Beautiful Steely Angst

The Belgian group Front 242 claims a stronger classical influence than its American counterparts on the industrial scene. The claim lias merit, given the band’s symphonic approach to a genre characterized by relentless electronic drumbeats and general harshriess. ()n its latest album, 0 5:22:09:1 2 Off (Epic)— the numbers correspond to the alphabetical order of the letters in “evil”—the songs aren ‘t so much songs as passages in a larger work that careens f rom ethereal washes oI phased feedback to hydraulic-press dance music. Though the music explores the darker emotions, it isn’t exceptionally brutal when compared with other industrial acts. It is, however, exceptionally beautiful, energizing, and packed with ideas, which members of Front 242 are loath to explain. “Frustration” is as close as they get to describing their motivation, and that seems accurate. Imagine having your flight canceled at a busy airport when you have pressing business at your destination. You’re stuck there for five hours, and your fantasies turn lethal. Front 242 puts you in the middle of those fantasies, without going to the airport. —C.M.Y.