On Combichrist's fourth and latest album, Today We Are All Demons, the band's mastermind, Andy LaPlegua, effectively ups the ante on the tried-and-true answering machine intro. It begins with a message from an unfortunate soul on his way to jail on a concealed-weapons charge. His girlfriend, meanwhile, is in the hospital after swallowing a bottle of pills. "Call my mom or sumthin'," continues the caller, who politely suggests that the person on the other end figure out a way to come up with bail money. While this bit could easily have veered into over-the-top shock territory, the calm in the caller's voice gives it a chilling hint of realism. Unfortunately any depth, insight, or even true drama that Combichrist could have achieved with tasteful restraint goes out the window right there -- before the band plays its first note.
But fans looking for a decadent combination of throbbing synths and
crunching guitars will love Combichrist precisely because LaPlegua is
as nasty as he wants to be. Lines like, I'm here to fuck shit up and I'm ready to go / I want to get wasted and you're my partner in crime
telegraph the band's intentions in no uncertain terms. And when an
Asian-accented woman chants "My grandmother gives good head" in an
eerie monotone, you know what you're in for. And that's Lords Of
Acid-level smut set to a relentless, brain-rattling electronic grooves.
Fans will know exactly what to do and how to dress, so bust out the
ripped fishnets and pagan dances!
Combichrist, with Black
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Light Burns, Wednesday, January 14. Respectable St. Cafe, 518 Clematis
St., West Palm Beach. Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $18 in
advance, $22 at the door. Ages 18+ with ID. 561-832-9999; www.respectablestreetcafe.com.
-- Saby Reyes-Kulkarni