Combichrist is an American aggrotech band formed in 2003 by Norwegian Andy LaPlegua, who also founded the bands Icon of Coil, Panzer AG, Scandinavian Cock and Scandy. Combichrist is based in Atlanta, Georgia. The band consist of only LaPlegua in the studio with Joe Letz, Eric13, Brent Ashley, and Nick Rossi for live performances. Releases by the band have been very successful in terms of sales and charted in top positions for dance and alternative charts worldwide.
Formation and early years
The first material that LaPlegua wrote for the project was a powernoise/techno crossover track Thanx to my Buddies under the moniker D.r.i.v.E for the Advanced Electronics Vol. 2 compilation. The song was later remade into Like to Thank My Buddies on Combichrist's album Everybody Hates You. The project's name was later changed to Hudlager and then finally to Combichrist before the debut album The Joy of Gunz was released on the German record label Out of Line. The band name came from a fanzine of LaPlegua's in the 1990s, with Combichrist being a character in it that was a "punk-rock messiah." The character would go on drug and alcohol fueled rampages, later healing those whom he had beaten. A few years after the band's conception, LaPlegua departed Norway for the United States, which is now the current home-base for Combichrist and his other projects Scandy, Panzer AG, and Scandinavian Cock.
The Joy of Gunz (2003-2005)
Combichrist's first LP The Joy of Gunz was released in 2003. Sporting a fresh, original and aggressive new sound that felt like the sonic equivalent to an energy surge, the brainchild of Andy LaPlegua naturally took the crowds by storm. On Halloween of the same year, the limited edition EP Kiss The Blade was released with 667 pressings which sold out in less than a week. In 2004, the second EP, Sex, Drogen Und Industrial, spent several weeks at number one in the DAC charts. At the same time that Sex, Drogen Und Industrial was released, a limited edition of 666 white-vinyl 12" pressings for Blut Royale were produced, and sold out quickly.
Everybody Hates You (2005-2006)
The year 2005 saw the release of Everybody Hates You and it was at this time that LaPlegua began labeling the music as "Techno Body Music" or TBM. The band released a song called "This is TBM" on the Out-of-Line compilation Techno Body Music volume 1. They played this song live during their 2005 shows, adding vocals to it. No vocal version of the instrumental track was ever released, and the lyrics were instead later reworked for the track "Electrohead." After this release, LaPlegua stopped referring to their music as TBM. Shortly after the release of the album, Army On The Dance Floor producer Kourtney Klein was added as alternating keyboardist and drummer to the band. The full-length album featured two tracks that became club classics “This Shit Will Fuck You Up” and “This Is My Rifle”and it was also the project’s U.S. debut on Metropolis Records. Further benchmarks were set with the release of the 2006 EP "Get Your Body Beat" the title track of which landed Combichrist its first appearance on Billboard’s Top 10 Dance Singles chart. The music video for the single was included on the DVD release of the biopunk film The Gene Generation with the song also being used in the movie. The band embarked on a North American tour with KMFDM soon after the release of the single.
What the Fuck is Wrong With You People? (2007-2009)
On March 6, 2007, What the Fuck is Wrong With You People? was released to some critical praise and popularity. The album featured 2006’s break out single, “Get Your Body Beat,” it had an explosive barrage of corrosive beats, leering vocals, and acidic melodies. WTFIWWYP? was a high energy, adrenaline charged piece of sonic battery.
Today We Are All Demons (2009-2010)
Pull Out Kings producer and songwriter Z Marr joined the band as keyboardist in January 2008 to begin work on the album Today We Are All Demons. According to an exchange with a fan, Trevor Friedrich of Imperative Reaction and formerly of Eighteen Visions, he was asked to join the band as a drummer with Joe Letz (of Wednesday 13) in October 2008. He replaced keyboardist Kourtney Klein, who began full-time work with Nitzer Ebb.
Combichrist released Today We Are All Demons on Jan 20, 2009. Combichrist immediately went on a highly successful North American tour with Black Light Burns (featuring Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit) and an extensive European tour with Rammstein. For part the European tour that year, Trevor was temporarily replaced by Mark Jackson of VNV Nation. Combichrist's song "Shut Up and Bleed" featuring W.A.S.T.E was put on the soundtrack for the horror movie The Collector. Their song "Today We Are All Demons" (Beneath the World Mix) was put on the soundtrack for the movie Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.
Making Monsters (2010-2014)
Combichrist's latest album, Making Monsters, was released digitally on 31 August 2010 and on CD on 28 September 2010. Combichrist began a tour in support of the new album in late 2010, with Aesthetic Perfection and iVardensphere as the support bands. In 2011, after opening for Rammstein at Madison Square Garden in December 2010, both bands announced Combichrist would be supporting Rammstein on their North American tour and Andy announced the "Monsters on Tour Part II" taking place around the scheduled Rammstein shows. The "Monsters on Tour Part II" had the same support as the 2010 tour but with the additions of Angel Spit and God Module performing with them on select dates.
Combichrist's music was prominently featured in the hack-n-slash style video game DmC Devil May Cry. Their track "Never Surrender" was featured in a gameplay demo, and Throat Full of Glass is played during the opening sequence. Andy LaPlegua was heavily involved in the game's soundtrack.
We Love You (2014-2016)
In October 2013, LaPlegua announced on Facebook that there would be a new album on the way in 2014. On December 10, 2013, Combichrist announced the title of their 7th studio album, We Love You (Combichrist album) , with a March 2014 release date. The We Love You promo tour, included acts from William Control and New Years Day. Two singles were released from this album, "From My Cold Dead Hands" and "Maggots at the Party". The video for Maggots at the Party has been nominated by Berlin Music Video Awards for 2015 Most Trashy Video.
This Is Where Death Begins (2016)
This Is Where Death Begins is the eighth studio album. It was released on June 3, 2016. The album sees the band moving further away from their original electronic sound towards rock and metal.
Make Europe Great Again (M.E.G.A) Tour, and "This Is Where Death Begins" (2016)
In February 2016, it was announced that the new album (as yet untitled, but often hashtagged #ThisIsWhereITBegins on Instagram posts about it) will be released in May. Andy and the band's official Instagram pages posted snippets, clips, and hinted at guest artists - possibly some of Coal Chamber and Filter, and the female singer of MXMS. A full European tour is planned for June and July, with Nick Rossi (ex-New Years Day) joining the live line-up as a second drummer/percussionist. Meanwhile, the band's first show of the year - the Out Of Line Festival in Berlin - saw them perform without long-time keyboardist Z_Marr, who has left the band to pursue other interests (in June 2016 it was revealed he has joined <PIG>.) He was replaced by Elliott Berlin, of Aesthetic Perfection and Telemark, who has previously played keys for an "Old-School" Combichrist show and toured extensively as their show tech. Nick Rossi will be playing live keys on the forthcoming tour, in addition to his drumming duties - much as Shaun Frandsen did on the 2012 Evolution Tour.
On 9th April, LaPlegua played a solo show at Complex, in Glendale, CA, which was a rare outing of the early instrumental incarnation of the band. The set list included tracks like Brain Bypass, Adult Content, Without Emotions, God Bless, Bulletfuck, Spit, God Wrapped In Plastic, The Kill (Instru-mental Version from "The Frost EP"), God Warrior, and other rarely or never played techno/noise tracks. Of the evening, LaPlegua said: "It was a rarity show, and I played the show exactly like I did back in the days when it was just me. No point playing obvious songs, when I can do those songs on any given show. I was happy to play all those songs I can never do with the full band, and I could have done a million more. Thanks to everyone coming out last night. I had a blast doing an old school set like this. For those who missed it; I will never do it again, so you missed out. To those who were there, thanks for sharing this night with me."
On 18th April, it was announced that the new album will be called "This Is Where Death Begins" with a release date of 3rd June 2016. Available on double vinyl and CD, a two-CD version includes a live recording of the Complex, LA, show. A three-CD and DVD version includes audio and video from the Summer Breeze Festival in 2015, making this the band's first official live release.
On May 25, 2017, longtime drummer Joe Letz announced on his Facebook page that he was asked to take a hiatus from Combichrist, due to bigotry allegations against him. He had previously received widespread criticism for wearing blackface makeup on the most recent Combichrist tour. Although Letz initially defended his actions as not attempting to mimic blackface, when further racially insensitive imagery was discovered on his social media, he was dropped from upcoming tours for The Birthday Massacre and Raymond Watts' PIG, for whom he was to play drums as a live musician.
- The Joy of Gunz (September 1, 2003)
- Everybody Hates You (March 8, 2005)
- What the Fuck is Wrong With You People? (March 6, 2007)
- Today We Are All Demons (2009)
- Making Monsters (September 28, 2010)
- No Redemption (Official DmC: Devil May Cry Soundtrack) (January 25, 2013)
- We Love You (March 25, 2014)
- This Is Where Death Begins (June 3, 2016)