AAAC 6th March 2018 - Front 242 - Front By Front

Front 242 – Front By Front (1988)





Original album comprises the first 10 tracks. Tracks 11-16 are the 1989 single Never Stop together with remixes.

EBM (Electronic body music) grew out of the original industrial music of the mid to late 70s as a more dance orientated genre, generally based on a 4/4 beat with a very clean sound. German band D.A.F. were probably the first band to have their own definitive take on it based on their punk roots, and through the mid to late 80s arguably the biggest two bands were the Essex based Nitzer Ebb and Belgian group Front 242.

Front 242’s approach used militaristic imagery and became more techno influenced, and they peaked with this album, and the 1991 follow-up Tyranny For You. For me though, Front By Front is the definitive EBM album, and the single Headhunter often wins polls for the best industrial song of all time.

Further listening:
D.A.F. - Alles Ist Gut (1981)
Cabaret Voltaire – Microphonies (1984)
Front Line Assembly – Caustic Grip (1990), Tactical Neural Implant (1992)
Nitzer Ebb – Ebbhead (1991)



Looking forward to this, though I dare say when it goes on my missus will be calling the local gulag looking for a spare bed

Absolutely top banana choice :+1:

I don’t have the D.A.F album, so must investigate further, and I don’t think I’ve listened to Caustic Grip since, err, 1991, so I’ll dig that out again.

Never heard of them but not for me, I can see how they influenced other bands as I can hear Art of Noise, new order, kraftwerk and others in there but just doesn’t do anything for me.

Looking forward to giving this a listen.

I do like some Front 242, however I found this very same’y and rather dull to listen too. It sounds very 1980s indie/electronic and hasn’t worn well.

Gave 6 tracks a listen and then got bored.

Not for me.

The Cabaret Voltaire - Microphonies LP is fab.

Never really got Front 242 when they were active. They seemed to be on MTV quite regularly from about 1987 -1990 IIRC. I could never get over the stupidity of their videos. The decision to dress up as soldiers and prance about was very silly when this was released and certainly ain’t great now. They just seemed a bit derivative to me. The kind of hard edged beats and samples used here had been done earlier and better by the likes of the Cabs, Section 25, Xymox and Colorbox to name but a few. This really hasn’t aged very well either in terms of the technology (the very rigid 4/4 DMX beats and synth basslines from what sounds like an Emulator), production (particularly the decision to place such rigidly programmed drums so high in the mix) and the cod-angry Mr Shouty on vocals.

In short, you can’t really dance to it and it is not original or interesting enough to listen to for any great length.

2/5 for a trip down a very dimly lit memory lane. Much prefer the DAF and Cabs LPs cited in the write up. 4/5 for either of them. This LP was always going to struggle as it is music that makes Pop Will Eat Itself appear intelligent and innovative, which is astonishing thing to manage.

But, but, they’re Dance Commandos. Didn’t you know that?


is an entertaining read if you haven’t already seen it.

:+1: I shall give it a bash once I’ve finished what I’m currently reading. Cheers for the tip…

It seemed dark and edgy at the time. Now it sounds so tame. Industrial… in a slight bloke-in-a-tool-shed way.

But ‘Headhunter’ takes me back to the indie nightclubs!

Sort of interesting to hear it again in a historic way. Was better at the time.