Fans of all iterations of aggro tech metallers Combichrist will surely find something to appease their blackened hearts within One Fire‘s diverse walls. And if you can’t then frankly, this isn’t the band for you anymore.
But I digress.
Personally, 2016’s This Is Where Death Begins was a little lacking. Sure, we got some great Combichrist mainstays like “My Life My Rules” and “Skullcrusher” among others but as a whole the record didn’t resonate. One Fire looks to change that with a collection of sonic excess that harnesses all that has made Combichrist shine throughout their almost twenty year career.
“Hate Like Me”, “Broken United”, and “Guns At Last Dawn” are intense rabble rousers in the vein of the Devil May Cry-inspired No Redemption but already those tracks show evolution. “Hate Like Me” is filled with Electro-infused goodness while “Guns…”, complemented by guest vocalist Burton Bell of Fear Factory, treads Thrash territory when not dipping its’ toes in Demanufacture-era excellence.
“Lobotomy”, though, is the one to really stand out as this beats-heavy Electro romp easily brings to mind synthetic delights from Making Monsters or Today We Are All Demons. “Bottle Of Pain” is like a Tom Waits stream of consciousness thinkpiece turning into a sweeping barroom sing-a-long with strings and acoustics later on while “2045” is a brutal metallic slab in the vein of any of Ministry’s ragers on Rio Grande Blood.
Really setting the album apart from other Combichrist releases, “Understand” is one of their most neat tracks yet (Yes, I said “neat”) as Andy LaPlegua emotes anti-discriminatory vitriol. Then a Dead Kennedys cover drops and the surprises keep coming in the form of one of the most strangely fitting covers of “California Uber Alles” ever.
Electro stomp “Last Days Under The Sun” is very much in the vein of earlier What The Fuck Is Wrong With You-era Combichrist until “The Other” drops and concludes the record with a brooding number that feels like it could pop up somewhere in Commando or The Terminator (Read: ’80’s synth soundtrack with Schwarzenegger as the star).