Combomatix 'Combomatix' – album review

Combomatix ‘Combomatix’ (Frantic City)
Vinyl LP

Combomatix hail from the northern French city of Rennes; Rennes is an industrial city, the home to Citroen cars whose factory dominates the skyline; I’m pretty sure Citroen are keen to boast about their green credentials ”“ no pollutants stemming from their factory etc…So how do you explain Combomatix? The artwork shows two straight ”ËœA’ college kids with no indication or explanation for the maelstrom of noise they create…and Combomatix sure know how to kick up a hell storm.

This their self titled debut album rages like an adrenaline fuelled conflagration;

They previously put out a split 7″ with Brussels’ own White Fangs back in 2011, for this eponymous release they relocated to a studio in Toulouse though the ambience of the picturesque location has done little to quell the Combomatix fury.

This is raw, its visceral, as opener ”ËœDead Bad/She Hurts Me With No Pain’ unfolds kicking and screaming like an awakening beast; you can literally hear the limits that Combomatix took the studio to as they tried to tether their mutant garage sound.

We are on the very limits, way past 11, you can practically taste the distortion and only imagine the engineer as he feared his desk would be overwhelmed, the lead vocal during ”ËœDown By The River’ sounds like its hollered by the local drunk who clearly hung round the studio long enough to scream ”ËœI Got A Gun’ over a franticly uptight riff; perhaps a touch of psychadelia crept up on the lead guitar as ”ËœStraight Eye’ opens before being repelled by those blistering vocals – that said this is a fully formed cohesive album, is full of aggression not anger as displayed during ‘Waste Her’ the track builds around a neat hook before tumbling drums collapse around as they battle with the vocals.

The most predominant aspect of the album are the vocals (all sung in English), raspy, impassioned, pushed to the fore battling with distortion drenched guitars, definitely no over-dubs, no computers, real drums being punished, the music drawing from the earliest blues, stealing from rock’n’roll with scatter gun vocals reaping havoc.

This is dirty dangerous rock’n’roll, real primitive drumming, super trash guitar licks, frantic throat ripping vocals ”“ a glorious torched earth splattered noise!

The album is only available on vinyl and is limited to 500 copies including 100 pressed on clear yellow wax!

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Phil Newall is from The Wirral - he earns his living not writing about music nor playing music...though sorely wishes he could. He was fortunate enough to see many of the first generation punk bands when they played the U18's matinee shows at Eric's, Liverpool. As an attendee at Eric's he was exposed to punk rock, dub reggae, art rock, and all manner of weirdness; as a customer at Probe Records he was variously served and scowled at by Pete Wylie and Pete Burns - he has written for Record Collector, Whisperin & Hollerin, and Spiral Scratch and wanted to write a book detailing the Liverpool punk scene; however with 'Head-On' Julian Cope beat him to it...and frankly did a much better job.

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