There are very few bands that seem to fly under the radar but yet are insanely popular. Combichrist is one such band. Mention the band name Combichrist to a self-proclaimed music buff, and you may or may not get acknowledgment that the person has heard of the band. Now, play a song by Combichrist to the same person, and that person will respond favorably, most likely saying something like “I fucking love this band!” Honestly, how can you not love a band that is absolutely fearless when it comes to penning lyrics. Frankly, Andy LaPlegua, the band’s founder and songwriting mastermind, is my spirit animal. Throughout his career, LaPlegua has always expressed exactly what he is thinking using his full throttle in your face style of Industrial Metal. Their new album, One Fire, (Out Of Line Music) continues the no holds barred, face melting journey fans have come to expect from this band.
From the very first note, I listened to off of One Fire, I was acutely aware that I was hearing the music of catharsis. That feeling only intensified as the third track, ‘Broken United’ unfurled through my headphones and I felt as though LaPlegua was singing just to me. Amid the pulsating backdrop, and gritty vocals, the presence of social consciousness. Pay attention to the breakdown at about 2 minutes and 40 seconds into the song, and you will experience what I mean. Track four, ‘Guns At Last Dawn’ opens rather tame. I warn you to baton your hatches because the minute the chorus hits, you will be gifted with a full-on eargasm. This track is filled with just the right amount of urgency and aggression, plus the furious tempo gets your blood pumping.
I want to jump to track six, which is the title track. This track is robust and all-encompassing. Very reminiscent of the best of the best ’90’s Industrial music This track also sheds more light on how uber versatile Andy LaPlegua’s songwriting can be. ‘Bottle of pain’ slowly reels the listener into the very apex and misery and despair. The ominous sounds the song opens with, bleed into a tragically beautifully diverse backdrop for the devastation and loss the vocals convey. Seriously, when LaPlegua’s voice cracks with remorse and introspection it cuts right through the listener’s soul. One other thing that made me fall in love with this track, was the use of the washboard paired with electronic almost futuristic sounds. I also really dug the fact that the pick-clicking of the acoustic guitar strumming was left in and heard distinctly and to me, made the song even more poignant.
Let’s jump to track nine and track ten, ‘Interlude’ and ‘Understand’. The former track does just that, only about a minute long but good golly miss molly each second of that time is filled with attention-grabbing realness. The lyrics are spoken in a low almost guttural tone that ever so slightly hang above finger picked melodic minor guitar line. I can honestly say that I was pretty much knocked on my fanny perpendicular by the drastic change of sound between the two tracks. Not even kidding, the composition of two tracks are not further apart on the musical spectrum. Track nine’s overall feel is reflection and contemplation while track ten is well frankly, if aggression and contempt had theme songs, it would be ‘Understood’. A pulsating beat spiked with an ingenious synthesizer line grabs the pleasure receptors and is relentless until the last note of this track dissipates. Gravely vocals and surprisingly profound lyrics like “Today is not the right day to fall apart, pick up the pieces, walk out of the dark” make this song Techno-Industrial music lovers wet dream, plain and simple.
I generally do not do this when doing album reviews, but I am gonna throw this out there, this album is 100% Skullgurl approved. As in, when people ask me if I have heard any really good new music, One Fire will be the first album I mention. Full disclosure, I think I have shared the video for ‘Understand’ to about a gazillion music lovers already. So, what are you waiting for, get this album into your life immediately!
8 / 10