This album originally ended with "Welcome to Paradise." The next tracks are from the Never Stop! EP.
First off, I'd like to interpret the album's title. I see two possibly meanings: one, it alludes to a "front" used it war. With this meaning, Front 242 is conquering music one front at a time. The other possible meaning behind the title is simply "Front, by Front." This is their style, and they created it. It is the sound of Front 242 created by Front 242. Front by Front.
Alright. There are a lot of good things said about this album, and I agree with all of them. When you pop in this CD, you can immediately tell it's an album from the 80s. It has that synthy-80s feel to it. But the reason this album is hailed as Industrial's greatest acheivement is that it manages to transcend the technology available at the time it was created (1988... more than a while ago).
The electronic drumming on this album is nothing short of incredible. Precise and powerful, the beats laid down by this amazing group lay the foundation for the innumerable synths and the multitude of samples. The synths themselves are impressive; Front 242 never uses presets. They fabricate their own sounds, and you can tell. What you hear is what you get. The samples are well-placed, and some songs are completely built around them.
Until Death (Do Us Part) is an extremely satyrical look at marriage. L-O-C-K space T-H-E space D-O-O-R space F-O-R-E-V-E-R. A very accessible first track that creates high expecations for the rest of the album.
Circling Overland has great samples of what seem to be Air Force pilots chattering away during a night-time mission. The menacing, huge sound to this song is littered with this samples. This song was nothing short of a Cold-War statement about weapons stockpiling. One day, the song predicts, our soldiers will be one with their weapons. At what cost are we willing to fight for our beliefs? Are we willing to sacrifice our humanity?
Im Rhythmus Bleiben is probably my favorite track on this album. A straightforward dance song, I just can't get enough of the "Im Rhythmus Bleiben!" chant. Good samples here, too. This is a great song that was unfortunately butchered for the :Re:Boot tour.
Felines is the one song I skip when I listen to this monumental work. I just can't get into this. Maybe some emo kid somewhere will like a song about cats being attracted to people's pain...
First In/First Out is a great dance song, probably even better suited to this purpose than Bleiben. Great, great, GREAT sample here: "I go there every night just to hear the beat!" Interesting, gnarled vocals by Richard and Jean-Luc here. Good song, definitely. The :Re:Boot version was pretty good, too.
The first thing I think of when I hear the opening lines of Blend the Strengths is the "There will be total chaos" sample. It sounds like an English woman speaking, but I don't know. The distorted scream is a classic Front 242 sound, one that you will forever associate with the end of this track and the beginning of...
Headhunter v3.0. Easily the most popular Front 242 song, it's popularity is not undeserved. The perfect harmony between Richard and Jean-Luc is unmatched on any other Front 242 studio album. The snarling synth in this song is immediately recognizable in any one of the multitude of remixes on the Headhunter 2000 CD. The refrain to this song will burn its way into your mind for all time: One you lock the target / Two you bait the line / Three you slowly spread the net / And four you catch the man! The drums to this song are almost set up in a breakbeat. This song is one for the ages.
After the assault of Headhunter, you will find no rest in Work 01. None at all. This is the most sample-laden song on the album. It sounds like horror movie samples coupled with a very short refrain from De Meyer. A good concept with great implementation.
Terminal State was the first song I really liked on this album. I don't listen to it as much now, but I think it's a great starting point to get into Front. The lyrics seem especially poingant now. They almost seem to be written about our idiot of a President.
Welcome to Paradise is another incredible song. Using great samples from a televangelist, the group portrays the fanaticism that is Christianity without actually casting a judgement on it. This song is an incredible work of sarcasm in that there are no actual lyrics in it. I've played this for many of my friends, and they always crack up listening to it. Also, the :Re:Boot version where De Meyer and 23 actually sing the samples is priceless. Also in this song is the single greatest quote ever sampled: "No sex until marriage!"
Headhunter 1.0 is (I believe) a mix of 3.0. Sounds backwards, I know, but I think that's how it works. Anyway, it's a good mix, definitely. Much more straightforward.
Never Stop! V1.0 is a Front 242 classic. It exemplifies everything good about Front besides De Meyer's incomparable voice. Richard 23 does all the singing here, but boy does he do a great job. Great "America!" samples, better singing, and it all adds up to a classic.
Work 242 N.Off is N.Off takes a while to get going, it's true. It's a drum loop over and over and over until near the end of the song. If you can figure out the lyrics then, you get a prize. I've seen a few ideas, but nothing I think hits the nail on the head.
Agony (Until Death) is a vocal-less remix of Until Death (Do Us Part). It's good, nothing spectacular.
Never Stop! v1.1 is missing the lyrics! I don't get it! Some of the synths have been slightly reworked, but I think v1.0 has everything over this one.
Work 242 is as tedious as Work 242 N.Off is N.Off. There's about a minute of soft noise toward the end, then a "Listen Carefully!" sample also put at the end of Never Stop! v1.1.
Remember, those last 6 songs weren't originally on Front by Front, so while the genius of a short album has been diluted somewhat, getting Never Stop! free is worth it without a doubt.
This album and Official Version were Front 242's early peak. Both albums were unbelievably advanced for their time, and I don't think Front ever got back up to speed until their most recent album, Pulse. You'll read a lot of negative reviews of Pulse, but if you realize that that album is what Front 242 wanted it to be, that THAT is the new sound, you will learn to love it. That album and this one are truly FRONT by FRONT.