"Making Monsters" (Album, 2010)
Out Of Line
With the Never Surrender single deftly assisting in lowering the indifference barrier a few weeks earlier, this fifth album from the electro-industrial scene’s increasingly big name does go someway to explaining (to the previously non-converted) why Combichrist in particular have managed to garner such attention, sales and live success (including an impressive support slot to Rammstein on their European tour).
I doubt if it has ever been suggested before, but in an odd way, this reminds me of when I first saw Radiohead live (another band that up until that moment I’d managed to remain neutral on). For, having immersed myself for the first time in a Combichrist album, I can see why they have such a broad appeal, crossover success and draw big crowds wherever they play live. Things get off to a very promising start with two-minute instrumental Declamation – all moody atmospherics, leveraging the most from minimum inputs. What follows across the next eleven tracks is a bit of a mixed bag – but in a good way – like Forrest Gump's proverbial box of chocolates - you've never quite know what's up next.
By any objective view (which is what I think I have here), there is a generally high standard of writing and quality of production. What remains comes down to personal taste and preference. For my tastes, for every jolting buzz triggered by, for example, the application of old school electronics used to deliver trance industrial modernism, there is the literally, almost laughable yelling swear words and growling histrionics. Thankfully though, it’s way more hits than misses. Check out the rhythmic, repetitive bass and beats of MonsterMurderKill or the atmospheric yet stomping They for a more representative example of what works best here. 8/10
Rob Dyer (December 2010)
"Never Surrender" (Limited Edition Single, 2010)
Out Of Line
Four track teaser for the latest Combichrist album sees Norwegian Andy LaPlegua and crew pulling in the services of a number of guest remixers that reflect the breadth of the current electro genre. So we have reworked versions courtesy of Terence Fixmer, IAMX and Melt. It’s a half decent track to begin with, lending itself well to interpretation and the results are varied and just might catch the attention of those hitherto impervious to the charms of Combichrist (myself included). 6/10
Rob Dyer (November 2010)