For Fans Of
Gautier Serre, the songwriter and genius behind the eccentric and eclectic French band, Igorrr, has been very busy over the past four years; meticulously crafting the immense and staggering madness of the group’s fourth record, ‘Savage Sinusoid‘.
Igorrr’s first album since 2012’s ‘Hallelujah’ and while not as folk or as jazz influenced as 2010’s ‘Nostril‘, ‘Savage Sinusoid‘ is yet another unconventional mixture of avant-garde, black metal, electronica, trip-hop, Baroque music, and neoclassical sounds and influences. Each idea, style and sound here is wonderfully smashed together with a multitude of others to create something that’s genuinely unique and interesting, both by the underground scene and the “mainstream” world that Igorrr now sits in by being under the Metal Blade Records banner.
As a bit of backstory, this batshit insane record was tracked, engineered and produced between February 2013 and January 2017 at Improve Tone Studios. Within that quite lengthy creation process, this French group has once again liberated themselves from the boundaries and expectations of what music – in this case metal, electronica, and classical – should sound like; each separately and as one larger whole.
Across this impressive 11 track record, the band combines a sheer plethora of musical elements together. Elements such as glitchy trip-hop, cinematic washes of churning synths and low-end, 8-bit moments, saxophones, violins, piano, mandolin, classical acoustic guitar sections, accordion, and even a harpsichord for good measure. Shit, there’s even a sitar that enters the mix on the mind-bending Matrix glitch that is ‘Opus Brain‘, and I swear, there’s even a recording of a motherfucking vacuum cleaner at one point. Throughout the album, you’ll also hear beautiful operatic singing courtesy of Laure Le Prunenec and incredibly tight grooves and bombastic blast beats from drummer Sylvain Bouvier. Shit, there’s even a sitar that enters the mix on the mind-bending Matrix glitch that is ‘Opus Brain‘, and I swear, there’s even a recording of a motherfucking vacuum cleaner at one point. Of course, there’s still your good ol’ fashioned, distorted metal guitar riffs (all recorded by Serre himself) found across this release, usually heard holding down the rhythm and underpinning the musical chaos with a sharp but beefy tone.
When it comes to the non-orchestral vocals on this record, we have the utter madman that is Laurent Lunoir (of Öxxö Xööx) acting as another notch in the vast collaborative belt that holds up the pants of ‘Savage Sinusoid‘. When he’s not vocalising his deep, dark singing timbre or delivering death metal grunts and growls, he’s full-pelt yelling rabid barks and straight screaming right at the listener’s face.
Now, if you think all of that sounds fucking insane and rather over the top, that’s because it is! Seriously, this album is utterly bonkers and I’m confident that your first listen through ‘Savage Sinusoid‘ will be a true and utter experience. A great one but an experience, nonetheless. As much like Serre’s other band, Corpo-Mente, ‘Savage Sinusoid’ is a real journey of stylistic variation and well-written sonic insanity. For yes, while Igorrr is unflinching and unapologetic for their constant state of their genre and sonic flux, it all works together. Somehow.
The short album opener of ‘Viande‘ begins with Lunoir screaming his head off, before a sucker punch of riffs, synths and tight drumming land with groovy resolve. And then the screamed scat vocal phrases (for lack of a better description) enter the fray and down the rabbit hole this album goes!
The classical guitar and harpsichord duo that kick off ‘ieuD‘ and the pained French vocals that follow are an ominous, melodically contrasting prelude to what’s soon to come your way. Which quickly ends up being a blistering assault of electronic percussion, Death Grips-like synths, fast blast beats, rapid-fire riffs, foreboding operatic singing, vehement screaming, occasional twangy spaghetti-western guitar licks, all of which then comes to an abrupt close with a brief flute outro. Yeah.
There’s even a very sneaky chicken cluck heard in ‘Homous‘ (Serre does seem to love his chickens), which also uses slap bass playing and 8-bit electronic moments to propel the song along with powerful blast beats. But then again, this is Igorrr, so I’d expect nothing less, really.
The sonic madness hits a dynamic lull with the deliciously dark strings, piano and vocal melodies of ‘Problème d’émotion‘ and in creep these lower mixed wobbly dubstep synth bass and drum machine parts underneath. Reminding you that this song isn’t an art-gallery performance or orchestral reverie, but rather one stop along this unconventional circus from one of one of modern metal’s most frantic and interesting acts. And that’s not even with me mentioning the Middle-Eastern melodies of the dynamically shifting ‘Homous‘, the solid, electronically-lead composition that is ‘Robert‘, or how the album’s finale, ‘Au Revoir‘, mixes all of the band’s go-to core genres – metal, electronica, classical – and turns them into a monolithic soundscape.
The accordion-driven ‘Cheval’ also features some brutally low gutturals courtesy of Cattle Decapitation’s own Travis Ryan, and it fits so well, as do Ryan’s other vocal performances on fellow tracks, ‘Apopathodiaphulatophobie‘ and ‘Robert‘. Speaking of, the heaviest standout here is easily the layered and riff-heavy mouthful that is ‘Apopathodiaphulatophobie‘. Likewise, the energised and extreme instrumental of ‘Va te foutre‘ is a brutal mix-up for the record’s pace but a well-placed one at that.
Finally, I can only imagine that a record like this would’ve been such incredible fun to make and be an immensely interesting one to experience from the inside. I also assume that it would have been a rather complicated and headache-inducing one at the same time. As such, I give some major props to this album’s sound engineer, Hervé Faivre, for helping to make such methodical madness sound so tight, clean, and clear and in also making this a practically sample-free record as well (if we discount the electronic drums and synth basses, that is). His engineering of chopping up sounds and instruments, dropping them in and out, and the wide array of EQ filters applied here all rounds out a musically varied and highly chaotic record; ensuring that that aforementioned chaos sounds fuckin’ superb!
‘Savage Sinusoid’ is stylistically eclectic, sonically intense, near-nonsensical at times, and overall, it’s a solid album. Even if you come to loathe or disregard it, I urge you to invest some time into the uncanny nature of Igorrr’s new record, as it’s an absolute trip and that’s exactly why I fuck with it! You most likely won’t hear another record like ‘Savage Sinusoid’ in 2017.
4. Opus Brain
5. Problème d’émotion
6. Spaghetti Forever
9. Va te foutre
11. Au Revoir
‘Savage Sinusoid’ is out now via Metal Blade Records. Stream it here.