Front 242 overview, as pioneers of 'electronic body music' embark on final tour

Front 242 are one of the best electronic music groups around. Here's why...
Performances - Day 3 - Primavera Sound Festival 2017
Performances - Day 3 - Primavera Sound Festival 2017 / Xavi Torrent/GettyImages

Sadly, Font 242 has announced it's doing its final tour. So what is a Front 242? It's a musical entity that stands as a cornerstone in the realm of electronic music, with its innovative sound and influential style. Comprised of Jean-Luc De Meyer, Daniel Bressanutti, Patrick Codenys, Richard Jonckheere, and Tim Kroker, the group has continuously pushed the boundaries of music since its inception.

Their albums are marked by a distinct percussive element, blended seamlessly with distorted synthesizers and pulsating beats. They sound organic yet robotic at the same time. These elements, often imitated but never duplicated, have solidified Front 242's status as a pioneer in the industry. Notably, other artists who have ventured into similar sonic territories frequently cite Front 242 as a key source of inspiration, and the high rate of likes on their music videos on YouTube suggests a strong cult following.

Front 242 exemplify musical diversity in electronic/industrial music

Front 242's current lineup is a testament to their enduring presence and creative vitality. However, their collaborative potential extends beyond their own group, as evidenced by their seamless compatibility with fellow industrial giants like Front Line Assembly, Ministry, or Skinny Puppy. Together, these acts form a cornerstone of any comprehensive industrial playlist, though the genre offers a diverse array of artists worth exploring.

One of Front 242's defining characteristics is their impeccable rhythm section, which captivates listeners without succumbing to the repetitive tropes often associated with techno groups. Their music exudes a dark allure that transcends genre boundaries, making it a fitting addition to playlists ranging from industrial to dance.

What is "electronic body music"?

The term "electronic body music" (EBM) finds its roots in Front 242's groundbreaking work. Coined by Kraftwerk but popularized by Front 242, EBM encapsulates their signature sound—a fusion of electronic experimentation and pulsating rhythms. This genre-defining approach was first acknowledged in their 1984 album No Comment, where the term appeared in the liner notes, forever linking Front 242 to the evolution of electronic music.

Beyond their musical contributions, Front 242 has left an indelible mark on fashion and culture. Embracing the "Rivethead" style, characterized by military-inspired attire and punk-infused hairstyles, the band became synonymous with fashions that, at the time, reflected rebellion and innovation.

The catchy edge of Front 242

Front 242's journey began in 1981 with the release of their debut single, "U-Men," distributed through various independent labels. However, it was tracks like "Headhunter" and "Tragedy For You" that propelled them to international acclaim. These songs showcase the band's ability to blend industrial sensibilities with gothic undertones, all while proving that a predominantly synth-driven outfit can still deliver a raw-yet-catchy, seemingly rock-inspired edge.

In essence, Front 242 transcends conventional labels, embodying the spirit of innovation and defiance. Their legacy reverberates through the annals of electronic music, inspiring generations of artists to push the boundaries of sonic exploration. Whether on stage or in the studio, Front 242 continues to redefine what it means to be at the forefront of musical evolution. Lastly, if you are into buying physical records, you should check out their latest clear vinyl releases!