CombiChrist – the main solo project of Icon Of Coil singer Andy LaPlegua – is the newest darling of the EBM scene, and with good reason. LaPlegua’s blend of minimal EBM, techno, and humorously violent lyrics have made such tracks as “This Is My Rifle” and “This Shit Will Fuck You Up” – complete with misogynistic “Speak ‘n’ Spell” effects – recognizable club hits and live favorites well before this album was even released. The other material on this album, then, is not entirely a surprise. “Enjoy the Abuse” and “Feed Your Anger” are classic minimal EBM tracks full of LaPlegua’s rage, while the snotty mechanical side comes out on the crunchy power noise of “God Bless,” with its litany of serial killers read by a Norwegian-accented computer, and “Happy Fucking Birthday,” a more acid-influenced track with an unexpectedly catchy computerized refrain of “Birthday boy, birthday girl/CombiChrist, evil nice.” Plenty of stuff for fans of EBM and profanity, but it’s the second disk that makes it worthwhile for CombiChrist fans to hunt down this import version instead of the domestic release on Metropolis. Disk II is much less consistent, but it also shows off LaPlegua’s more experimental side. Where every single track on the first disk was a potential club hit, “Red Signal” is the only song on the second disk that’s really even danceable at all, and it’s a minimal acid house track that would seem more at home in an early ‘90s London warehouse rave than an EBM club. “Wreckage” and “Rubber Toy” hint at dub influences, while “The Undertaker” is slow, instrumental electro in the vein of Skinny Puppy’s more avant-garde material. The second half of the disk is almost pure ambient, with creepy industrial effects and horror film pianos lacing their way through “Below” and melancholy strings and synthesized bagpipes that evoke haunting, war-torn landscapes on “The Corpse Under My Bed.” It’s definitely a different side to CombiChrist, and while you’re probably never going to hear the pleasantly murmuring drones of “Beneath Every Depth” on the dance floor, it’s nice to know that this project is more than just a one-trick pony. Folks are already calling this the EBM release of the year – no small feat with VNV Nation putting out a new album – and after listening to it it’s easy to see why.
Check out Andy LaPlegua at www.combichrist.com to enlist in the CombiChrist Army!
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