Front Line Assembly

Gashed Senses & Crossfire

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Often cited as Front Line Assembly's best album, 1989's Gashed Senses & Crossfire saw the Austro-Canadian ensemble fulfilling the underground promise of their early releases and riding the very crest of the industrial music tidal wave as it broke over the entire planet. The album may not have enjoyed the same sort of watershed sales or mainstream recognition as KMFDM's and Ministry's concurrent releases, but the creative versatility displayed by collaborators Bill Leeb, Michael Balch, and unofficial member Rhys Fulber, was truly second to none. In fact, it was precisely that eclecticism that made the album so challenging and less commercially successful, yet ultimately fulfilling, as listeners were forced to contend with acerbic dance numbers ("No Limit," "Digital Tension Dementia," etc.), hypnotic metal machine music ("Antisocial" "Bloodsport"), and hauntingly ethereal meditations ("Prayer," "Sedation") alike, without discrimination. In the end, the key elements binding all of these disparate constructions together were the atonal croaks and croons that passed for vocals, and Front Line Assembly's formidable production talents, which brought meticulous detail to the inordinate number of instrumental layers stacked within, and the innumerable sonic artifacts that peppered them with surprises. In short: a triumph of man, machine, and music. Notably, Gashed Senses & Crossfire was also the final FLA album to feature founding partner Michael Balch, who was replaced full-time by future electro-metal producer Rhys Fulber for the following year's Caustic Grip.

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