Thursday, January 21, 2010
WHOURKR "CONCRETE" (Crucial Blast)
Drunken, dizzying warp-speed electro-glitch grind avant-horror from these two French death metal aficionados. No human being could ever play this live. It's music made purely to be appreciated through headphones at nightmarish, migraine-inducing volumes, full of electric shock pulses and stereo-panning shizoid nuance. Crazy, crazy shit here. Whourkr operate from a purely cut and paste standpoint, filtering samples of guitar riffs through computers and spitting them out via intense editing into weird, fractured, impossible compositions of mesmerizing complexity and seizure-inducing spasticness. The touchstones are many-Slayer, Buckethead, Aphex Twin, Troum, Nemo, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Genghis Tron, Tim Hecker-but the result is a new kind of outsider metal pastiche, a hypercolour splash of techno-referencing thrash-pop, totally alien and really really hard to wrap your head around. Vocals seem as heavily edited as the guitars, run through all sorts of filters and processors so the only thing that remains is a whirring high frequency clashing with a low distorto-signal of throbbing electricity, something akin to standing in a wind tunnel while someone throws lightning bolts at you. And then there's tracks like "Santo" where a light acoustic intro gives way to a choir of syrupy sweet "aaaahs" before a wash of melodic pummel rains down on your poor eardrums. Or stuttery, ragged songs like "Freugz" and "Cera Pollutea" (even the titles seem cut and paste) where the only real structures are sine waves disguised (or forced into the semblance) as guitar riffs, full of shock-throb bass nausea and an endless deluge of gore-grind level double bass terror. Yes, the drums on here are fucking relentless, continuous stop/start blast beat insanity, never really letting you get away, even for a second. This shit just doesn't let up. It's merciless in its saccharine desire to completely flatten you. By the time the last track wanders in, the strangely calming majesty of the Peste Noire-meets-Mogwai pop epic "Plantea", you're spent. There isn't much else that a record like this can throw at you. It's a perfect example of the growing sub-genre of tech-metal compiled by Jay Randall on the mighty "Drum Machinegun" compilation from a few years back (a totally awesome brainfuck of an album that you should definitely own)-whether they give it a real name or not. Some musicians are out there to fuck with you as much as they can, to take you places where the music can really only be conceptual. Whourkr are right on the ledge, and they're holding out a hand for you to grasp. There's no olive branch, just a taunting half-smile and the infinite expanse beyond.