Andy LaPlegua is a man of many talents. He's tried his hand at everything from hip-hop to metal, from industrial to hardcore, from punk to trance. After forming the now highly successful Icon of Coil in 1997, LaPlegua has gone on to establish three side-projects, each equally successful in their own right. Among these is aggrotech group Combichrist, whose accomplishments include crashing their way into the Billboard Dance top five chart, impressive for a band of their ilk. The yin to Icon of Coil's yang, Combichrist make power-noise, heavy on distortion and even heavier on aggression - not a great surprise, with album titles like Everybody Hates You. Two years on from Everybody Hates You and LaPlegua is back with another cheerily titled full-length: What the Fuck is Wrong With You People?
'Listen, you fucking cunt' commands the intro, and listen you shall. It's difficult to do anything but. What the Fuck is Wrong With You People? is in your face from the word go. There's nothing melodious about what's on offer here. I imagine that if robots had raves - held in the still-churning bowels of rusting industrial factories - this is what they'd sound like. There's mechanical precision in every beat. "Adult Content" sounds like an automated production line: hammers striking, drill-bits whirring, pistons pumping, steam hissing. "Brain Bypass" is like experiencing the first 'waking' moments of a glitching android, with its bizarre stuttered sampling on the hyper-efficiency of robots and, confusingly, the destructive effects of cocaine. You just have to look at the track titles to see the man-machine connection. The lyrics follow accordingly, all primitive, violent and sexual - particularly on tracks like "Give Head if You got it".
"Deathbed" descends deeper into the depraved darkness, with some gothic synths and background screeches that sound - appropriately - like mechanized death rattles. "In the Pit" has a bit of a Pretty Hate Machine vibe, and like "Deathbed" uses LaPlegua's undistorted voice - which is sadly not quite as impressive or punchy as the stop-start chopped vocals on tracks like "Electrohead" and "Are You Connected".
Formed to sit at the opposite end of the electronic spectrum to Icon of Coil, it's to be expected that Combichrist shouldn't be so dance floor friendly. There are still moments of club-friendly excellence, however for every one of these tracks there's another that is neither potential club hit nor power-noise assault, stuck in some ungainly middle ground. In spite of this, things end on a high note with "All Your Bass Belong to Us", which sounds like something out of The Crystal Method's discography. Overall, minor grievances and a few dud tracks aside, What the Fuck is Wrong With You People? is a pretty decent album and would be an excellent addition to any electro/industrial record collection.
Similar Sounds: Panzer AG - This is My Battlefield, KMFDM - Nihil, Suicide Commando - Axis of Evil, Static-X - Wisconsin Death Trip.
6.9 / 10
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