Venue: Močvara, Zagreb, Croatia

Industrial/synth trio Priest and doom trap artist Mimi Barks performed as special guests before Combichrist.

MIMI BARKS, a doom trap artist; gave a very attractive and energetic performance and its a shame the venue wasn’t packed as it was quite early for Croatian audience and travellers that came to the town for this concert only. Hopefully, great career is ahead of Mimi Barks as there are many possibilities especially if she maybe decides to introduce more musicians into hers acts for the purpose of creating a fusion of different energies from other band members

PRIEST, a synthwave band made up of former Ghost musicians, signed a deal with Cleopatra Records in 2021, which representatives stated: “We see an extremely bright future ahead for the band“. Priest is from Sweden and is made up of three musicians which presented their version of modern industrial/synth music with a great performance spiced up with their recognisable spiked outfits and masks. The biggest recognition for the band is the statement of some audience members that they in fact came to see Priest with even more desire than Combichrist (as the latter already performed in Croatia several times).

Combichrist is a Norwegian-American electro hard rock/metal group. The man behind Combichrist is Norwegian Andy LaPlegua, who founded the band in 2003 as an independent project in Atlanta. The band was characterized by relatively frequent changes of members in the past. Band founder and vocalist Andy LaPlegua honed his craft in the iconic Norwegian hardcore bands: My Right Choice and Lash Out, and later in the electronic world through Icon of Coil. In 2003, he turned all of this into the band Combichrist, which has so far released many notable albums and EPs, and earned its prominent place on a global scale in this specific genre.

Combichrist are one of the favourites of the Zagreb audience as they played in Croatia for three times, out of which they had two headlining concerts: in 2019 and 2014. These, as they like to call themselves, aggrotech/industrial metal band drew attention to themselves as the opening act for Rammstein in the Zagreb Arena in 2010, and before that they held a very impressive concert in Aquarius, Zagreb, which was mentioned and remembered for a long time by all those who saw the band live. The band has released 9 albums in its 16 years of existence and the ninth “One Fire” was released in 2019.

The bands energy, performance and engagement with the audience was perfect and as expected. Luckily, the venue has filled up as it wasn’t a certainty as the venue was filling up very slowly during the supporting act performances. I was scared that the venue will be half empty due to massive vacation time Croatians took, but luckily it wasn’t the case: the venue was packed, even though the city was half empty due to holiday travelling Croatians took. Unfortunately, the concert was held indoors and not on the terrace and it made continuous moshing and dancing somewhat unbearable for those who cant stand the heat. The venue became steaming hot already during Priest performance.

The fact that the last concert was relatively no so long time ago (in 2019)- the comparison of the performances is somewhat inevitable. Unfortunately, I got the feeling that the concert in 2019 was better, but it had nothing to do with the bands energy or performance. I got the impression that the setlist was far better as it included: „Never Surrender“, „Follow the Trail of Blood“, „They“ and some other of my favourite ones; I consider the most successful songs.

The concert was opened by „Heads Off“ and definite highlights of the concert were „Blut Royale“ and „Shut Up And Swallow“. Encore included the magnificent „What The Fuck Is Wrong With You?“ with guest performance of Mimi Barks which was the perfect ending to a very satisfactory concert as Mimi really demonstrated fresh energy to lifted up the song and engaged the audience with even more success than the band itself could do alone. So, with the understanding that setlist that is to be played is created in accordance to band promotional needs and other factors, the examination of the setlist is always a subjective matter: my conclusion is that it was a shame that more of the biggest hits of the band were not included (such as: „Sent To Destroy“, „Without Emotions“, „I Want Your Blood“, „Enjoy The Abuse“ or other mentioned in the section about 2019 concert). But, maybe that remark is also applicable to numerous other concerts, especially for the bands with extensive opus- which get tired of the same repertoire and change setlists to keep things fresh and present new songs, as they now hard core fans had opportunities to experience performances of older hits in numerous previous occasions.

So the final conclusion is that it was great seeing Combichrist once again and hopefully next time will be even better. They have proved that their reputation of a hellish live attraction that will leave no man standing still and unimpressed, even including the ones that came to the concert by accident, such as attendees at festivals and those who have heard the name: Combichrist for the first time and are jet to discover the bands genius!

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