Combichrist is well known as an industrial, EBM (Elektro Body Music), TBM (Techno Body Music) and AggroTech formation. When their first record The Joy of Gunz hit the shelves the blew people away with their aggressive and raw form of electro music. The band from the States is led by Norwegian Andy LaPlegua and features the same kind of harsh vocals you’d expect in metal. In later records they cleaned their music up a bit and became less raw, but definitely not less aggressive. Classics like Blut Royale and This Shit Will Fuck You Up were soon born and conquered the dance floors of many (gothic) electro parties. If you get to see them live you’d be demolished by their seemingly endless energy. I remember one of the drummers hitting his shit so hard that a roadie had to sprint on stage every 5 or 10 minutes to put a piece of his drum kit on its place again. And yes, they actually get most of their music and beats from playing their instruments.
With No Redemption they picked up some guitars and showcased that they can play quite a nice piece of industrial metal as well. And it’s in this latter style that their new album This Is Where Death Begins finds a spot. Overall they don’t really bring anything new, but they manage to capture some of their energy and rawness and combine it with the highly catchiness of their electro songs from older albums. Most songs you don’t have to hear twice to be able to sing and shout along. Openers We Are The Plague and My life My Rules are great examples of this: nice groovy and going songs that’ll easily force themselves in your brains.
In Glitchteeth Combichrist goes a bit in the direction that Nine Inch Nails already went in the past. It feels nasty, has a more clear industrial and electronic touch to it and an overall weirdness to it. And that’s a style or feeling that comes back in several songs on this record, which I think a lot of people definitely will dig. Some songs that are really strong in this are Time Again, Tired Of Hating You and Black Tar Dove pt 1 & 2.
NIN isn’t the only big name in industrial metal that clearly inspired the music on this release. In one of my favorites of the album, Skullcrusher, I can easily find elements back from Rob Zombie and the old more aggressive Marilyn Manson. The song starts with a really great groovy riff and just immediately brings back the good old days of when this kind of music was at its peek. Combined with the clearly angry lyrics it just puts down that picture perfect in this subgenre of metal. Personally it’s a trend that I really like here. Closer to the end of the song there’s a moment that Andy sounds very much like a Till Lindeman (Rammstein) with better English, which is just great as the bridge. Other songs in the same style are Blackened Heart and Pay To Play.
One other industrial greatness I picked up in their songs is Ministry. Destroy Everything and Slakt are 2 of the heaviest songs on the record. And especially Slakt reminded me of a Psalm 69 era Ministry with all the samples and fast paced all-obliterating guitar riffs. The fact that this song is done in Norwegian only makes it sound that more special and awesome.
Even though I sometimes miss the old Combichrist a little bit, this release really kicks ass! There’s nothing new, but everything they do, is executed to perfection. They’re definitely a great addition to industrial metal. This Is Where Death Begins really feels like a new beginning for this outfit, if they continue in this direction I’ll become an even bigger fan than before! 8,5/10
Release date: June 3rd, 2016
Label: Out Of Line Music
1. We Are The Plague
2. My Life My Rules
4. Exit Eternity (ft. Ariel Levitan)
6. Time Again
7. Destroy Everything
8. Tired Of Hating You
9. Don’t Care How You Feel About It
10. Blackened Heart
11. Pay To Play (ft. Chris Motionless from Motionless In White)
13. Black Tar Dove pt. 1
14. Black Tar Dove pt. 2
15. Homeward (ft. Ariel Levitan)
Those who miss the more electronic music of the old Combichrist should consider getting the deluxe 2 CD version with the bonus disc History Of Madness: Old School And Rarities Live At Complex, LA. Which is a fine selection of the group’s early Industrial classics. There’s also a strictly limited fan set containing the double-CD plus the complete recording of Combichrist‘s energetic live show at Summer Breeze Festival 2015 on CD and DVD (their first ever official live release) as an exclusive bonus.