Have you ever imagined what an asylum in Transylvania would sound like? Frankenstein’s monster flailing and frothing in rage, mummies and ghouls of all shapes and sizes writhing in demented ecstasy while Count Dracula himself glides through these morbid halls, singing operatically to his imprisoned comrades in terror? No? Well, how about a gigantic war between Lucky Charms and Count Chocula, complete with deadly rainbow beams and molten streams of chocolate lava? Never imagined that either? Well, surely you’ve given a thorough mental examination to the notion of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera undergoing an epic mash-up with Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd and Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. No to this as well? Well I don’t blame you. That shit is bananas. But after hearing Igorrr’s latest batch of fresh hell Savage Sinusoid, such pairings may make more sense. Because this amorphous beast of a record sounds simultaneously like all of these things while also sounding like exactly none of them.
Good god, how does one review this thing?
For the uninitiated (saints preserve you), Igorrr is the pseudonym for French producer and musician Gautier Serre and his merry band of misfits. This is their fourth full-length record. Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat: Igorrr may be one of the strangest bands on planet Earth. Their sound, as you can probably surmise from the opening paragraph of this review, is nigh indescribable. Mixing elements of death metal, trip hop, operatic vocal arrangements, baroque musical style, and the occasional accordion-led sea shanty, Igorrr’s sound is genuinely unique and extremely difficult to pin down. It is on the whole a truly herculean task to explain this music without experiencing it for yourself. Which is what I invite you to do, because this album is as bizarre and out of its mind as it is stunningly creative and thoroughly enjoyable.
Let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start… Sorry, musicals on the mind) of the record with stunning opening track “Viande”. As an album opener, it’s hard to imagine Igorrr going harder than this. Initiating us to the sound of the album with some feral, maniacal screams, the track then introduces heavy mid-tempo riffs fairly typical of something one would here on a modern extreme metal record. But then Igorrr’s vocals come back in a rapid fire barking pattern that is utterly indecipherable and unsettling. This disorienting and harsh barrage persists until the track’s abrupt conclusion. Following this palate cleanser, we are introduced to none other than the fantastic sounds of a harpsichord in the opening seconds of “ieuD”, which lilts mournfully as the vocals enter in melodramatic fashion, full of sad crooning and vengeful wails and screams. That’s all before the electronic elements within the track make their grand entrance, adding an almost dubstep/trip hop vibe that is coupled with blast beats in the most turgid of death metal varieties. The track eventually incorporates operatic vocals and black metal riffs into the mix, adding further to the stew of insanity that this album has already conjured.
Okay, that’s a lot to process. Don’t worry, we only have nine more tracks and nearly a half hour of music to go! Third track “Houmous” sees the first instance of accordion on the record, followed be a nearly Kanye West circa Yeezus-inspired beat. But this only lasts for a few seconds before the live drums and vocals take over once again, only to be supplanted by some manic horn passage which ends in what can only be described as the soundtrack to a mid-1980’s 8-bit video game. We follow this track with-
Alright, I’m done.
This record is a collage of the highest order. It’s a cornucopia. A mish-mash. A hodge-podge. Take your pick. This is music that holds itself to no gods or masters outside of the beautifully deranged and original mind of its creator. This is music that also bends to absolutely zero genre conventions, but instead carves its own path through sheer variety and creative composition style. This is, quite honestly, brave and defiant music. I love it.
Music needs albums like this. It needs artists like Igorrr. Unsatisfied with sitting still and watching music evolve at its own sweet pace, Igorrr opts for a more precipitous route, blasting music into the next century by filtering various, seemingly unrelated genres through its own unique lens, creating soundscapes that few artists today are touching. That is a wonderful thing worthy of championing, and Igorrr have proven themselves to be master innovators of their craft. There is something for every fan of experimental and daring music here, and I cannot encourage you highly enough to give this record a shot. You may not think of your Lucky Charms or melodramatic Broadway musicals in the same way again, but that is a small price to pay for such a rewarding and utterly insane musical experience. Support this band, listen to this music, and tell your friends. They’ll probably think you’re weird as shit, but that’s okay. In the case of Igorrr and Savage Sinusoid, weird is definitely a very good thing.
Savage Sinusoid is out now through Metal Blade Records. You can purchase it here.