Kombinat M

Hybrid Beat

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Hybrid Beat is the only full-length album the Austrian avant prog quintet Kombinat M left to posterity. The lineup of two guitars, violin, saxophone, bass, and drums was not very common back in the early '90s and helped give the group a fresh chamber rock sound, but in the following years better groups with similar instrumentation popped up (Boud Deun and Interférence Sardines are only two of them). Although resolutely rock, thanks to Lukas Ligeti's powerful drumming, the music sounds often overtly complex in terms of time signatures and structures, yet disarmingly hollow. Below the pyrotechnic riffs, the different sections of the longer pieces appear badly stitched together and the shorter tracks turn out repetitive. Walter Hollinetz is a good blower with a raspy sound; Andreas Heidu and Erwin Redl play mean guitars, often aiming at a Branca-esque wall of sound without the sloppiness -- all good points that should account for a good album. Sadly, the writing is poor, especially when compared to similar groups like Doctor Nerve, Forever Einstein, or Henry Kaiser and Virgil Moorefield's rock bands. That said, there are redeeming moments -- a guitar solo in "Virus," "Trottel Lustig" -- and avant prog collectors and fans of the label Cuneiform's sound should enjoy. But followers of the Siaseme Stepbrothers' drummer will find Hybrid Beat lacks bite and originality.

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