“This Is Where Death Begins”

By Dr. Abner Mality

The industrial metal boom of the late 90’s never ended for Combichrist.  For these guys, Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails still rule the charts and bands like Gravity Kills are hot stuff. With their latest album, this long-running Norwegian/American collective give a stiff middle finger to all who have buried the industrial metal genre.

That makes them both oddly admirable and stubbornly goofy at the same time. “This Is Where Death Begins” is a defiant shout out to the late 90’s clink-and-clank metallers…it hits every single trope of the style without fail. Now I have a guilty fondness myself for this kind of music, so a lot of it trips my trigger. The vocals range from the quavery, breathy Trent Reznor stuff to clear angry shouts to slinky Manson-like tones. The hooks are simple and extremely catchy and often quite heavy. Lyrics are full of juvenile profanity and angst. The synths and programmed thundering beats give a danceable edge to the tunes as well.

Naturally I like the heavier, more guitar-oriented stuff like “We Are The Plague” (an industrial anthem if I ever heard one), “Time Again” and “Slakt”. Some of the more synthy tunes like “Glitchteeth” and “Tired of Hating You” are so much like early NIN that it makes you uncomfortable. The album ends with a glacial, boring ballad “Homeward” that does nothing for me.

It’s all very well worn material with 0 surprises for devotees of this style. But the execution is faultless and a catchy song is a catchy song. Combichrist has enough of those for sure. Highly recommended to those pining for the days when Marilyn Manson really seemed to be a threat.