Review Summary: Innovative? Repulsive? Both?
Many bands, on their quest to sound as extreme as possible end up sounding unintentionally hilarious. The adolescent temper tantrums of deathcore, the dizzying incoherence of 4-second grind songs and the utter pretentiousness of labyrinthine tech-death epics all provide endless amusement for fans and critics alike. Some bands like the legendary Strapping Young Lad used the inherent absurdity of the genre to their advantage, their tongue-in-cheek approach only amplifying the chaos.
...and then there's bands like Whourkr. The French project is comprised of sole consistent member Igorrr and a rotating door of completely insane
vocalists. On Concrete
the man behind the mic is -i snor (get used to the weird names), possibly the most ridiculous of the bunch. His performance has to be heard to be believed as his incomprehensible babbling, horrific shrieking and wobbly operatic cleans will test the patience of even the most seasoned death metal listeners.
For anyone familiar with Igorrr's eponymous solo project, they'll have a good idea of what to expect from Whourkr. Glitchy beats, twisted song structures and the liberal chopping up of vocals, drums and guitars to recreate the sound of an audio program crashing. However, while Igorrr focussed on a strange mixture of baroque and breakcore, Whourkr instead puts more emphasis on grindcore and death metal, bringing the guitars and vocals to the forefront.
The riffs aren't particularly complex or interesting on their own, but are instead used as the basis for extensive editing. The guitar sound is contorted and dissected into an abominable mess, held together only by the similarly frantic drums. The drums make no attempt to sound realistic, as many utilisations of drum machines in death metal do. Instead Whourkr push their drum patterns into the territory of Venetian Snares' impossible rhythms, as shown in the amazingly titled Groovinbear
As mentioned earlier, the vocals are one of the main highlights of the show. Opening track Mindgerb
quickly introduces -i snor's disregard for all things tasteful as he randomly yelps over the main riff. But there is a beauty to his madness. The amount he expresses in the rawness of his voice is refreshing in a genre filled with cookie monster growls, tough-guy posturing and an oversaturation of Youtube vocal tutorials. Meanwhile, the lyrics consist of meaningless syllables (an approach that seems to have extended to the song titles and stage monikers).
The songs Bore Injektion
are possibly the best showcases of -i snor's voice. Both blend harsh and clean vocals together, but in different ways. The former in an unhinged cybergrind nightmare that is probably the best indication of what the album has to offer. The latter is a doom metal epic (that lasts less than three minutes!) The apocalyptic tone is laced with operatic wailing and pained screams, displaying Whourkr's ability to present some chillingly haunting material from time to time.
is a 38 minute long bunch of ideas that are haphazardly arranged. There is such a disregard for cohesion and good taste that it's difficult to pinpoint which ideas work and which don't. While the runtime is modest, getting to the end of the album is an endurance test. There are quieter moments such as Cera Pollutea
(a re-interpretation of a track from the previous album), but the glitchy rhythms and nonsensical riffs rarely let up. That said, it's worth it to get to the monumental closing track, Plantea
. Similar to Santo
, it has a beautiful melancholy vibe that excellently showcases Igorrr's compositional abilities while never feeling like a separate entity from the more deranged tracks that came before it.
While the work of Whourkr will likely appeal to very few people, it is an interesting example of the possibilities of extreme music. Concrete
is a truly inspired effort with a commendable sense of irreverence and adventure. There is an energy and spontaneity that is hard to find anywhere else, something that makes Concrete
special. Just don't expect the listening experience to be a pleasant one.