France’s Igorrr adds Middle Eastern motifs to its genre-splicing mashup of death metal and breakcore | Music Review | Chicago Reader

France’s Igorrr adds Middle Eastern motifs to its genre-splicing mashup of death metal and breakcore 

click to enlarge Igorrr


Courtesy the Artist

In the tradition of heavy-music genre splicers such as Mr. Bungle, Secret Chiefs 3, and Estradasphere, French act Igorrr hybridizes industrial death metal, breakcore, chiptune, and other genres using a dizzying array of seemingly unrelated styles and instruments. Songwriter, DJ, and guitarist Gautier Serre weaves Baroque music, Balkan folk, Eastern motifs, operatic vocals, and death growls into a fabric made from sludgy midtempo riffs, breakneck drum fills, and all manner of digital manipulation. Originally a solo digital project, Igorrr expanded to include guest musicians in the early 2010s, and the 2017 album Savage Sinusoid expanded the lineup to a full band with a bevy of guests, including vocalist Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation), accordionist Adam Stacey (Secret Chiefs 3), and nearly a dozen classically trained instrumentalists. Following a tour around Europe and the States (on which Serre was joined by a live drummer and two vocalists), Igorrr is back with Spirituality and Distortion (Metal Blade), the group’s fourth full-length and its second consecutive album devoid of samples. The most notable addition to the already jam-packed combo of genres is Middle Eastern folk, which widens the music’s timbral palette and increases the occurrence of meditative moments and dancing opportunities. “Downgrade Desert” and “Camel Dancefloor” are the most obvious examples, thanks to the extended oud intro and distinctive melodic scale in the former and the infectious groove in the latter. “Nervous Waltz” borrows more from Western classical; it begins with a beautiful triple-feel string quartet with IDM rhythms and harmonized operatic singing before blastbeats and a quick-twitch piano melody segue into a chuggy breakdown. On “Parpaing,” Cannibal Corpse front man George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher lends his guttural vocals to a digital deathfest interrupted by aggro bitcore. A Frenchy accordion lead pairs with grind and black metal on “Musette Maximum,” and the übercatchy “Polyphonic Rust” uses interludes by what sounds vaguely like an Eastern European women’s choir to color some of the best head-banging material on the entire album. Spirituality and Distortion can change styles or moods on a dime, and it matches its technical and melodic excellence with its boundary-defying imagination.   v

Get our free weekly Early Warnings newsletter 💌

It’s Chicago’s essential months-ahead music calendar straight to your inbox.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Agenda Teaser

July 23
Bitchin Bajas Constellation
July 23

Popular Stories