Smash Hit Combo



by DatsNotDaMetulz USER (62 Reviews)
March 4th, 2022 | 3 replies

Release Date: 2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Video game obsessed nu metallers get some DLC added to their tried and tested sound.

When it comes to French nu-metallers Smash Hit Combo, you’re always in for a good time. Previous effort L33T cemented their video game-influenced style and helped further propel their status in native France, with versions in both English and French meaning there was something for both domestic and international fans to enjoy. On their latest Reboot EP, they’ve returned to their mother tongue, but have shown plenty of progression that shows they don’t need to change language for their appeal to be felt.

Opening track “Peine perdue” kicks off in classic Smash Hit Combo style, with rapid fire rapping from Paul Henry over djenty riffs and a neat injection of thrash influence. However, something new that hasn’t been such a prominent feature before has been the addition of clean vocals from Canda based compatriot Florent Curatola, drafted in for this EP, during the chorus. Curatola’s singing adds a whole new dimension to Smash Hit Combo and allows them to pursue much more melodic directions, which peak on middle track “Mirage”, that they may not have been able to attempt on previous outings.

Of course, Smash Hit Combo are always at their best when they go heavy, such as on “Contre courant” and the intense “Post dépression”. Guitarists Baptiste Ory and Charly Wick know how to combine their djent, metalcore and nu metal influences in a way that allows them to switch between melodic, groovy and punishing almost seamlessly, and “Post dépression” is a great example of how the more melodic oriented Smash Hit Combo can still deliver juggernaut breakdowns that feel anything but forced. The French language provides a flow that gives Paul’s rapping a unique appeal to non-Francophone listeners, and it’s something I always felt lacked when they went for English versions of their songs in the past. The almost percussive nature that comes from his machine gun lyrics mean that you don’t necessarily have to understand the language to enjoy his performance, and the juxtaposition against Forent’s singing and screaming provide a slightly different approach to the rap metal/djent hybrid popularised in the anglosphere by Hacktivist that feels a bit more natural and free-flowing.

Of course, there will always be detractors to this genre of music. Those who have always felt that rap and metal don’t belong together will obviously not find anything for them in here, while some older fans might not appreciate the more melodic turn they’ve taken on Reboot with the prominent use of clean singing. Florent’s singing style, much more influenced by metalcore and post-hardcore, might also be an acquired taste for some, with his higher singing voice coming in sharp contrast to the guttural harsh vocals and something not heard as much in more old school nu metal. It’s a problem that also faced Spencer Sotelo in the early days of Periphery, so it’s not unusual for fans to be turned off by this singing style, but after repeat listens you realise that it’s a perfect fit for what the band was hoping to achieve on Reboot.

Overall, Smash Hit Combo have shown that their tried and tested formula still has a few twists and turns left in it. Having first formed in 2004, they’ve seen movements come and go, from nu metal to djent via metalcore, and have always looked to incorporate elements of these new scenes into their established style, and this has allowed them to stay fresh sounding on every subsequent release. Reboot continues this evolution and, after a 4 year wait between this EP and their last album L33T, one hopes that one doesn’t have to wait too much longer for their next release.


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Comments:Add a Comment 
March 4th 2022


Album Rating: 3.5

Been a bit unhappy with the standard of my writing lately so figured I'd try re-posting some recent stuff here in the hopes of getting some useful feedback.

March 4th 2022


I feel like these guys stole my av as an album cover lol.

Good to see you reviewing again bud, and if you like this then I'm inclined to give it a shot. Three reviews on one day is a bit of a rookie move though lmao.

March 5th 2022


Album Rating: 3.5

Well I have a list on my profile where I link stuff I write as I do them (includes stuff I do for Rock Sins):

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