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Front 242

One of the most consistent industrial bands of the 1980s, even though they regularly pursued a more electronic variant of the sound that swept into vogue during the '90s, Front 242 were the premier exponent of European electronic body music. Initially, the group was just a duo when formed in October 1981 in Brussels; programmers Patrick Codenys and Dirk Bergen recorded "Principles" and released the single on New Dance Records. A year later, programmer Daniel Bressanutti (aka Daniel B. Prothese) and lead vocalist Jean-Luc de Meyer joined as well; dubbed Front 242 because of the name's universal meaning and united connotations, the quartet debuted in 1982 with the single "U-Men" and album Geography, recorded for Red Rhino Europe Records (RRE).

Not dissimilar to Depeche Mode and other synthesizer bands at the time, Front 242 began playing live later that year, adding percussionist Geoff Bellingham but later replacing him with an ex-roadie, Richard 23 (born Richard Jonckheere). (Dirk Bergen also left the working band, but stayed on to direct management.) The group's sound began to grow more aggressive with 1984's No Comment EP, still reminiscent of synth pop but with harder-hitting rhythms and added menace from de Meyer's vocals. By 1987, Front 242 had gained an American contract through Chicago's Wax Trax!, the home of a diverse group of mostly European aggressive synthesizer acts later lumped together as exponents of industrial rock. Wax Trax! reissued much of the group's recordings (including the rarities collection Back Catalogue) and released a new album, Official Version. The first Front 242 LP to coalesce as a consistent recording, the album contained several cold-wave club hits ("Masterhit," "Quite Unusual") and, for the time, excellent production values. Released in 1988, third LP Front by Front was undoubtedly the group's best yet, with more emphasis on song structure than loose mechanistic grooves. Besides the alternative club hits "Headhunter" and "Never Stop," the record was Front 242's most consistent.

By the end of the decade, Front 242 had become the first Wax Trax! artist to make the jump to a mainstream label; Epic Records picked up the band's contract, reissuing each past album with new artwork and bonus tracks. The single "Tragedy (For You)" became another alternative club hit, and picked up rotation on MTV as well. Though the following album, Tyranny (For You), couldn't touch Front by Front in terms of quality, it made great strides for the group in the minds of audiences -- by the time of its release in 1991, Front 242 was, with Ministry and Skinny Puppy, one of the most well-known industrial acts in music.

With nary a lineup change in the past ten years, however, Richard 23 finally left the group in 1993 after an American tour with the Lollapalooza festival (the trio replaced him with lyricists Jean-Marc Pauly and his brother Pierre). That same year Front 242 released two LPs, 06:21:03:11 Up Evil and 05:22:09:12 Off, the first closer to pop music than anything the group had recorded before, and the second more abrasive than previous recordings. In the wake of industrial music's unlikely mainstream success -- which pushed unrestrained angst and raging guitars in the vein of Nine Inch Nails -- the Front 242 LPs were not well received. Vocalist De Meyer left the group in 1995 to sing with various projects, including Cobalt 60 and Bio-Tek. Front 242 released a live LP (Live Code) and a remix album (Mut@ge.Mix@ge) but for the most part remained quiet while flocks of industrial bands invaded the mainstream charts during the mid- to late '90s. In 1997 the group again toured and issued the live album Re-Boot a year later. Pulse, a studio album of new material, was released in CD and DVD formats in 2003. ~ John Bush, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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Still sounds good ...
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Jean-Luc = best industrial Vox ever...
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Soon @ Das Bunker, if u know... Yer in... 702
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I had forgotten just how much I Love these guys...
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They are one best of there time
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this band has seen me through the darkest moments in my life and I will always love them!! at first I got them mixed up with assemblage 23 I guess cause they both have letters and numbers in their name but I like front a lot better than them.
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As much as I despise newer ebm ahem (crap) I think front 242 will always be one of my fave pre-crap electronic body music!
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The best industrial band
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bluhoneyband
FRONT242 IS AWESOME! WOULD LOVE TO SEE THEM DO SOMETHING WITH KISSING IN GRAVEYARDS
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Zwei Vier Zwei am besten!
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Front 242, always one of the best that Industrial has in it's arsenal, and always will be! Long may it (& they) live!
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Killer music 2 work out 2, just makes u get the extra pump and push harder. Yeah!
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Jee-sus is HERE!
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Thomas Pillion is smoking the bad stuff. The first person I've ever seen use the term dicks instead of sucks... You just had to be different. Weirdo!
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@Thomas Pillion
Ummm...you managed to somehow relate Front 242 to your views on Obama Care? You're pathetic. Seek help.
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Love Headhunter, it's my fave
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F**king love this song! !!! Its my rage. When i got want to lash out. And right now the economy dicks. So this song fits right now. F**k Ohbama! !! And his Ohbama care!!!! You agree with me? Speek up or for ever hold your peace!!!!
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saw them at lollapalooza in 1993
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Be Myself, Wanna Be Myself! Front 242 & Nitzer Ebb were the Shiznit back in the day!
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cdev70
The first sentence this critic speaks of sounds decent but everything afterwards is incorrect. Front 242 were Gods of the 80's..nothin g less.
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cdev70
The first sente
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Headhunter (Live) Best version ever!
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unconformist 0 0 1
Throbbing Gristle created the genre
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I was soooo lucky to saw them here in Washington, D.C. A few years a go. For some of you guys sound something just good but for me coming from Peru is a dream come true, a dream that started in 1990 when got the first cassette from them, the legendary "front by front"
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I've always wanted to see them live. I imagine they're right up there with SP as far as live shows go.
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Caught the Men on the Catch the Men tour in Philadelphia . Fan for life from that show on!
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Off was most abrasive? Always thought it sounded milder than Up Evil
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Chicago misses Wax Trax! and Front242. It's great when clubs/concer t venues play their songs, the crowd goes wild and sings along. I'm like: Wow, and this is intermission !
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cervantes_je s s e
was always a blast to be dancing at exit or neo's and headhunter would start playing, miss those days when i could sance for hours and not feel it when i woke up, thank you front 242 and all the others
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Don't forget SKINNY PUPPY.
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TRUE to ALL "THAT"
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warehouselov e 7 5
So,so good. The way the morning broke was Quite Unusual. I love Front 242.
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p.graziosi
No..No..No Sex until....... . . . . .
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Rocked to headhunter in Chicago 91' industrial nightclubs
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Oktober 1981 good month and year to form one the greatest bands evooooooore
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One of the greats. Perfect balance of goth/industi a l / d a n c e .
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zx600e93
Saw them in Canes Mission Beach, San Diego CA. Still have their gray polo shirt GOOD TIMES!!!! Gravity Kills opened up for them, I sure miss those days B-)
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One of my favorite artists of all time... period.
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emailed them a few years ago.. to say thanks for the memories, got a nice note back from them
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Where's the best album they ever did, UP EVIL!!!
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Get the rest of the albums up asap! PLEASE! :)
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NO SEX UNTIL MARRIAGE.... . . .
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Saw them back in the 90's in San Francisco. Fun times!
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I saw them in NYC a few years ago... great concert.
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This has to be my favorite industrial band of all time along with Skinny Puppy, KMFDM, and Nitzer Ebb of course. Truly, I can't say which I love the most but still tend to listen to 242 the most.
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jlagrone7
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE POOR ANYMORE
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Tops
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One of my favorite artists of all time, glad my brother hooked me onto them.
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warehouselov e 7 5
One of the best that ever did it. The way the morning broke was quite unusual.
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the front 242 will always be a fav but pandoras is missing vital works special forces
,u-men,s.fr. n o m e n k l a t o r a , c o n t r o v e r y between,kamp f b e r e i t , a n d more that all can be found on backcatalogu e album works on here are the ones that gave rise to the
industrial dance craze
Show more

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