Hanz “Falco” Hölzel was an artist ahead of his time. His bold, international, synth-drenched style of electrofunk anticipated the sound of contemporary pop. Of course, he was hardly unappreciated in the ‘80s: “Vienna Calling,” “Der Kommissar,” “Jeanny,” and especially “Rock Me Amadeus” all became massive hits, influencing mainstream and experimental musicians alike. The members of the Vancouver, BC industrial and electronic band Front Line Assembly were listening, and a little more than three decades after “Rock Me Amadeus” topped the charts worldwide, they’re breathing new life into a song that has never exactly faded away.
The Front Line Assembly version of “Rock Me Amadeus” is just one of twelve scalding new tracks on Wake Up The Coma, the band’s nineteenth (!) studio album. They’ve brought some friends to this party, too: Nick Holmes of the Swedish death metal band Bloodbath contributes his distinctive vocals to the title track, Robert Görl of D.A.F. sings on the kickoff song, and Chris Connelly, who has worked with Ministry, adds his voice to the closer. In the role of Falco, Front Line Assembly has cast Jimmy Urine of the New York City electropunk band Mindless Self Indulgence. Is he as enthusiastic about “Rock Me Amadeus” as the members of Front Line Assembly are? Is there any doubt? Maybe it’s the relentlessly oscillating bass line, maybe it’s the cheeky overtures to a long-dead master, maybe it’s the half-rapped, half-sneered verses in German, and maybe it’s just that Teutonic cool. Whatever it is, there’s no electronic musician – or fan of electronic music – who can resist “Amadeus.”