Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Combichrist : No Redemption
Well it's too weird for me to resist reviewing Combichrist doing the soundtrack to a video game. I don't play video games, except for the Avengers game of Face book, but that's not a life sucking vortex which some games turn into. Their last album "Making Monsters" didn't survive in my iPod very long, so perhaps "No Redemption" will have more redeeming qualities. Its taken a few lists to grow on me and I have had to keep in mind this is just music to shoot things to so maybe they dummies down for it. This is the highest profile release for the band if you take into consideration that video games outsell much bigger bands like Mastodon and Megadeth. For any industrial music of any ilk to get this spotlight in 2013 is a big deal because as a whole the genre slipped out of mainstream popularity back in the days of MySpace.
When "Age of Mutation" kicks in I'm reminded of Fear Factory, predominantly in the keyboard. The breakdowns in the song stray from this and I think they are strongest the more they experiment. " Zombie Fistfight" is more straight forwar "Jeus Built My Hotrod" type of thing, which for fist fighting zombies works well enough, more rock n roll in feel than expected from these guys.
"Feed the Fire" is the first song that made me look who from what I was doing. The variance in the vocal performance is an improvement from the first two songs. The hook in the chorus is subtle but caught my ear so check...job done. I think more metallic elements handled more tastefully also give their sound more space and it feels bigger.
"Gimme Deathrace" is back to more straight rock feel, for some reason I thought of My Life With the Thrill Kult when I first heard this, though devoid of disco elements. This is the sort of thing Rob Zombie once did well, so they are carrying the torch well and is a much more commercial step for these guys and even though it's a video game soundtrack it's accessible with out selling out. I like the female vocal refrain and of the more rock n roll sounding songs I have heard thus far this on is my favorite.
"Clouds of war" takes a more Edm turn, this has always been an element of their sound but sounds more focused here. A lot of cool synth sounds so far on the record and truth be told while I'm a fan of Industrial of the more commercial sounding groove oriented stuff and not say Author and Punisher, Pysclon 9 is the only other band of this ilk i like, not today its not something I actively search for on spotify, but tend to return to Front Line Assembly, Leather Strip and Front 242... I've been on a Young Gods kick lately but they aren't remote relations. Any way i like the kick of the synths here. They return to the more rock n roll sound on "Burial Alive" , I guess it's Andy's love of Turbonegro catching up to them.
The more metallic moment we first heard on the first song return on " I Know What I'm Doing" . The brief punkish vocals thrown in help to keep it varied as his normal scream is more one dimensional. Granted when it comes to screaming the bar is set pretty high since I normally listen to black metal. The guitar chug sits more comfortably here, though at times it begins to feel a little stiff in place, though compared to Kmfdm who keeps it pretty rigid as well to give a more militant feel, then im ok with it. They continue the thought process on " Falling apart" which goes more into hardcore feel, though the gallop guitars keep the devil horns over the militant pointing. Theres not a lot of this late nineties type hardcore coming into my radar so this song helps me recall those days, but if you are reading this and wearing an Agnostic Front shirt then I'll put it this way, it's at least closer to Hardcore than some of the more strip club metal moments.
By the time " Gotta do " pops up, I'm resolved to the fact I'll keep this one on my iPod a bit longer and delete the Hansel and Gretyl. It really doesn't pull anything out of left field , Ministry flavored hot rod metal with synth underlay. "How Old is Your Soul" get back to the more electronic feel though still heavy handed on the syncopate rock riffs. The chorus flows more smoothly than most of the albums more rock moments and the vocals are a big improvement.
"Pull the pin" is one of the albums strongest songs. The electronic elements are more balanced with the metal than in some of the earlier attempts at this. It more than likely resonates with me more because it is darker in tone.
Going into to this I thought well they aren't going into this thinking lets out our most killer shit on this video game soundtrack, and I am not wrong but they did put more effort into this than I expected if you are already a fan and have gotten over the fact there are strong rock elements which sometimes over power the electronic band you once knew I think you would enjoy this and even when I think of the more rock side it would be good background for a car chase, so job well done on that front. Take away the explosions and zombie fights and you have a more modern take on the commerical industrial rock sound from the nineties mixed with a little Nu metal jean lowered swagger and hard core dynamics being pised on by Turbonegro. It continues to grow on me and is a pretty good soundtrack for the gym. The vocals become monotonous and varying them up even through the use of effects would have brought the overall album up a notch, it's the only area I find any fault overall I think the band was successful in the type of thing they were trying to accomplish music to kill things too not an experimental skinny puppy sort of album. So for what it is I'll give this an 7.5 as it is picks up a genre that has fallen out of favor and shakes some life into it.