Andy LaPlegua – vocals
Joe Letz – drums
Eric 13 – guitar
Brent Ashley – bass
Nick Rossi – drums
We Are The Plague
My Life My Rules
Tired of Hating You
Don’t Care How You Feel About It
Pay to Play
Black Tar Dove pt 1
Black Tar Dove pt 2
Combichrist introduce us to their eighth studio album ‘This Is Where Death Begins’ which came out on 3rd June via Out of Line Music. Described as ‘An apocalyptic behemoth of guitars, electronica, infernal drums and dark elemental force’ and produced by Oumi Kapila (Filter) and Combichrist’s own AndyLaPlegua. The 15-track album also features guest vocals from Chris Motionless (Motionless in White) and Ariel Levitan (MXMS) and was mastered by Vlado Meller (Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Slipknot).
So what do I think upon hearing the opening track We Are The Plague? I can’t lie – Rammstein. That’s what comes to mind. Is that a bad thing? Well no it isn’t. The first few notes of synthesised notes lead you in and then BOOM those heavy, thudding chords and hard drums are awesome! It is a dark and deep song that fits so neatly to the genre of apocalyptic zombieness like The Walking Dead and The Strain (probably helped by lyrics as per the title ‘We are the plague to come – watch this place’. This track has me hooked and it’s only the first.
I know Combichrist and have liked their electronica style as well which is why the song, ‘Don’t Care How You Feel’ kind of confuses me. It sounds like an electronica/industrial remix of the track ‘Throat Full of Glass’ from their 2010 album, Making Monsters. It feels like it is a sped up version – the tone, rhythm sound so alike but at two different speeds. I did check – the lyrics aren’t the same. However I do feel guilty for thinking this way because I love both songs. I feel like I should be saying ‘oh no why have they given us the same song twice but I can’t – they are both awesome. Real industrial and dancey metal track. Love love love it – if you know the club Slimelights in London, you will understand.
‘Glitchteeth’ – I can only say three words – Nine Inch Nails. Actually I can say more – Combichrist can do this – they have earned their industrial stripes.
The next track is ‘Homeward Bound’. Weirdly sounds like I am listening to David Bowie singing Rammstein – very disconcerting. The first two thirds of the song bring you into the world of Brian Lumley”s Necroscope series (check them out – worth a visit to that vampyre world) or Underworld with its gloom-ridden, evil, lonely sound helped by the lyrics. Then – BANG – heavy drums, heavy guitars, power that washes over you. It totally appeals to my dark side.
‘Time Again’ is a song that I love with that guitar intro and the spooky synthesiser in the background and then the hard chords begin with that steady and deep drum beat going on. It sounds like a Rob Zombie horror movie score as well but fits in so neatly and firmly into the feel of the whole album.
Then we come to Black Tar Dove Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1? Erm not sure there are words to describe this except this is possibly what it sounds like in hell so ok I get that but Part 2? What can I say except his voice and speaking tone totally creeps me out whilst making me cringe all at the same time. I don’t understand? Why? When he is screaming then it’s great and makes sense but when he is speaking, I can see Andy LaPlegua in make-up looking like the Ringmaster of a victorian freak show. Maybe that’s why he is doing it? Feeds into the dark, apocalyptic, hellish feel to the whole album but I don’t think it needs it. The other songs feed that part of me exceptionally well so lets skip Part 2…
Oh and one last song to mention ‘My Life My Rules’. My favourite for good, old fashioned, stompie, metal with guitar solo, electronica, strong riffs, pounding song that I would play at top whack in a car on the way to a gig. Yeah its one to dance to as well – has to be done!
The whole album transports me to those dystopian vampire worlds from the movies – think Underworld and Queen of the Damned. It also sounds like the whole of Combichrist’s musical journey in one album which lead vocalist, Andy LaPlegua tells us on the album’s press release – ‘Every style of music that I have done through the last 25 years has some kind of presence on this album’. I have to agree with him totally on this but its not a bad thing. Its a very good one…
Review: Lucy Walker