The Combine
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The Combine

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Metal Alternative

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Apr
18
The Combine @ The Rockhouse

Gastonia, North Carolina, United States

Gastonia, North Carolina, United States

Apr
09
The Combine @ Rockhouse Bar

St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Apr
09
The Combine @ The Ship

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Music

Press


""Witness" Album Review"

Alright boys and girls, show of hands: who out there ‘gets’ prog metal? Is it a) a bunch of boring farts noodling away on their instruments with nary a song structure in sight, or b) an exciting, inventive genre that thumbs its nose at the songwriting handbook, preferring to spread its wings majestically?

If you answered b), then the subject of today’s review may be right up your street. Step forward The Combine, a foursome hailing from (of all places) Newfoundland, Canada. They met in college in 2009 and began jamming together, releasing a four track EP (‘A Message From Our Benefactors) in 2011. A move to ‘the big smoke’, ie. St Johns, Newfoundland in 2012 allowed them to potentially reach over one hundred thousand people, an impressive twenty per cent of the island’s population, at gigs. And gig they have; a quick glance at their Facebook page shows that this is one hard working band, with shows lined up all over Newfoundland.

The move clearly got their creative juices flowing: they won a Big Rock Productions ‘Battle of the Bands’ competition shortly thereafter and were able to release their debut album ‘Witness’ in August 2013.

Upon listening to the album, it is immediately apparent that the band have expanded their sound to include other influences than the straight prog metal on their EP. Lead single ‘Architect’ for example, whilst including the requisite ‘quiet-loud-quiet’ pattern and quirky, changeable time signatures common to prog metal, also displays some impressively thrashy riffs, as well as some quite lush and gorgeous moments during the quieter portions of the song. Second track ‘Mutilation’ starts with a rather jazzy percusive intro with powerful drumming throughout, particularly leading into the subdued outro. It also has a distinct nu metal vibe: a sort of ‘Mastodon meets System of a Down’, if you will.

And so it continues throughout the album; from the Maiden-y, power metal-ly stride (and rather unhinged ending) of ‘Picante’, to the folky, ethereal feel and toe-tapping riff in ‘Carnivorous’, The Combine show the listener that they have a wealth of talent and influences – and they ain’t afraid to use ‘em. Just check out the classic rock stylings of ‘Desert Sensations’ and ‘Behemoth’, with its actual, old fashioned guitar solo. Well go on!

Of course, no prog metal album, no matter how diverse, will include at least one, all-caps EPIC number (it’s, like, the law or something). For ‘Witness’ it is final track ‘Ruin Everything’. Clocking in at a prog-tastic nine minutes and forty-two seconds, it starts and ends with some flamenco-style accoustic guitar which brackets – well, a bit of everything. Three minutes in, it’s pure riffalicious metal. Five minutes in: sort of Viking-y power metal. Seven minutes: unabashed prog. To the uninitiated, it will sound unnecessarily unstructured and aimless. To fans, when the band hit the nail on the head – as they do here – it is pure prog metal nirvana (and also a HELL of a way to wrap up an album).

The Combine have come along in astonishing leaps and bounds since their EP release just a few years ago. While this album does provide some links back to that EP (most notably in ‘Ruin Everything’) the band have allowed their sound to grow and flourish, resulting in an album that, in the most basic of terms, is prog metal – but in reality is far more. Even vocally, they straddle several genres; frontman Taylor Roberts very capably croons, husks and growls – sometimes all in the one song – and his bandmates harmonise with him effortlessly. The result is at once muscular and rather beautiful; a word not often attributed to blokey ol’ prog metal.

So, to go back to the original question: if you answered b), give these guys a listen. You’ll love them. And if you answered a)? Give them a listen anyway. The Combine may just be the band to change your mind and set you on the prog metal path. - The Metal Review


""Witness" Album Review"

Tight, loud, and basically perfect: it's hard to to imagine another local metal band will release an album this good this year. In fact, Witness would stand up to any heavy Canadian album of 2014. Every song packs its own punch, and takes you on its own musical ride, meandering through many tempos and tones. Great musicianship marks the album, and you can tell this is no rush job. There is no filler on Witness; every song is satisfying and well-built. The drummer knows how to make a song move and feel alive, and the guitar work isn't looking to wank off, but rather, suit the song, and it does that to marvellous effect. These are skilled musicians and it shows: the true strength of the album is its song structures, the
music itself, and the bands chemistry and talent with their respective instruments. The vocal range on the album is also extremely impressive, from a deep, unhuman growl that's more bad-ass than missus from The Exorcist, to it's great, straight-up singing voice in general. And the polished recording job was worth every penny they paid for it. This is first-rate metal and a fabulous recording. The band, and their well-earned fans, should be very happy with this. Pick up a copy at Fred's Records or HMV. - The Overcast


""Witness" Album Review"

New to St. John’s, The Combine have gained a fan base and significant experience in Stephenville. Playing together for over three years, they’ve developed a distinct and rare prog-metal sound. Mastodon, Kyuss, and Protest the Hero are some of the intense influences on these metal lovers. Supreme produced, there is a crystal-clear distinction between instrumentation and vocals, an essential element to their appeal. In the midst of all the heavy complex metal are tasteful sections of musical white space followed by explosions of guitar-shredding. These boys know what a breakdown means and how to use it. Intense and interesting, truly talented. - Fred's Records


Discography

Witness (2013)
A Message from our Benefactors (2011)

Photos

Bio

"Pure prog metal nirvana... The Combine have come along in astonishing leaps and bounds since their EP release just a few years ago... The result is at once muscular and rather beautiful; a word not often attributed to blokey old prog metal." - The Metal Review 

 The members of what would eventually become The Combine met in college, thrown together from all corners of the island province of Newfoundland. They were studying Recording Arts and Music Industry courses. Gradually, organically, friendships grew, a band was formed, and metal was made. They came from different musical backgrounds and had broadly varying tastes, and it soon became apparent that their product was not going to be conventional. They took perfectly respectable riffs and manipulated them to insidious means. They strove to compose music that went just beyond what they could fully comprehend. They played shows, recorded an EP, built a following, and it soon became apparent that they had something special. 

 The Combine relocated to the capitol, St. John's, Newfoundland, and got to work. After some extensive local gigging and winning a battle of the bands competition, they had the funds and the means to finish production on their debut full-length album, Witness, which was released in August of 2013. The album was praised by the band's fans and the media, and soon climbed the local sales charts. 

 "Tight, loud, and basically perfect: it's hard to to imagine another local metal band will release an album this good this year. In fact, Witness would stand up to any heavy Canadian album of 2014... Great musicianship marks the album, and you can tell this is no rush job. There is no filler on Witness; every song is satisfying and well-built...This is first-rate metal and a fabulous recording." - The Overcast, April 2014 

 The album and the band's dedication to performing as much as possible began to garner some exposure for them. Witness was nominated for MusicNL's Loud Recording of the Year in 2014 as well as the ECMA Loud Recording of the Year 2014, and along with its debut track "Architect", were voted among the best heavy albums and songs of the year in an annual "Best of St. John's" poll,  They have shared the stage with Canadian metal giants such as Protest the Hero and Cancer Bats, and they are currently striving to spread their influence across the country.

Band Members