Review Summary: Dark, unrelenting and fun at the same time.
Industrial is a sketchy genre because so many of its bands seem to lack any creativity what-so-ever. Instead they rely on the technology around them and an abundance of vocal distortion to get by and it makes for a large amount of really bad albums. Thankfully, the upcoming release by Combichrist is not among that large amount of crap. “Today We Are All Demons” is electro-industrial done right. Every song is an example of how good this genre can be when it is done by someone with just as much songwriting skill as technology knowledge.
The opening track, “No Afterparty” is an aptly titled introduction that consists of an answering machine message from a guy on his way to jail for a concealed weapons charge. Furthermore, his girlfriend can’t bail him out because she’s in the hospital after trying to kill herself with sleeping pills. That bleak, but slightly amusing, introduction sets the stage for the type of dark humor that runs though a lot of the songs and is also the last break you’ll get until the album ends. The following track, “All Pain is Gone”, is where this ‘extreme electronic dance’ album really gets going. It takes a driving beat and pushes it straight through a layer of low, pulsating synth to create the foundation that carries the song. Over this foundation is another layer of squealing synth, bursts of keyboard melody and the gravel-throated vocals of Andy LaPlegua. This combination works perfectly and not only can it get your body moving, but it can also stay in your head as the last synth sound fizzles out.
The energy and quality level set by “All Pain is Gone” never falters and makes it hard to pick out any standout tracks, but there are a few that impacted me just a little more than others. The main one is also the album’s instrumental, “Spit”. “Spit” takes a solid TBM beat and looped synths and simply shoves them down your throat for just over four minutes. The music by itself would be good enough to be called one of the better songs on this album, but it’s the amusing samples that take it up a notch. It begins with a sound bite of an obviously irritated woman saying “I hate whore moms who dress all slutty and embarrass their children. I remember how it was when I was a kid and my mom would dress like a whore and embarrass me. Don’t they have any respect? Stupid Cunt”. After those words of wisdom the unrelenting beat comes through along with a constant barrage of samples including “***ing whore mom” and “stupid cunt”. It might seem immature or stupid, but the level of irritation in the girl’s voice along with the musical delivery simply makes it perfect.
While other songs on the album aren’t as instant or unabashedly crass, they are still just as good. There’s the hook-laden “Kickstart the Fight” full of solid beats, fun lyrics and samples. This song features Andy and a female vocalist sharing such lines as “We’re here to drink, fight , F**K and we’re ready to go” over a background of deep synth and a pounding beat. Later in the album is the violent “Sent to Destroy” that takes the rolling synth sound to a new level and also features some of the more aggressive vocals from Andy. It would be easy to go through each song individually and highlight the finer points of each song, but suffice it to say that there are finer points to every song and nothing is “throw-away”.
The way that Andy is able to take all of those harsh electronic elements and still make each song so catchy is a testament to his song writing ability. It’s damn near impossible to listen to this album and not have your body start moving with the music while smiling at the myriad of samples and dark humor. If you’re into any kind of electronic music with an edge, then you should seek this out because it might just end up being the best electro-industrial album for at least the near-future and possibly even the year (we can always hope that Skinny Puppy
steps up, though).