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Combichrist - "This is Where Death Begins" (CD)

Combichrist - "This is Where Death Begins" CD cover image

"This is Where Death Begins" track listing:

1. We Are the Plague
2. My Life My Rules
3. Glitchteeth
4. Exit Eternity (feat. Ariel Levitan)
5. Skullcrusher
6. Time Again
7. Destroy Everything
8. Tired of Hating You
9. Don't Care How You Feel About It
10. Blackened Heart
11. Pay to Play (feat. Chris Motionless)
12. Slakt
13. Black Tar Dove Pt. 1
14. Black Tar Dove Pt. 2
15. Homeward (feat. Ariel Levitan)

Reviewed by on July 11, 2016

"Goth girls will form silhouettes of swaying capes on the dance floor while their boyfriends bang their heads and scream “destroy fucking everything” at the band."

Combichrist’s mix of hard electro beats, synth, memorable refrains and fiery guitar tones has resulted in the group being hailed as one of the best industrial bands to come out in the last two decades. This growing fan base culminated when Rammstein took Combichrist out on the road on a stadium tour. Although they probably didn’t present Rammstein’s awesome stage spectacle, their music is strong enough that I’m sure they gave the German group a run for their money. “This is Where Death Begins,” the group’s seventh full-length album in thirteen years, shows the Norwegian-American project continue to grow and mature.

“This is Where Death Begins” is an album of dark ambiance. “Homeward” for instance includes the lines “the dark will always win.” The track is somewhat the unofficial title song, containing the lyrics “this is where death begins,” but this is where the album ends. After a long, downward spiral, it’s as if the band goes full circle. “Exit To Eternity” shares a similar sentiment with founder/singer Andy LaPlegua pondering the path we take after this reality ends. Beginning with a cannon-like drum beat paired with a pulsing, softer beat the chorus-line vocals ping back and forth like a demonic pinball bouncing around in your cortex. A touch of synth adds a divine element.

After the terrifying experimentation of “Black Tar pt. 1,” the group pounds out its hardest hitting drums on “Black Tar pt. 2.” Screamed vocals that could easily lead a black metal group, the stomping cadence of the drums (courtesy of two drummers) and bass result in one hellish nightmare of a track. “Don’t Care How You Feel About It” then showcases more superb drums parts as the song winds down in a tangled web of tumbling drums and careening guitar feedback.

“My Life My Rules” and “Blackened Heart” include catchy guitar segments that hark back to industrial giants KMFDM and Ministry. “Skullcrusher,” a track the band used for a video, has a Marilyn Manson-type feel to the vocals and rocking guitar licks. The vocal refrain on this track “You son of a bitch, you must be kidding…get out of my way” along with tracks such as “Destroy Everything” prove LaPlegua knows how to write memorable songs that will conjure the anger of his listeners.

With “This Is Where Death Begins,” Combichrist created another electro-metallic masterpiece. Goth girls will form silhouettes of swaying capes on the dance floor while their boyfriends bang their heads and scream “destroy fucking everything” at the band. The synth pop crowd may find it too intimidating and harsh at times, but for those who get it and feel it, expect it to stay in your player for quite a while.

Highs: The album is solid in most regards including guitars, beats, samples and attitude.

Lows: Some of the experimentation results in pause points that negates some of the band’s intense energy.

Bottom line: "This Is Where Death Begins" should appeal to industrials and metal heads alike.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)