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I am new to the FLA since this year, but already blown away by most of their stuff, right down to early ambient material. Mechanical Soul is a disappointment, i wrote a review on RYM which says:
It speaks volumes about FLA’s diversity since i liked all of their albums until this one. It’s not bad, just so… middle of the road at best, because it is basically b-sides for “Deviator” by Noise Unit – one of many Bill Leeb’s side-projects; same style, same themes, SAME YEAR, but with more inspired songwriting. “Wake Up The Coma” already showed some warning signs, but it ended up being one of the most solid post 90s albums. And on this one you still can hear new sound techniques, take a note about one creative choice or two. Those mechanical sounding beats and synths at it’s core are uber authentic, sampling is some of the most immersive FLA has ever done. Conceptually the LP is interesting, it soakes you into post-apocalyptic cyberpunk similary to Epitah, Hard Wired or Millenium, but so dried up. It sounds dreadful, not in a sense the cover art wants you to imagine – each track just plodes along to the point of stale predictability (often lacking the punch or meaningful statement to back up the simplicity), not expanding in any direction, eventhough on some this straight techno industrial sound is effective due to more tight, interchangeable layers, especially if it is accompanied by actually smart lyrics – Alone is my absolute favorite example of that. Overall this album seems reminiscent of “Caustic Grip” or “Gashed Senses & Crossfire”, however it lacks their punk aplomb. “Barbarians” also reminded me of Laibach’s “Now You Will Pay” which was much more interestingly executed, not to mention that it is just a remix of “Future Fail”. Some of the lyrics hits barrel’s bottom, especially “Rubber Tube Gag”, there are way more crushing drug songs out there – BELIEVE ME – at least it’s not rock bottom from Coma ‘s “Living a Lie”: “I’m making love to an alien”, “Fuck an alien and you’ll be free”.