Igorrr - Spirituality and Distortion
Metal Blade
Avant-Garde, Breakcore
14 songs (55:30)
Release year: 2020
Metal Blade
Reviewed by Goat

The brainchild of one Gautier Serre, Igorrr mixes various musical and metallic influences with electronic beat-heavy music known as breakcore to unique results. Serre has worked with members of everyone from Cattle Decapitation to Secret Chiefs 3 in the past, and although Igorrr became a full band in 2017 he still features a variety of contributors. Spirituality and Distortion is all over the place but is relatively cohesive for an Igorrr album, moving away from avant-garde extreme metal to experiment a little more with Middle-Eastern sounds including oud, qanon, and sitar players here alongside more typical contributions like guitar, bass, and harpsichord. The results are a little less self-consciously wacky than before and almost manage to be a relaxed, pleasant listen at moments, although the avant-garde style-mix means this is a constantly shifting experience, and the domination of electronic elements does lean the album away from your regular metalhead's ears - they will either love or hate the likes of Very Noise here, even with the catchiness and layered guitar riffs.

Perhaps the most obvious appeal to metalheads here is the general shift towards Cannibal Corpse-esque rhythms and riffs, culminating in a mid-tracklisting peak when George Fisher himself turns up on the death metal-esque Parpaing to provide growls. More baroque pieces like the harpsichord-enhanced Nervous Waltz and Hollow Tree throw equal amounts of metal riffing and breakcore beatdowns together, even with blastbeats and neoclassical string interludes. Yet the best moments are those like Downgrade Desert or Camel Dancefloor, mixing the Eastern melodies and rhythms perfectly alongside the metal riffing and electronic elements, all like a strange mish-mash of Venetian Snares and Meshuggah before the vocals begin (everything from deep male spoke to deranged yells to operatic female!). And the vocals are far more important than you'd think on a breakcore album, particularly on Overweight Poesy, which moves from female singing to harsh digitised screams, and the longest track present, the seven-minute Himalaya Massive Ritual which uses downright beautiful layered vocals alongside both physical drumming and subtle electronic beats wonderfully, not to mention he acoustic stringed sections.

As a whole, the album's main fault is that it still is very disjointed, a collection of songs each more of an individual experiment than part of a greater whole. This isn't helped by Corpsegrinder's appearance which feels more like pandering to a metalhead audience than a natural shift on the album, although the song itself is more than good enough when taken alone and if you ever wondered what an industrial-leaning Cannibal Corpse would sound like, here's your answer! Yet when followed by the whimsical accordion-and-blastbeat mash-up of Musette Maximum it's just another odd shift in styles. Fine, this is an avant-garde album made by a man influenced as much by Mr Bungle's most chaotic moments as anything, but that doesn't make the listening experience any less jarring. As enjoyable as moments like the piano-driven Lost in Introspection (like some lost Ulver experiment from the early 00s) or the oddly symphonic blackened vibe on Barocco Satani are, you come away with the feeling that nothing was left on the studio floor and absolutely every experiment was featured. It has to be noted, too, that at over fifty-five minutes long this is the longest Igorrr album to date and feels like it, dragging in the latter half as fatigue sets in. Very much a love or hate listen, then, but at least newcomers will find this a great place to start with the project, if they want to delve into its weird world!

Killing Songs :
Downgrade Desert, Very Noise, Camel Dancefloor, Himalaya Massive Ritual, Lost in Introspection
Goat quoted 75 / 100
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