Bill Leeb and Chris Peterson are at it again. This time they have focused on what makes Front Line Assembly so great, and they have also learned some new tricks.
I guess their work with the more commercial Delerium project has made them a bit more aware about song structures and instrumentation. Acoustic drum sounds are used here and there, as well as piano. For the first time in FLA history, there are no movie samples on the album, and the overall impression is that they have cleaned up the sound a bit. This means that there might not be as many layers of sounds as on "Hard Wired", but instead they have concentrated on the songs.
Ah yes, the songs. We have quite a wide spectrum of styles here, ranging from the wild, mad and totally frantic "Backlash", via the straight forward dance track "Dead Planet", the delicious and melodic "Insolence", to "Conscience". This is perhaps one of FLA's greatest moments ever. It's a mid tempo track with brilliant drum programming (a thing that is prominent throughout the album), and features a storming chorus with a dramatic piano along with Bill's voice. You have got to hear it to believe it.
Some fans will be happy to learn that here are no instrumental tracks on the album and Bill is making better use of his voice than usual, even though there is still much whispering and yelling about. Bill and Chris worked together better than ever on this album, and I rank this among the best of their releases. They have brought back the harshness and raw sound of earlier material as well as moving onwards into even more melodic territory, and I can only hope they will go on making records this good. The band has created a space for themselves in the electronic music arena, and this album is filled with the kind of music only they can do.
This review is of the non-limited version of "Epitaph", but the first 25 000 copies of the album will be a digipak with an instrumental bonus track.