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Review

Combichrist: 'No Redemption' (Devil May Cry Soundtrack) CD Review

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The long-awaited reboot of the Capcom classic Devil May Cry benefits from the work of not just one, but two groundbreaking artists: Dutch Electro-house trio Noisia, whose inventive score was also recently released (read our review of that album here), and industrial music heavyweight Combichrist – alias Andy LePlegua – who has been featured many times on FEARnet, partly due to his long-time association with horror, sci-fi and dark fantasy productions. Combichrist has previously licensed album tracks for video games as well, but this is the first time LaPlegua has applied those cyber-rock skills to a complete game score of his own.
 
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Andy's own passion for gaming helped to sweeten the deal, as he went about his own interpretation of the game's principal character. “I had a lot of fun digging myself into Dante’s psyche in order to create music to match the battle scenes,” he explained, describing the project as a kind of extension from his smash 2010 album Making Monsters (the follow-up to which will be released sometime this year), while standing up as an imposing monster of its own. Compiled from a total of 27 score cues written exclusively for DmC and re-edited into 13 album tracks, No Redemption brings more diverse ingredients to the potent Combichrist cocktail, swapping out their thunderous aggro-tech with a much heavier emphasis on guitar-driven industrial metal.
 
 
While more traditional scoring elements like sampled choirs, large-scale percussion and orchestra occasionally expand the soundscape – especially in the breakneck wall-of-sound production of the title track featured above – most of these cuts are still adamantly riff-centric, with a gritty, coarse edge and hardcore-style vocals. The cyberpunk "Zombie Fistfight" is a gut-kick worthy of its title, and while it's one of the most memorable cuts on the album, it's painfully short at less than two minutes. The anthemic "Feed the Fire” is another strong entry, combining aggro-tech synths more familiar to the band's fans with solid melodic metal dynamics and a blend of spoken and harsh vocals, while "Empty" serves up a unique hybrid of electro doom and a blood-curdling vocal line.
 
There's also an old-school industrial metal vibe to many of these tracks; "Clouds of War,” "How Old is Your Soul?" and "Buried Alive" all manage to balance the minimalist electronics with shuddering slabs of guitar reminiscent of '90s-era Ministry, and there's a distinct Rob Zombie-style dance metal groove driving "Gimme Deathrace.” Even components of thrash have their moment in the spotlight in “Falling Apart,” a brief but blistering piece that is sure to have gamers' pulses racing. "Pull the Pin" closes the album on a doomy note, and also sports the biggest stacks of drop-tuned riffage, making for a suitably dramatic finale.
 
While No Redemption is a completely different beast than Combichrist fans may expect, and may not pack as many club-friendly cuts, it has a distinctive hardcore edge that compliments DmC's nihilistic, ultra-violent game action, and the metal-centric approach provides a muscular counterbalance to Noisia's more abstract electronics. It also serves well as a stand-alone side project for the band, and some of the more aggressive cuts here might fit well into the band's live set. In addition to the tracks covered above, the European edition of the soundtrack includes a second disc containing additional Combichrist singles from the band's back catalog – including the hits “Get Your Body Beat,” “Sent to Destroy” and “Throat Full of Glass” –  all of which make appearances in the game. It's available in limited quantity from Combichrist.com.
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