Photographers: Franz Schepers; Amelia G.
Remember that period around 1987 or so, when a new generation of electronic acts influenced by Throbbing Gristle, Test Department, and Einstürzende Neubauten added heavy electronic disco beats to their noisy aggression? Skinny Puppy, latter-day Cabaret Voltaire, and any number of bands on the Wax Trax label were the leaders of this second wave until Trent Reznor's Nine Inch Nails watered down the mix even further by adding palatable pop song hooks and were rewarded with superstardom. The first full-length by Combichrist (a solo side project by Icon of Coil's Andy LaPlegua) is a nostalgic look back at that period between "Sensoria" and "Head Like a Hole": Everybody Hates You is all distorted Roland 808-style beats, distorted megaphone- and/or computer-generated vocals, distorted synths, and distorted distortion. The rhythms are fairly irresistible to anyone who remembers this style fondly; the opening "This S*it Will Fcuk You Up" is particularly impressive. However, LaPlegua's supposedly transgressive lyrics are in the style that sounded like limp shock value for its own sake even two decades ago. The result is that songs like "Enjoy the Abuse" and "This Is My Rifle" just sound kind of goofy. Ignore the vocals and Everybody Hates You should appeal to a certain subset of aging club kids. ~ Stewart Mason