I've been following Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber's music projects for over 10 years now and I'm always looking forward to their new material especially Bill Leeb's Industrial/EBM project Front Line Assembly. FLA's music is always evolving and changing but they're still able to keep their identity maintained so l didn't know what to expect from I.E.D.
Improvised Electronic Device features the line up of Bill Leeb, Chris Peterson, Jeremy Inkel and guitarist Jared Slingerland. Long time partner Rhys Fulber was set to participate but scheduling conflicts got in the way but even without the presence of Rhys the album does hold up well.
The result of this album is very interesting because it's like a follow up to Millennium than Artificial Soldier, it has a distinct "band" feel with it's Industrial/metal sound and a level of consistency that makes the whole album work rather than a collection of tracks. There is a great use of beats, synths and the Bass this time is absolutely pounding!!
The songs have a great production and nice use of more space in the mix but these song have some of Leeb's most personal moments on a FLA record with subject matters of Death, Salvation and the controlled generation of today. The track "Angriff" marks the first appearance of personal elements as it's about Bill Leeb's Mother who fled to Russia during WWII and FLA's first visit of the country being fascinated by the symbolism and the Industrial Revolution.
But the biggest surprise on this album is the track "Afterlife" a song about the passing of Bill Leeb's birth father whom he just met a few weeks before he died. It has the most personal lyrics Leeb has ever sung and it's the closest thing to an FLA Balled with moody acoustic strumming, piano keys, distorted beats and hallow sounds with a touch of Delerium makes this a truly beautiful track. It's my favorite track on the whole album.
Well why have l rated the new album 4 stars it's because I'm nick picking; for instance the track "Stupidity" featuring Al Jourgensen from Ministry is just out of place on this album, it's not a bad song, it has great drum programming and l think it's great that they dedicated this collab track to Wax Trax's CEOs but it sounds too much like Ministry and l would of enjoyed I.E.D. more if this was a bonus track.
I got nothing to really complain about I.E.D. it's not perfect but it's FLA's most interesting album in a long long time. FLA is truly becoming a "band" instead of just a musical project and I.E.D. absolutely deserves a listen.