Front 242

06:21:03:11 Up Evil

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The first of two releases for Front 242 in 1993, 06:21:03:11 Up Evil (aka F*ck Up Evil) found the foursome rebounding from the somewhat sterile Tyranny (For You) with a varied, vicious assault. Incorporating guitar noise more readily than ever before, but most often chopped up and heavily treated for the band's own particular purposes, 06:21:03:11 Up Evil contains some of the band's most virulent, explosive songs. All titles are one-word long, simple, and straightforward, with names like "Flag," "Mutilate," and "Crapage." There's almost a straight-up rock feel to a number of tracks as well, as the drumming on "Waste" and the quite anthemic "Melt" shows. It's hardly Front 242's grunge move, though -- Jean-Luc de Meyer and the generally little-heard Richard 23 may have a more openly emotional rasp and rage in their voices, especially de Meyer, but the relentless beat of industrial/electronic body music lives on. Leadoff single "Religion" continues the group's winning vein on that front, feedback roars and a huge beat setting an edgy pace before a body slam of a chorus kicks in, de Meyer raging over the top, "Let me burn you down!" The winning secret of the album is that a fair number of songs also demonstrate a careful subtlety, as with the sly mood-setting of "Skin," with its chopped-up electro/hip-hop beats providing the propulsion behind desperate whispers and ominous synth buzzes. The immediately following "Motion" provides an even more upfront blend of styles, with a quiet start and gentle singing suddenly shifting into a pounding call-to-arms percussion attack, all while de Meyer chants, "progress, progress!" again and again. Other successes in this vein include the strange prettiness of "Stratoscape," featuring a low, purring bassline and crisp beats offset against soft keyboard sparkles and chimes, and "Fuel," which includes minimal ambient buzz, more upfront dance/beat chaos, and varying combinations of the two.

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