Mortiis and Combichrist
plus System:FX and Aesthetic Perfection
@ KoKo Camden, London July 3rd 2011
Review by Rhiannon Marley
Photos by Michelle Murphy
Off-kickers for the night of carnage, System:FX (3.5/5). They reckon one of their influences – at least, as far as Facebook is concerned – is The Prodigy. No shit!
The vocals have got Keith Flint all over them like a rash. The 90s rave-vibe’s tattooed on the saw-buzz synth tone, 4-on-the-floor beats and rawness of rhythm.
But stretching right across the musical board, from metal to ‘industrial’ paths, and using an Ibanez guitar for this style, shows eclecticism.
Entertaining and anarchic, they’re a hit with the crowd – even if they do sound like they’re about to launch into ‘Firestarter’ at any moment…
Next up are Los Angeles electro bunch Aesthetic Perfection (4/5)
Despite hailing from halfway across the globe, they hardly look out of place in Camden Town: they’re all Snakebite-piercings, studded belts and skinny jeans.
Thunderously energetic, their beats are snare-heavy; their serpentine riffs like helter-skelters.
There’s a strong Nine Inch Nails and Celldweller vibe: market-friendly, but slick, and tons of fun.
Visually, their brand of Sugar Skull shirts and slanted haircuts might scream North-London-trendy, but they pack enough grit to leave the crowd eagerly awaiting their upcoming UK tour towards the end of 2011.
Dance your black hearts out…
The props and paraphernalia of earlier Mortiis (4/5) may be no longer, but the power is steadfast as hell.
Håvard Ellefsen and his boys are battering the bejesus out of Koko, with a set-list doused in revamped classics and snippets of fresh EP, ‘Perfectly Defect’.
While it’s no secret that change is an integral part of Mortiis, Ellefsen’s stripping-away of heavy electronics and replacement with a more straight-up, guitar-driven cup of tea is doing them favours tonight.
Not only does it show yet another facet to their prism of styles; it brings a satisfying ‘industrial’ cohesion for all acts this eve. And as the band twitch around the stage like overgrown Living Dead Dolls in war-paint, Ellefsen proves that no matter what it does, his baby is still as fierce, and as charismatic, as it always was.
Andy LaPlegua wasn’t messing about when he mentioned this ‘drama’ thing in Combichrist (4.5/5)
He’s not under characterisation; he’s under demonic possession. And with Trevor Friedrich chucking half his drum kit over to confirm this, it seems there’s a shared mentality.
Melodic, yet aggressive; metallic, in contemporary structures; catchy, yet intricate; Combichrist are a tower of contradictions – in both music, and lifestyle.
They borrow from a sea of genres, reaching beyond Aggrotech, and meld them under pulsating beats; the crowd’s sense of rhythm just can’t put them down.
With a set-list spanning live-friendly classics, Combichrist go hell (or if LaPlegua prefers, humanism) for leather tonight, in showing Camden why their sonic titanium is still calling the shots in the ‘industrial’ sphere…warts, lady-killing and all.
A sexy-as-hell show!