"Combichrist" sounds like the title of a post-apocalyptic anime series, where Jesus is resurrected as a Terminator cyborg who shoots lasers from his eyes and death rays from his hands. But no ... it's just a Norwegian industrial band.
Formed as a more aggressive powernoise side project of Andy LaPlegua's Icon of Coil, Combichrist took off in 2003 as Icon's activity began to wane. LaPlegua was hailed by goth-industrial cognoscenti as representing the next wave of "aggrotech" or "techno body music," a natural progression from the EBM of the '80s and '90s, filtered through the techno era.
Wikipedia defines the genre as "harsh song structures, aggressive beats and lyrics of a militant, pessimistic or explicit nature ... vocals are distorted and pitch-shifted to sound hoarse, harsh and synthetic." And since that same entry quotes two City Paper articles I've written on industrial bands, I'll have to concur.
A few years ago, LaPlegua relocated to Atlanta, and these pale gentlemen (they perform live as a five-piece) have become one of the most popular club-level dark-alternative acts. The music video for "Sent to Destroy" from 2009's Today We Are All Demons is introduced by a Max Headroom-like figure who exhorts citizens to consume products and submit to authority, right before the pulsating, minor-key keyboard lines kick in. The band also appeared briefly in the B-movie The Gene Generation (featuring Faye Dunaway and Bai Ling) with their song "Get Your Body Beat."
Aesthetically, Combichrist is about as original as a Transformers remake, largely milking the same themes Front Line Assembly, Nitzer Ebb and Consolidated did 20 years ago. But it's new to the MySpace generation, and still relevant in this age of rogue states and multinational corporations. So don't be surprised if you see a lot of kids dressed in black, dancing like it's the end of the world.
Combichrist in-store appearance. 5 p.m. Fri., June 26. Eide's Entertainment, 1121 Penn Ave., Downtown. Free. 412-261-0900
Combichrist with Julien K, Aesthetic Perfection and Dismantled. 8 p.m. Fri., June 26. Mr. Small's Theatre, Millvale. $16 ($18 day of show). All ages. 412-821-4447 or www.mrsmalls.com