"Full Frontal Assault - The Second Front" (EP, 2011)
Ooh, this is tantalisingly close to a fully-fledged perfected formula. It has moments of greatness that are worthy of mention alongside luminaries (and inspiration) like Front Line Assembly and Front 242. It just needs a little bit more focus, and Kommand+Kontrol should step out from the shadows and into a dazzling spotlight. It’s where they should be. This EP is an extended reissue of Full Frontal Assault and the band were good enough to offer anyone who bought the original (shorter) EP a free bonus disc of the extra tracks included on this version.
Opener I Promise delivers on its title, gradually winding itself up into a crunching piece of industrial dance. Fight It (remix) (an overhaul of the second track from their 2009 debut) reminds us of their earlier older school sound but half way through suddenly channels the triggering synth spirit of Visage’s The Damned Don't Cry to producing a twisting, bubbling mass of beats, bass and ticking bomb hi-hats. Whilst What's Wrong could be an out-take from Front 242's 05:22:09:12 Off. The fully instrumental Sonik Machine closes proceedings and could be an indicator of where their headed.
It’s almost as if K+K are trying to sneakily back out of the industrial genre by slowly walking backwards in the hope that no-one quite realises what they’ve done. The guest remixes (from Analog Angel, Population and Spucktute) are tame in comparison. They help round out a substantial nine tracks, but only really wind up proving that though they may admire what K+K are up to, none of them can match the unique combination of influences and elements present in the source compositions.
Just why a decent label hasn't snapped these guys up yet is beyond me. 7/10
Rob Dyer (March 2012)
"Watched By Machines" (EP, 2011)
When I recently caught Kommand+Kontrol live for the first time at the CyberSoniK Festival I was impressed beyond expectations; which is always a nice surprise. Expectations had been set by knowledge of their Dead Ground Ahead mini album from last year. That was firmly rooted in respectable industrial influences like the two Fronts: 242 and Line Assembly.
Things have moved on somewhat in the intervening year. The current sound, though still showing trace elements of the older, old schoolers, demonstrates a more creative mix up of those with more edgy, dark dance music. The results captured on this (largely instrumental) nine-track EP show the wider range and depth to K+K’s field of operations is paying off handsomely. (It is inexplicable that this is a self-release and that no label has picked this up.) The remixes by guest artists (with the exception of Audio-FX’s rewiring of I Promise) though do tend to anchor the EP back in the circles from which K+K have emerged. I believe K+K’s future lies elsewhere and they deserve better.
Possibly too dance orientated for the hardcore EBMers and too hard and dark for most dance music fans, this finds itself nestling in a very interesting space somewhere midway between the two. Whether they can sustain themselves in such a tight niche remains to be seen, but its definitely playing to their natural (previously camouflaged) strengths, as Watched By Machines is a noteworthy release that has elevated Kommand + Kontrol from curiosity to, front and centre, an act to follow. 7/10
Rob Dyer (December 2011)
Openly reflecting their influences from the 'golden era' of industrial, whether it be musically (Caustic Grip era Front Line Assembly on Dead Ground Ahead), or culturally (David Cronenberg's Videodrome on Television), whilst Kommand+Kontrol don't aim to break the mould when it comes to the industrial genre, they still display some promising chemistry at work on this, their first seven track, mini album.
Let down slightly by average production values, nevertheless, in terms of the important stuff, ie songwriting, these guys are pushing a lot of the right buttons. I imagine the cocktail is more potent in a live setting, and hopefully it won't be too long before I can check out that theory. The stand out entry for me is Body Map - its moody mid-beat pacing and sample-only voices the strongest sign of a distinctive voice. 6/10
Rob Dyer (June 2010)
Front Line Assembly