’s idiot gurning. They ended on a high with ‘Heretic’ (listen here), a righteous industrial stomper that shook the roof and finally got my ass moving, but on balance they were pretty missable.

But then we weren’t there to see Stromkern. The anticipation levels were pretty high after a ten-year wait since FLA’s last London appearance, but from the moment they launched into opener ‘Buried Alive’ (from new album ‘Artificial Soldier’) it was clear we were in for a treat. Against a video back-drop showing a suitably dark and corrosive vision of the future, the five-piece cooked up a dance-or-die sonic onslaught, underpinned by some highly impressive live drumming.

Next up was ‘Vigilante’, from the guitar-heavy ‘Millennium’ album. The crowd was already more than happy to go crazy, but the hits kept on coming. Although I was disappointed not to hear some of my favourites from ‘Hard Wired’ and ‘Implode’, each song played was so blistering that it has become a firm favourite in the weeks since the gig.

The set finished with ‘Plasticity’, with the guitarist switching to take on second live drummer role. At this point my grin must have been wider than my face – the one thing I love more than live drumming is crazed apocalyptic live drumming played to a room-full of rivetheads. Great stuff.

Naturally we didn’t let them get away without an encore, and they returned to two Tactical Neural Implant tracks, ‘Gun’ and ‘Mindphaser’. And then, triumphant, they were gone. Here’s hoping I don’t have to wait another ten years to see them again.

From here on September 15th 2006.
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