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combichrist noredemption
Artist: Combichrist
Title: No Redemption
Genre: Industrial Rock/ Metal
Release Date: 18th January 2013
Label: Out Of Line

Album Review

Spawned back in 2003, Norwegian noiseniks COMBICHRIST have straddled a number of genres, and possibly even defined one or two along the way. Always confrontational, lead man Andy LaPlegua has made a career out of upsetting just about everyone while caring very little. His seemingly endless need for reinvention has seen him form, or moonlight in, a dizzying array of bands and side projects including ICON OF COIL and PANZER AG. While his output is impressive, quality control has been suspect at times. Still, the man has to be admired for refusing to stay still, never mind lie down.

And so, ‘No Redemption’ is finally belched forth, with the by-line ‘Devil May Cry’ Official Soundtrack immediately ringing alarm bells. A hack and slash computer game, one suspects DMC is only ever going to have one kind of soundtrack. The sort beloved of pustule riddled teenage boys, hunched over consoles in gloomy bedrooms, hoping one day that prowess in the world of computer games will get them laid. Whose devotion to clearing each level is matched only by the deep seated necessity to shock the parents and say whatever through greasy fringes when confronted.

In that sense, ‘No Redemption’ is a definite success. It is almost entirely guitar driven, pummelling drums and screaming vocals occasionally giving way to less frantic episodes of angst. It starts mean and fast, and it ends exactly the same. With titles such as ‘Zombie Fistfight’ and ‘Gimme Deathrace’, it's at least not pretending to be anything cerebral. And as an EP, perhaps, it might have worked. The problem with this kind of release is it's clearly got to be seen to be fully appreciated, if appreciation is to be afforded anything so clearly lacking in any real imagination. If its context is in the fast and furious world of online gaming, then listening to it while, say, stroking the cat, is just not going to work.

Opening salvo ‘Age of Mutation’ sets the scene, a synthy doom-laden few seconds broken by the growl of LaPlegua before a barrage of guitars kicks in. It's fine. Riffy, atmospheric, and to the point, it's a good start. ‘Zombie Fistfight’ that follows, at times threatens to break into KILLING JOKE territory, albeit a KJ from twenty years ago when ‘Pandemonium’ seemed fresh and innovative. And with each new song here, there is the feeling that despite the good production, these have all been heard before. ‘Gimme Deathrace’ has a ploddy and tired riff, and when chanted female vocals of 'Gimme Some' are added it's hard to stifle a laugh and not think of THE SPENCER DAVIS GROUP. There are moments on ‘No Redemption’ where it would help if the feeling of this being somewhat tongue in cheek was plain to see, but it does sound at times like very serious rock people having a very serious old time of it all. Which is not good.

More recycled riffs on the title track, although it's short and punchy enough to be effective, but by now it really is all beginning to sound very much the same. Clearly COMBICHRIST are not going to shock everyone with a ballad at this point, but some variation breaks in the relentless dynamics here, or some experimentation would drastically improve this on the whole. Perhaps the band feel they have experimented enough in the past, and it's therefore their right to indulge in thirteen tracks that even after repeated plays, sound woefully similar. Wanting to ape SLIPKNOT, for example, just doesn't wash it in 2013. ‘Falling Apart’ at least has the decency to throw in the chance for game players to lift their heads briefly and chant the title in a mildly threatening way during the chorus. It's actually too brief, and would probably benefit from a couple more rabble-rousing singing opportunities, but it's gone, and onto the next level before you can say ‘Gotta Go’, by which point I'm weeping into my tea for something genuinely exciting to happen here.

Final song ‘Pull the Pin’ with its huge SABBATH opening riff briefly promises something, but as soon as the vocals kick in it's clear this album could be just played on a loop. The monotony of the guitar playing is only too infrequently interrupted, and vocally, the one note screaming is just tiresome after a while. Perhaps, DMC as game is hugely boosted by a soundtrack such as this, but as a purely listening experience it is hard work and stodgy, and perhaps best summed up by two of the song titles. ‘Buried Alive’, and you will perhaps wish you were, and ‘Empty’, which is what ultimately this vacuous noise represents.


01. Age Of Mutation
02. Zombie Fistfight
03. Feed The Fire
04. Gimme Deathrace
05. Clouds Of War
06. Buried Alive
07. Empty
08. I Know What I Am Doing
09. No Redemption
10. Falling Apart
11. Gotta Go
12. How Old Is Your Soul
13. Pull The Pin


Cover Picture

combichrist noredemption


Music: 4
Sound: 7
Total: 5.5 / 10

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