Front Line Assembly - Biography
Vancouver-based electro-industrial act Front Line Assembly is the best known of the many electronic projects associated with Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber.
Austrian-born Canadian Wilhelm Anton Leeb got his professional start as Wilhelm Schröder with Canadian act Skinny Puppy in 1985. The following year, he left to form his own similar but dancier act, Frontline Assembly with Rhys Fulber — originally just a studio assistant — and synth player Michael Bach. Their debut album, Nerve War (1986 self-released cassette tape), was a self-produced cassette limited to somewhere between fifty and a hundred copies.
Frontline Assembly [aka State of Mind] (1987 Dossier Records) was their first album on a label. The same year, Leeb and Fulber began their first of ultimately many side projects, Delerium, as an outlet for the pair’s more ambient compositions. February's Corrosion (1988 Wax Trax!), was followed by a mini-album, Disorder (1988-Wax Trax!) and then December's The Initial Command (1988 KK Records) in rapid succession.
In 1989, Frontline Assembly returned with Gashed Senses & Crossfire (1989 Wax Trax!). The album's European support tour led to the release in August of Live (1989 Third Mind Records), a live album that was released and deleted on the same day. Leeb and Fulber started yet another side project, Noise Unit, this time pairing with Marc Verhaeghen of Klinik and Chris Peterson of Decree. In 1990, Balch left to join Ministry and the remaining duo released Caustic Grip (1990 Wax Trax!). Leeb returned to his old Skinny Puppy bandmates cEvin Key and Dwayne Goettel and formed Cyberaktif, which also featured Einstürzende Neubauten's Blixa Bargeld. Frontline Assembly returned with 1992's song oriented Tactical Neural Implant (1992 Third Mind). The same year, Leeb and Fulber began yet another side project, the unabashedly and surprisingly house-indebted Intermix, who released their debut.
The next Frontline Assembly album, Millennium (1994 Roadrunner), moved away from their theretofore increasingly dance direction by adding aggressive guitar to the mix. 1995's Hard Wired (1995 Metropolis) turned down the amps a bit for a more integrated sound and the same year, Leeb and Fulber started one more side project, Synæsthesia. The next Frontline Assembly release, Remix War (1996 Cleopatra), was split between Frontline Assembly songs remixed by Die Krupps and Die Krupps songs remixed by Frontline Assembly. Its release was followed by another live album, Live Wired (1996 Metropolis).
The following year, 1997, FLA released FLAvour of the Weak (1997 Metropolis). The same year, founding member Rhys Fulber left the group to concentrate on production and his new group, Conjure One. Leeb meanwhile formed Pro>Tech with Chris Peterson. In 1998, Peterson officially joined Frontline Assembly in time to record and release Monument (1998 Metropolis). It was followed by Re-Wind (1998 Metropolis), a two-disc set of remixes from Front 242, Collide, Tim Schuldt, Kalte Farben, Eat Static, Cydonia and Fini Tribe. Meanwhile, Leeb and Peterson formed a jungle-influenced side project, Equinox. By the release of Frontline Assemby's Implode (1999 Metropolis), the musical distinctions between Leeb's many projects began to muddy and many listeners felt the album sounded more like the work of Delirium. Epitaph (2001 Metropolis) continued in its predecessors mellow direction.
Fulber returned to the band and Peterson left in 2002. The reshuffled line-up released Explosion (2003 Synthetic Symphony). The studio album, Civilization (2004 Metropolis), was followed by Complete Total Terror (2004 Cleopatra), a collection of very early home recordings. After the releases of Vanish (2004-Metropolis), Jeremy Inkel of cyberpunk group Left Spine Down joined the group. Peterson also returned. The expanded line-up released Artificial Soldier, (2006 Metropolis) which featured guest vocalists Eskil Simonsson (from Covenant) and Jean-Luc de Meyer from (Front 242). In 2007, the band released another remix album, Fallout (2007 Metropolis). Improvised. Electronic. Device. (2010 Metropolis) followed, and their latest release is titled Airmech (2012.)