Front Line Assembly - Hard Wired

Hard wired is Front Line Assemblyís 1995 release and is without doubt their hardest and darkest. Taking with them the thrashing guitar noise of previous record Millennium but now beefing up the sound with amazing production, complex arrangements and even more samples than usual.

The first track sets the tone for the whole album, itís deep synth bass and orchestral backing proving an oppressive atmosphere. Many samples are taken from the film Stargate. The next two tracks Paralysed and Re-Birth are pretty similar to the first. Circuitry is where the album really gets going. This is a bit of a slam dance classic. Raging guitar riff accompany the blasting beats and Leebs always spiteful delivery.
The vocals on the album are quite note worth being far more wide ranging in delivery than other FLA albums. In fact at times the distortion makes Leebs voice almost Unlistenable. Mortal is a great Soundscape instrumental, using mostly samples from the film In the mouth of madness. It runs like a walk through a post apocalyptic landscape with the radio broadcast in the background being joined by strange loops and sounds.
Modus Operandi is the slowest of the tracks incorporating more heavy guitar provided by one Devin Townsend. Here Leebs vocals are distorted to a horrible screeching whistle. Transparent Species is not as good as the previous tracks, being a bit disjointed and using some really rather silly lyrics. However Barcode is absolutely brilliant featuring a long complex intro using tones of interesting samples and voices, before launching into the great choral lead beats. The chorus is rather cool too.
Condemned is probably the heaviest song beginning with a tolling bell and some more groaning samples and eerie noise before the guitars smash in with Leeb in tow. Again another great chorus and great ending. The final track on the album is one of my favourite FLA songs of all time. Infra Red Combat is again slow in pace with a lot of long build up using some aphex twin samples. Itís very atmospheric and has some good lyrics compared to some of leebs sillinessí on other parts of the album.

So in all a very good album with superb production and some great songs, one of FLAs best releases.