But Listen: 003: Front 242 – Pulse

Kind of amazing it came to this, really. After years without a new album, the legacy intact as simply one of the godfathers of EBM-industrial, out of nowhere comes an album. As soon as it got announced I had a copy on order, and what a disappointment.

Front 242

Catalog#: REF6403392

Listen on: Spotify

Note: First appeared in Black Harvest issue #6 October 2003

Gone is the seething malevolence of 242 in their classic years. There is none of the raging, driving pulse beating through every track. In fact, gone is pretty much everything that made them so great in the first place. Instead of the stomping beats and growled vocals, we get trancey “jams” and barely audible vocals. Let’s get one thing straight. At 20 tracks and over 76 minutes, it is far too long. Too much of it feels like filler, one trance-lite jam fading into the next.

There are some great moments hidden in this mess. Ignore tracks 1-5 (SEQ666 – P.U.L.S.E. – god, did I buy the wrong CD and end up with a Whirl-y-gig compilation?) and go straight for Together – a superb slow burning track that gets better on repeated listens. ONE (With The Fire) is fantastic as well – a driving, urgent beat with a classic Richard 23/Jonckheere vocal. PAN (DHE) is good too, but really, that is all there is to recommend. Despite my best efforts to find something else worth mentioning, I simply can’t.

The whole thing sounds unfinished – as if it was rushed out. Some achievement when we have been waiting for a new album for this long. Lets just hope live performances don’t throw out everything old as well – the Re-Boot album reinvented the old stuff so thrillingly it would be a shame to lose that too.

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