Whourkr – 4247 Snare Drums (2012)
Very fast, very violent, very French. 4247 Snare Drums is allegedly the amount of snare drum hits on this album’s 35 minutes and 22 seconds. When you do the math, it doesn’t sound like that much (in fact, it only averages about 2 a second), but when you factor in the occasional spaces and what this album actually sounds like… well, it’s a fairly intense work of experimental electronic flavored deathcore/grindcore, so I’m sure you’ll find something to like in it.
This may be more of a “core” album than a metal album when you consider how both the metal and electronic music industries co-opted the word “hardcore”. 4247 relies pretty heavily on sampling (and to be honest the sample choices sometimes reach penguin of d00m levels of random), but perhaps more on sound convolution, as listeners can expect all sorts of pitch shifting, frequency gating, and stuttering over the metallic content. If you’re familiar with main frontman Gautier Serre (Igorrr)’s other work, you’ll probably recognize these techniques, although he usually doesn’t dip as deep into the extreme metal pool. Rounding out the sounds are the deep squeals typical of actually typical deathcore recordings; definitely not to be confused with more intelligible growls, or the higher pitched distorted screams of Whourkr’s previous full-length, Concrete. I’d go as far to say that this is slightly more normal by metal standards than Concrete, although I’m sure there are people in my reading audience who’d like to debate that.
The more important evolution from that album is probably a pitch shift now that I think about it; 4247 is bassy where its predecessor was higher pitched and more grating, but otherwise not all that different. Compositions remain generally short and freely structured (read: “random”), and I’m pretty sure Igorrr is more interested in differentiating tracks here by aesthetic adornment than by dramatically shifting up his writing techniques. The vox also stick to the ‘nonsensical’ route; I forget whether it was this album or its predecessor that contained a lyric booklet full of onomatopoeic transcriptions of the electronic-assisted noises, but as far as I know, there are no hidden Magmaesque layers of meaning or narrative behind them. One song here stands out for being oddly ornate and complicated in comparison to its companions, though – “Ostina” (featuring the band’s old vocalist, who literally calls himself Öxxö Xööx) retains the breakbeats and guitar, but adds layers and dynamics in quantities the band has never before employed to my understanding. Whourkr has split up, but I wouldn’t mind hearing more in that vein from somewhere.
Before you ask, there’s no way I’m not giving this a glowing, positive review. Its specific metal/electronic music fusion is a bit niche for being on the extreme end of both its constituents, but if you wake up one day to find that you’ve become Gabe Kagan, you’ll probably end up listening to this quite a lot.
Highlights: “Gastro-Equestre”, “Ostina”, “Polygroin”