Tactical Neural Implant

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Tactical Neural Implant
Studio album by Front Line Assembly
Released May 26, 1992 (1992-05-26)[1]
Recorded 1992 (1992), Creation Studios, Vancouver, B.C.
Genre Electro-industrial[1]
Label Third Mind Records
Producer Front Line Assembly
Front Line Assembly chronology
Caustic Grip
(1990)
Tactical Neural Implant
(1992)
Millennium
(1994)

Tactical Neural Implant is an album by electro-industrial artists Front Line Assembly. Third Mind Records originally released it in 1992[1] on both compact-disc and LP formats. The album has also been issued by Roadrunner in a two-disc set that includes the Millennium album.

The album contains what some reviewers regard as some of Front Line Assembly's best songs, including the singles "The Blade" and "Mindphaser".[1] The album still receives heavy play in industrial and electronic music dance clubs[1] and is considered "a classic among clubgoers, DJs, and musicians even now."[2] Tactical Neural Implant sold more than 70.000 copies.[2]

Musical style and writing[edit]

Tactical Neural Implant veers away from the more abrasive elements found on the Caustic Grip album: vocals, while heavily effected, are often paired with vocoders and slightly more melodic elements.

Samples[edit]

Sampling continued to figure heavily in FLA's sound,[3] though its usage had evolved somewhat - not only were FLA taking from film (RoboCop 2[2] and Exorcist III, for instance) but also from other musical recordings - "Bio-Mechanic" opens with a sample from New Order's "Cries and Whispers". Slayer's Skeletons of Society from their album Seasons in the Abyss appears on The Blade.[4] At the beginning of The Blade a sample of Funky Drummer is heard, a song by James Brown.[5]

Lyrics[edit]

Also lyricwise, "Mindphaser" is an example of Front Line Assembly's many references to "industrial music's intellectual heritage", as S. Alexander Reed points out in Assimilate: a critical history of industrial music.[2] "Mindphaser" borrows a few lyrics from industrial band Clock DVA's song "The Hacker" which appeared on their 1989 album Buried Dreams.[2] Even the song title "Mindphaser" has its forerunners:[6] On the 1976 release Moondawn by Klaus Schulze appeared a track with the same title.[7] Power electronics band Whitehouse released a song of the same name on their 1980 album Birthdeath Experience.[8]

Writing[edit]

Tactical Neural Implant is an example how the band's side projects influence the writing of Front Line Assembly songs. "We got some ideas for FLA songs during the Intermix sessions, for example, Outcast", said Rhys Fulber to EST Magazine.[9] "We keep everything separate because we want to keep the visions of each separate", he continued, "It's nice to work on a bunch of things and then do a new FLA album. [...] It keeps us interested [...] I think you can grow musically during a short period of time if you do lots of different things. [...] On the FLA album we were spending six hours a day at least on it."[9]

Singles[edit]

Mindphaser is the first single taken from Tactical Neural Implant. The single was released April 7, 1992 on Third Mind. It includes two versions of the title track and the tracks "Toxic" and "Mutilate" that were also released as bonus tracks on the Japanese edition of the album. A promotional music video for "Mindphaser" won "Best Alternative Video" at Much Music's 1992 Canadian Music Video Awards.[10] The award winning video was directed by Robert Lee and produced by Gary Blair Smith and took two months to make.[11] The video depicts Front Line Assembly inserted into clips of the Japanese Science Fiction film Gunhed.[6] The Japanese film company let Front Line Assembly use any footage of the film in exchange for the right to use any changes the band would make for themselves.[11] The video also received airplay on MTV. "Mindphaser" was voted the sixth greatest industrial song of all time by COMA Music Magazine in their feature article "101 Greatest Industrial Songs of All Time". [12]

After having won the award, Front Line Assembly shed some light on the production of the video on MuchMusic. Bill Leeb considered their approach to writing to be quite unconventional. "I was shown some footage first", said Leeb, "we actually wrote the song to the footage. Also the lyrics were written to the footage."[13] "There was a lot of brainstorming between us and the people involved in the video", added Rhys Fulber.[13] According to the band it was rather the images than the actual plot of the film the video clip is based on that inspired writing. "The actual storyline is kind of hard to follow because it's all in Japanese obviously", Fulber explained. Although "even just visually it's hard to follow [...] it's just the imagery we found quite amazing."[13] Leeb commented on concerns that the imagery might push the music into the background. "A lot of times videos actually wreck songs" by pushing the listener in a direction, he said. In contrast, "this way it worked hand in hand really well."[13]

The Blade, the second single from the album, was released through Third Mind in two versions with different artwork. The North American version contains four tracks, namely two versions of "The Blade" and non-album tracks "Re-Animate" and "Laughing Pain". The European version is an eight-track single and features the songs of the North American version along with two additional remixes of "The Blade" and additional non-album tracks "Target" and "Heatwave".

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]

Tactical Neural Implant is widely viewed as one of Front Line Assembly's best releases.[14] Theo Kavadias of Allmusic said, "Front Line Assembly, one of the premiere electro-industrial acts, has done much to help define what the genre is about. Tactical Neural Implant is one of the releases which has contributed most to this claim, setting a standard with its cool, calm, and collected electronic harmonies and driving bass."[1] The song "Mindphaser" was ranked No. 6 on COMA Music Magazine's 101 Greatest Industrial Songs of All Time.[14] Bill Leeb said the video for the song was the only one by the band to receive regular airplay on MTV.[14]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Bill Leed and Rhys Fulber. 

No. Title Length
1. "Final Impact"   6:02
2. "The Blade"   5:53
3. "Mindphaser"   5:04
4. "Remorse"   5:44
5. "Bio-Mechanic"   5:26
6. "Outcast"   5:22
7. "Gun"   6:19
8. "Lifeline"   5:07
Japanese Bonus tracks
No. Title Length
9. "Toxic"   6:03
10. "Mutilate"   5:42
11. "Mindphaser (12" Version)"   6:43

Personnel[edit]

Front Line Assembly[edit]

Technical personnel[edit]

  • Greg Reely – engineering, additional production
  • Mike Landolt – assistant engineering
  • Dave Coppenhall – artwork, design
  • Brian Williams – photography

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Kavadias, Theo. "Tactical Neural Implant Review". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 31, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Reed, S. Alexander (2013). Assimilate: a critical history of industrial music. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-19-983260-6. 
  3. ^ "Front Line Assembly samples". mindphaser.com. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Front Line Assembly's The Blade sample of Slayer's Skeleton of Society". WhoSampled. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Front Line Assembly's The Blade sample of James Brown's Funky Drummer". WhoSampled. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Reed, S. Alexander (2013). Assimilate: a critical history of industrial music. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-19-983260-6. 
  7. ^ "Klaus Schulze: Moondawn". Klaus Schulze. Retrieved June 23, 2014. 
  8. ^ Whitehouse: Birthdeath Experience > Overview at AllMusic. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Riley, Matthew F. (March 1992). "Front Line Assembly Interview". EST Magazine. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  10. ^ Reed, S. Alexander (2013). Assimilate: a critical history of industrial music. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-19-983260-6. 
  11. ^ a b Garcia, Sandra (September 1992). Interview with Bill Leeb. B-Side Magazine. Archived from the original on April 2, 2012. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  12. ^ Schock, David (March 9, 2012). "101 Greatest Industrial Songs of All Time'". COMA Music Magazine. Retrieved June 8, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c d Front Line Assembly - Interview Much Music 1992 (Television production). Much Music. 1992. Retrieved July 11, 2014 – via Youtube. 
  14. ^ a b c Schock, David (March 9, 2012). "Feature: 101 Greatest Industrial Songs of All Time – # 20 – # 2". COMA Music Magazine. Retrieved August 27, 2012.