Front Line Assembly > Civilization

Metropolis MET303 CD. Released 20-01-2004.
SPV 085-63702 CD. Released 26-01-2004.


01. Psychosomatic - 5:35
02. Maniacal - 5:14
03. Transmitter (accidentally listed as "Fragmented") - 5:38
04. Vanished - 6:25
05. Strategic - 1:52
06. Civilization - 6:43
07. Fragmented (accidentally listed as "Transmitted [Come Together]") - 6:22
08. Parasite (accidentally listed as "Dissident") - 6:13
09. Dissident (accidentally listed as "Schicksal") - 5:29
10. Schicksal (tracklist contains only 9 tracks) - 7:19

False tracklist info: the artwork of the CD as found in stores may contain an erroneous tracklist with 9 songs printed on the back, while the CD contains all 10 songs in any case. Metropolis accidentally released 3 different tracklists for the album since December 03. There was also a rumour about a special edition of the album, yet another hoax. Many websites have messed things up using the 2 other tracklists. This IS the real and only one.

Civilization false artwork correction images:
Some copies of the album have a misprinted tracklist, a few dont have the 'Dissident' page in the booklet. Here you can download high-resolution images from both pages. You can print them out in order to replace them in your CD sleeve. Click on a picture to display, wait, then rightclick and download the picture. Please do this just once, dont steal our bandwidth!

Back cover with correct tracklist / Dissident lyrics page.

Produced: Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber Mixed/Special Edits: Greg Reely Programming: Rhys Fulber: Mastered: Bernie Grundman by Brian Gardener Graphic Design: Carylann Loeppky Additional Musicians: Jamie Muhoberac: Keyboards on tracks 6&9, vocals on track 6 Leah Randi: vocals on tracks 1,3&4 bass on track6 Sean Ashby: guitars on track4 Christian Olde Wolbers: guitars on track6.


So let me say at first that this is a really diverse album and its a well done and strong work. I think its just the next logical step and the old FLA formula is past. Stylistically this is the most diverse album I've heard from the FLA camp until this day. You have innovations like a 2 minute song, a timbaland RnB track, german vocals, a guitar based ballad, and more... Anyway, a change is just a change. does all of this make FLA better? I recommend you to give the disc at least 5 concentrated listens before you judge.

It's the most diverse FLA disc ever, and so my opinion is quite different about each track for itself. I like some of the experiments a lot, but it feels bad to see an (in my opinion) unfinished track, and to me there is a big crack between the styles that makes me skip certain tracks when I listen to it. Thats the negative side of my experience. So here is the positive: Technically, this owns. If anyone knows how to technically realize electronic music, then it's Rhys. In addition to that, FLA have always combined tech skills with good songwriting. The ambience of the whole album is the element that takes time to get used to, I still gotta learn to use this rollercoaster as a listener, but it grows. Its no news that a FLA album always takes a lot of time to get into.

Regardless of everything, the conclusion I make at this point is: adventurous. Take this experience and spend 60 minutes of your life in a better condition. Even if this turns out to be just another FLA album, it offers a lot of new aspects. Here we go...

01 Psychosomatic
A surprising entry: bubble sounds, an echoing synth, then a drumsound that I've never heard in a FLA track before, then a piano that makes me think of a cat running down the keyboard. The LEEB BASSLINE at 0.55, processed at first and intensifying, vocals at 1.20, doubts gone, its FLA. At this point you have your first chance to get into the groove for real, in case you dig it. A stunning munstah groove with an "Aphex Twin - Windowlicker" feel to it. A good one to start, as its dark and pressuring, varies between new territory and classic FLA elements, and also shows some of the new technical skills brought in. The drums are where its at (and make me do weird shadow boxing moves, man:) Leebs vocals have the oldschool FLA sound, but i need to say that this feature is reduced to the first 2 tracks on the album. While we're at talking about the vocals, there is another surprise, and her name is Leah Randi. Previously known for being the Delerium and Conjure One live bassplayer, she's surprises with some great additional vocals on various album tracks, and here on Psychosomatic its her most noticable performance, adding a cool eastern vibe to the song. I think this track falls off after a few listens, and starts to feel a bit uninspired, but if you get into the groove, you'll still dig it!

02 Maniacal
This is a shortened album edit, 2 full minutes less than the lengthly version on the EP. Its not easy with this track. Ive listened to it soo often in the last 3 months, now I skip it, its boring. Thats particularly unfair, but then I dont think its a very strong track aswell. Let me defend it as being the first one out in the battle, its not really bad, just a little overheard. And then we have an album edit here. Its okay to shorten the 7.23 minute monster version, as I think the track is outta place anyway, so why not cut it down. Otherwise the Edit engineering didnt make me very happy, it sounded like... erm... "a dildo strapped on a lesbian", to use Sidneys legendary quote, which means that Radio Edits shouldnt be made after finishing a track. Anyway, to me Mani feels outta place here in general, which might be effect of the 3 month prelistening experience. It feels like being part of the Maniacal EP, not like the second track on this album. However, more oldschool FLA here. BANG! Not gonna write a concrete track review all again here, just read my review of the Maniacal single. Let me add that after writing the single review I began to like it a lot more than in the first days, but as soon as I had the album, this song annoyed me. I think it might be an effect of its position as track 2 too, not really sure for anything but the feeling THAT it feels out of place. Maybe I'll get used to it though.

03 Transmitter
This one reminds me of a remix Rhys did, "P.O.D. - Youth Of The Nation". Anyway, this is the Madonna Timbaland track. Take the "music makes some people come together" vocal in, and it will work. Okay, everyone else says "die another day", so Im wrong again:) I think even though this track has a nice sound design, I dislike it as much as "Music" itself. Since everyone else loves this one: I just hate it when FLA all of a sudden bump a Madonna track. Regardless of Madonna, and lookin at what this track itself is: This should at least have some heavier groove. And one completely different songpart, its allover that Timbaland groove. So at one side we have a very big surprise, and a well-done track here, at the other side I dont really understand why this landed on the new FLA, and all that. Have they forgotten that Delerium exists? I can't agree on the euphoria everyone else has for this one, I see it as an interesting and okay track, Im not completely sure what to think.

04 Vanished
Took me a while to notice that this track is there, pretty unspectacular, but just great as I discovered it. Someone described it as Massive Attack plus Leeb vocals, and that description says it. Just take the bassline and drums, 100% Mezzanine. The songwriting is excellent. Other than the very present "Transmitter", this one is less offensive in style, atmospherical, and just beautiful, melancholic. Songwriting-wise its as great as "Conscience" off Epitaph, with the feel of "Decoy", but a by far better song than that. At first I didnt know what to write about the track. I just noticed I didnt find anything negative or offensive, its too well done. One of the best tracks.

05 Strategic
Whats bad about this one? Its not what it is, but what it is not. Its a freaky little 2 minute uptempo instrumental. But why does it end there? I think this could've been a dope instrumental, this could've been "Anti" (the mani b-side) Part 2, just imagine it to really get drive around 2 min, and the whole track taking off for 8 minutes. Thats why im disappointed. But reviewing what we have: a really funny freakout with wild beeps and acid turbulence, and compliment, this actually does a nice job taking position between "Vanished" and the forthcoming landscape of a titletrack.

06 Civilization
This is the heart of the album. Begins with a few atmospherical sounds, a few vocal samples, then (surprise!) a real acoustic guitar, single tones, marvellous. After 2 minutes of vocal snippets and building ambience, the drums start. 3.30min until the first verse. Lyrically its about the will to conquer and rule the world. Whatever youve expected after the verse, THAT chorus dude... The guitars are not in front, but you FEEL them... An epic moment, with zero gravity above the very strong guitar and drum basement. What i like about it is that it doesnt have any overpresent elements, its a background song mostly, full of almost subtle energy. You dont need to play death metal to create something strong and powerful. I hope Christian and Rhys also take the greatness of this song into the new Fear Factory album.

07 Fragmented
I'd say this is the most expectable track, it can even be seen as industrial, yet its still outstanding, very bright beeping synths, and uptempo drum snippets all over. It reminded me of Noise Units Drill, which was Rhys' last album before he left. With relatively few innovations, like the optimistic mood, that one is more Chimera than Drill, clearly. A present synth line, a present bassline, plus the new school operatic drumloop cuts, cant go wrong with that, yep this is the most traditional, the most expectable track on the whole disc for me. From the second chorus on, it also features some violins, which become amazing by the end of the song. I dont like the spoken words in the 5th minute, apart from that its grown to be another favourite. The melodies are as present as on Transmitter, but lovelier, and songwriting-wise this is also top. Fragmented comes in a bright mood, and at the same time has a good amount of energy.

08 Parasite
This vocoder ownz. A dreamy soundscape shows up like summer clouds, then the ultimate bassline, driven by an echoing hihat, and soon we have these massive attack drums again. For me this track is another favourite, as its in this very positive mood, yet similar to Deleriums "Forever After", but relatively few people share my passion with this specific track (damn the salad, dude:) In contrast to the song stand the dark lyrics, seeming to say: "challenge life or give up, your choice". In Bills own words: "work it out, why dont you kill yourself?". The chorus features that sexy vocoder allover, and spacey soundscapes around. Theres a wah-wah guitar between the verses, freaky to hear a guitar groove in a FLA track still. So it lives from its atmosphere, cloudy orange and sky blue, I often see that people dont find access to that, but yep I do.

09 Dissident
Almost instrumental, just a few words whispered. This song reminds me of Chimeras "Eternal Odyssey", and as pointless as I think EO is, things are with Dissident. I wont question the technical skills put into the track, but emotionally it leaves me cold, its nice ambience, but unfocused. It might simply be my blind spot, same as parasite is my personal fave. Ive read people raving about these 2 tracks greatness, I just dont know what theyre talkin about. The track is not annoying, but nothings happening either. And the beat is really slow, not groovy :P

10 Schicksal
A desperate piano melody, then the beats really bump it. But the real sensation are the german vocals. This has happened before (13 years ago) on the Noise Unit track "Alle gegen Alles" off Strategy Of Violence, and it used almost the same vocal effect. Other than on AGA, here you can understand them if you listen closely, but its not easy, even though Im a native german. Musically this is an uptempo track, and its yet another pure industrial track. If you liked Maniacal and expected more, you finally get it now, and this track really kicks ass. Plus that odd break with the piano. The vocals have a freaky sound, so even if you dont understand them you'll dig it. Understanding a few words make this weirder of course. Sonnenstrahlen (sunbeams), ich möchte mit dir schlafen (i wanna sleep with you), die Blumen sterben, die Lustigkeit ist tot (the flowers are dying, the joy is dead), and es tut mich so leid (im so sorry) in this breathing and screeching voice tone, just weird man:) The album ends without warning, might have had a little outro.

And I'd personally love it if "Anti" (the Maniacal B-side) had found its way on here. Fantastic track. But nonetheless...

A sentence that comes to my mind is "I can paint walls black in so many ways, why should I do it in just this one way". Those were Bills thoughts regarding his 2 faces FLA and Delerium, he said that in an interview 3 years ago. With this album Id say he has discovered that there are actually more colours than just black. I think of juicy orange when I hear Fragmented and Parasite:) Even if its just for the surprise, listen to this album. The technical engineering for itself is also worth it. Maybe you decide for yourself that its your fav FLA album even, its not unrealistic. To me the diversity between the tracks remains as the biggest problem, I still wonder if the single tracks are going to grow into a whole for me. To me it has too much of a compilation at the moment. But its very interesting, and my curiousity is stronger than that.

At last: FLA are optimistic about the future of the band again now. Theres no need to quit, life goes on anyway. And so does FLA. Good choice:)

Reviewed by Henrik Bauer aka 21st Century Jesus

Second Review

The genre's most anticipated album of this decade has finally hit store shelves, and it ain't from a Mr. Reznor. Despite any controversy surrounding this release, the buzz is at an all time high. People are talking about it everywhere: Clubs, the internet, parties, you name it: whether you are a bona fide devotee or a critical bastard like me, the record's got your attention, and that's the point, is it not? Fans, diehards, and even the Leebster's peers are hailing this as a great piece of work. And they're partially right.

I'm gonna cut thru the all the dirt, and give you the most honest review I can give. Despite what may or may not have happened last year, I'm not going to let any preconceived notions get in the way of reviewing this record. I also am not afraid to let you all know how I feel. So I'm going to ask all of you now to bear with me... and rest assured I'm not out to hurt anyone's feelings.

When I first heard about this record being made, I was introduced to a few snippets of the Maniacal single and immediately was quite skeptical about the whole thing. It felt like the production wasn't up to par with any of FLA's other records, even Tactical.. and FLA have always been about going one step beyond their last effort, at least for me.

I got introduced to FLA back when Caustic Grip was still being promoted I caught up on their US tour via TV (Muchmusic to be exact)... and was immediately hooked on this thing called "industrial music". The anti-establishment themes, the schizophrenic programming, the chaotic synth sounds and samples... the whole vibe just screamed at me in a way I haven't been screamed at before. A strong inspiration for me at the time, and still can be.

From there on, every year or so, a new FLA record would come out. And every time I would be blown away. I do admit, at first listen this material didn't do for me what the others have done. I'm getting the feeling this record's gonna affect me the same way Millennium did, with an immediate feeling of discomfort, which will develop, over time, into a more refined yet very clinical appreciation for the album. Allow me to explain.

You have to admit this isn't really an FLA record we expected. Controversy or not, we all expected Epitaph to be the last FLA output. By this time last year there didn't look to be much hope at all. The fact that we have a record, in our hands even, is almost miraculous to our jaded ears so everyone's rejoicing. But are we rejoicing for the right reasons?

I know I am.

Let's take all that I said about this record before and forget about it: What I say here is my final opinion on this album.
Civilization is a very good release for Front Line Assembly. While some may have their favourites or even some opinions regarding missing members (who here would like to see Mike Balch do something with Bill again?) the fact remains that you can put this record on and, like every other FLA record, appreciate the great production, killer structure, new sounds (or ways to execute them) and the classic basslines and grunts we're so happy to receive from El Leebo. Rhys Fulber's presence is not missed here, either. He makes his return VERY well known, in the way the record sounds from beginning to end. From his lush soundscapes to his Delerium/Conjure One-esque hooks the record stands out that much more in this genre full of dead weight. So far the reviews have been grand, and the future of FLA looks good... however something tells me the end is truly upon us...

I've heard before that this record sounds like an amalgamation of all the various albums and projects put together in one nice polished package, and I can agree with that. Unfortunately, I can't give you a play by play of the album as I feel about this as a whole and it should be written as such. There's a bit of all the outfits - Noise Unit, Intermix, Synaesthesia, and especially Delerium - in the project, and it truly shows Leeb and Fulber still being able to make a good record after 5 years apart. But, like most bands out there, have FLA finally reached their point of their unique and individual sound becoming formulaic and predictable? For the past 3 years or so it seems, to me, that a lot of artists I've grown up with and grown to love are reaching the end of their creative run with "x" project. Robert Smith openly admits this in the Cure's very-well-done-but-not-so-interesting "Bloodflowers" album, Steve Naghavi admits And One's found their own "sound" and wants to keep it hence the simple synth-pop of "Aggressor", and even my heroes Depeche Mode and Kraftwerk have both stuck to what they know best and failed to break down any barriers as they have done consecutively for so many years now. I mean, have they all become comfortable with their abilities and feel they have nothing more to prove, or is it something greater than that? Is this how one would feel when they've moved up to Vice-President of their company, or how Commander Riker did when he never took up that offer to captain his own ship? Some have said that this is the album that was "20 years in the making"... this is the problem with the music industry today, I think. Record sales and demographics are the result of the artists we know and love not wanting to compete with the pop monster markets anymore, and feel comfortable just writing a record to please the fans and take home the royalty. I can't speak for our main men in question here, but this is how I feel when listening to this record. Rather than the two brothers I've heard for so many records sticking it out for all the right reasons and kicking some major ass, I see a kinship similar to parents who stay together merely for the sake of the kids. I guess the comparisons musicians make with marriages aren't too far from the truth after all...

From hearing all Leeb and Fulber's records for the past 12 years plus now, I've been able to figure out who does what and where each member puts their piece in each record. And from where I stand I can see where FLA have improved, and I can also see where it fails to do so. Their songs are solid, and the hooks are there. It's truly noted that the boys have learned more than a few things in the past 20 years. But there are some moments that are just classic and somewhat predictable. Formulaic, I suppose.

Production has always been ultra important with FLA, and in Civilization they really prove that. However, the album as a whole... feels somewhat cold to me. Perhaps it's too digital, if there is such a thing in the 21st century... does anyone feel the same way? Even TNI, which most ppl compare this to, as cold as it was, was still packing a lot of warmth and "human" flavour to it. I personally missed the breakbeats when I first heard Maniaical, thanks for filling that void in some of the songs there.

What I will always wonder, and I'm sure Bill thinks about this too every once in a while, is what this record would have sounded like if all of FLA's members have been present: Fulber, Peterson, even Balch. I guess we'll never know.

Maybe I'm looking into it too much. Thematically, I felt the songs could have been a little better. I felt calling one song "Insolence pt 2" and another "Prophecy pt 2"... Maniacal still reminds me of the neverending jokes about a certain someone. Sonically, this is a great record, compared to all the crap floating around there. It's FLA's slickest production yet, and by far was a good respose to a lot of the... backlash they've experienced in the past year. To "sample" Bill's favourite 6 words, At the end of the day, it's what they wanted to do and they did it well enough to please the fans into buying something more than futurepop. Way to kick VNV Nation's ass, Bill and Rhys. I wish my two heroes the best of luck.

Reviewed by kAINE

Review from Rock Sound Issue 59 March 2004

If FLA have sounded somewhat in retreat since 'Millennium', either from themselves or from the rapidly changing musical world around them, they are in retreat no longer. 'Civilization' arrives flushed triumphant with its sense of purpose, thick in sound, but technically flawless, conducting musical operations with surgical precision and drip-feeding them with massive bassline grooves. This is dark industrial mood music, revelling in fear, celebrating anger, and throughout finding strength at their intersection. It sweeps through harsh patterns of beat-driven electronic abrasion, mixes them into Deleriumesque darkwave ambience, and in layering synths upon guitars in 'Maniacal' simply storms the dancefloor with the best FLA song for years. Leeb and Fulber firmly have their fingers back on the biomechanical pulse, and the verdict on the characterless synth-pop currently masquerading as industrial is absolutely damning.

9/10 Alex Whitehead

Review from Sideline Issue 46 March 2004

The reunion of Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber gave birth to another child in the FLA family, and the Godfathers named him "Civilization". Announced by an angry and powerful "Maniacal" single, "Civilization" is more of a laid back low temp relaxed album than the single seemed to be announcing and was probably the only possible single off the album. Much closer to the complexity and strength of an album like "Implode", "Civilization" is for me the best record produced by the Canadian duo together with the aforementioned "Implode" and the unavoidable "Caustic Grip". We clearly feel that both friends really enjoyed working again together and imposed themselves no single limit, letting the FLA machine roll, letting the music flow... And with the work each musician recently did on their respective projects Delerium and Conjure One, the result is a melting pot of atmospheres, exotic elements, intricate song structures, and a perfect master of song writing ability bringing the exact balance between verse and chorus in every song, while keeping surprise moments here and there which make of this album a real mine of electronic sensations. FLA inflicts the senses with this brilliant record which reflects spontaneity and force, both at the same time for an overwhelming and uplifting final result. If you expected tough angry boys on this record, you shall be deceived, if you expected he genius fusion of two electronic composing masters, then "Civilization" has depth enough to transport you to the center of the Earth... and back. "Transmitter" and "Civilization" are pearls. Consume without moderation.

TSF: 9

Review from Kerrang! Issue 998 March 2004

Return of industrial veterans: With returning founder member Rhys Fulber a long time associate of Fear Factory, it's as surprising to see FF guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers make a guest appearance here as it is to discover that the re-united FLA are making music that resembles everyone's favourite cyber-metallers' more ambient moments.

Although it occasionally lapses into a trawl through loops and bleeps, 'Civilization' is nonetheless a consistent effort that retains Front Line's identity without sounding too dated. Best tracks: Civilization, Vanished.

3/5 Alistair Lawrence

Add-on - false tracklists and different cover

early version of the coverartwork.

These are the false tracklists. The different songtitles were probably working titles that were changed at some point, but still made it into spotlight. Almost Gone is a previously unreleased track.

False Tracklist #1 (late November 2003)
01 Psychosomatic
02 Maniacal
03 Fragmented
04 Vanished
05 Strategic
06 Civilization
07 Transmitted (Come Together)
08 Dissident
09 Schicksal

False Tracklist #2 (early January 2004)
01. Psychosomatic
02. Maniacal
03. Fragmented
04. Vanished
05. Strategic
06. Almost Gone
07. Civilization
08. Transmitter (Come Together)
09. Dissident
10. Schicksal
11. Parasite

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Last updated 2005-07-12 02:45:22 by: unknown user.

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