Combichrist – No Redemption (DmC: Devil May Cry OST)

combichristMusic aside, the industrial “scene” so to speak is at once compelling and completely perplexing, for while there exists a healthy number of acts who have attained considerable success despite the often violent, machine-like and vastly uncommercial tendencies it possesses (Combichrist themselves are often described as “aggrotech”), it’s never had a movement per se. But perhaps this has worked to the genre’s advantage, for the bands that have managed to break the international walls have thankfully not spawned hordes of pretenders in their emergence, and furthermore they themselves have managed to form their own distinctive brand. When it comes to Combichrist, theirs is an aggressive, pulsing take more in the Ministry vein than the Rammstein vein, and with this in mind, providing the soundtrack to a game series so focused on vengeance and retribution as Devil May Cry makes a hefty amount of sense, and begs the question why such a thing has seldom been done before. Though not a bona fide Combichrist record, the 13 compositions that make up this release are more than worthy of your attention for the surprises that lie within if nothing else.

Opener ‘Age Of Mutation’ is a curveball in itself, taking a far more “standard” metal approach than they’ve attempted in the past with only the odd gothic synth passage alluding to the industrial metal they’ve built their career on. ‘Zombie Fistfight’ is similarly surprising, perhaps even perturbing, based on a snaky Southern metal riff that’s only identifiable as Combichrist thanks again to the electronic work texturing the background. Thankfully, ‘Feed The Fire’ finds the band in more familiar territory, with a groove that wouldn’t sound out of place on an early Marilyn Manson album and a suitably preachy spoken-word vocal performance from Andy LaPlegua in its verses. ‘Gimme Deathrace’ carries the spirit of the dearly missed Nine Inch Nails though slightly more accessible than Reznor would likely allow, while ‘Clouds Of War’ sounds like the soundtrack to an apocalyptic rave (though a little too reminiscent of that God awful scene in The Matrix Reloaded), but it’s at this point that everything starts to get a little repetitive and often dull, with ‘Buried Alive’ peddling the kind of riff-based industrial metal that Rammstein perfected well over a decade ago despite boasting an unnervingly catchy hook in its chorus and ‘Empty’ starting off initially strong with a bowel-rumbling riff punctuated by Joe Letz’ rolling drums but very quickly devolving into misplaced atmospherics that attempt to signify some kind of build-up but ultimately leave you a little frustrated. Frankly, the only element of the band’s sound that saves the last half of No Redemption is the aforementioned electronics and synths, which at least manage to inject the songs with some personality amongst the generic riffs utilise during most of the records final act (see the title track and ‘Gotta Go’ for evidence).

In simple terms, Combichrist take a route too often travelled on No Redemption, blowing their proverbial load too early to allow for ample satisfaction in what remains. It’s not that anything on No Redemption is bad, it’s just missing a crucial sense of inspiration and excitement. Furthermore, LaPlegua’s harsh vocal delivery is, though a defining characteristic of the band, often exhausting (though there is some melodic respite to be found on ‘How Old Is Your Soul?’) and makes fastening your attention down for the albums entirety quite the task. Have Combichrist lost some of their character along the way? That’s for you to decide. Let’s just hope that the difference in purpose for this album’s creation has simply forced them to view their songwriting from a different perspective.

Combichrist – No Redemption (DmC: Devil May Cry OST) is out now via Out Of Line


Track Listing:

1. Age Of Mutation

2. Zombie Fistfight

3. Feed The Fire

4. Gimme Deathrace

5. Clouds Of War

6. Buried Alive

7. Empty

8. I Know What I Am Doing (Planet Treason)

9. No Redemption

10. Falling Apart

11. Gotta Go

12. How Old Is Your Soul?

13. Pull The Pin


Band links:

About Del Preston

So there I am, in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, at about 3 o'clock in the morning, looking for one thousand brown M&Ms to fill a brandy glass, or Ozzy wouldn't go on stage that night. So, Jeff Beck pops his head 'round the door, and mentions there's a little sweet shop on the edge of town. So - we go. And - it's closed. So there's me and Keith Moon and David Crosby, breaking into that little sweet shop, eh. Well, instead of a guard dog, they've got this bloody great big Bengal tiger. I managed to take out the tiger with a can of mace, but the shop owner and his son, that's a different story altogether. I had to beat them to death with their own shoes. Nasty business really. But sure enough, I got the M&Ms and Ozzy went on stage and did a great show.
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