Into the Pit: 037: Combichrist – Live at Corporation Sheffield – 10-March 2007

For once Corp was open pretty much on-time, and even at 1915 or so, when we got there, it was already pretty busy – meaning that openers Northborne had a good crowd.



Corporation, Sheffield
10 March 2007

And they weren’t bad, either. They are yet another offshoot from the now apparently dormant Icon of Coil, being Christian Lund’s new project. Musically they are effectively an instrumental IoC, with perhaps harder beats. And otherwise, there isn’t a lot to it. There are certainly some great hooks – Baby Needs Coke is really, really strong in this respect – some good effects, but it quickly seeped into the background for long periods. Last track, though, was IoC’s Pursuit, which sounded really quite good dusted down for this – seeing as it never had much in the way of lyrics anyway, it couldn’t have been too hard to do. Overall, though, the unfamiliarity of much of their material (I’ve only heard a couple of tracks from compilations) meant that next time may well be much better.

Either way, they were certainly some way better than Reaper, who like at last year’s Infest appearance were weak in the extreme. Plodding industrial tracks with little in the way of originality, and truly terrible vocals over the top of it – once again the nadir being the tuneless butchering of Suicide Commando‘s masterful Cause of Death: Suicide that was so poor, and lacking in pace and energy that it was barely recognisable save the lyrics. I keep being told how great this band is – I’ve now seen them twice, and they were crap both times – quite what others are seeing/hearing is truly beyond me.

After not-too-long a wait (the venue were unusually prompt and on-the-ball for this gig – everything ran perfectly to time), it was time for Combichrist. The new album has been out a week, reception of it has been a little mixed to start with – although the same happened with Everybody Hates You and look at the monster that has become. Indeed, the set was EHY-heavy, and the biggest surprise was that the title track from the new album was not played (we have been predicting that as a fist-pumping dancefloor anthem since we first heard it, and it was proved as such later on when the club floor started!). Instead, it was straight into a double-whammy of Today I Woke To The Reign of Blood and This Is My Rifle – just the way to set the place on fire.

The band set-up was interesting – two live drummers, a keyboardist on a riser and then Andy on vocals. This made for a punishing sound – the beat-heavy setup sounding similar to Front 242‘s Re:boot Live 98 album, and while it perhaps drowned some more subtle effects out a little, it certainly made it really rather danceable – and let’s be honest, that’s what many were there for – it was nice to see an “industrial-EBM” act that was obviously live, in the main at least. It was also nice to see a crowd going completely batshit, too, rather than just standing there with arms folded, as happens all-too-often nowadays.

Combichrist setlist

Today I Woke To The Rain of Blood
This Is My Rifle
Intruder Alert
Without Emotion
Enjoy The Abuse
Give Head If You Got It
I’d Like To Thank My Buddies
Are You Connected
Blut Royale

Get Your Body Beat
Fuck That Shit
This Shit Will Fuck You Up

Of the (comparatively) old songs from the first album, only a muted Intruder Alert got a welcome airing, while newbie Electrohead still fails to convince. Enjoy The Abuse was a monster live, while Red from the new album saw things go almost metal (quiet verses, loud chorus). All it needs is sheets of guitars and a step is taken into Ministry territory.

Give Head If You Got It (cheekily dedicated to ‘all the feminists in the house‘ – Andy, you charmer!) is another destined for a place amongst the many Combichrist club-dancefloor staples, while Are You Connected was another that didn’t quite click. One that did, though, was a raging I’d Like To Thank My Buddies, while set closer Blut Royale was like spending a few rounds in the Boxing Ring with Combichrist (and, yes, was great).

Which left an encore – they certainly weren’t being allowed to leave without one, and we actually got two. Get Your Body Beat – somewhat maligned by some when it came out last summer – was fantastic, and nearly raised the roof off, while Fuck That Shit kept the momentum going. Final track of the night – predictably enough – was a pounding This Shit Will Fuck You Up, with most of the lyrics bouncing back off the walls thanks to the entire crowd singing them back at the band. And with that breathless finale, that was that.

For all the naysayers, Combichrist are undeniably an exciting proposition live – and are spreading their wings on record, too, with an increased variety of stuff on the new album. Industrial music to me has always been about a good beat to dance to – and with this Combichrist deliver in spades. Most of all, they are fun. The crowd was a mix of established goth/rivetheads from all over the place, as well as many people you may not normally see at an Industrial-EBM gig. The latter can only be a good thing – with another label in this genre closing this summer, and an increasingly closed mindset from many in the current scene, perhaps we need “new blood” to help propel this scene forward. And with gigs this good, this fun and more importantly this busy, there is a slither of hope at least for future development.

In addition, the move of SyN upstairs within Corp was a good plan – the whole place was heaving. A packed dancefloor to both new and old tracks, and many people I haven’t seen in ages. Nice to see you all!

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