The label characterizes this music as "deathtronix," which is about as apt a descriptor as any ó imagine Agoraphobic Nosebleed as remixed by Venetian Snares in consultation with John Zorn, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what to expect. To call this music "enjoyable" would be stretching things, but there are definitely interesting and even exhilarating moments: the blessedly brief "Mindgerb" opens things up in shock-and-awe mode, with (possibly synthesized) screaming and a revving-motorcycle chord progression that suddenly collapses into straight-up weirdness ó exhausting but strangely cool. Big metallic guitars figures prominently on many tracks (notably "Bore Injektion" and the startlingly arpeggiated "Plantea"), but they are frequently chopped up with electro abandon: consider the borderline chaos of "Skovsnails" and "Squirk," for example, the latter of which actually opens with acoustic guitar, surprisingly enough. Two of the album's most powerful tracks are also among its most abrasive: "Groovinbear" and "Fatrubber" both give the impression of a Metallica song in a Squarepusher remix, with vocals lifted from the Boredoms. Whourkr are obviously not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but that seems to be very much the point.
"Whourkr is a French duo making digital grindcore. Their songs seem to start out in relatively traditional extreme metal territory, with fast, staccato guitar riffing and harsh vocals the dominant elements. But those sounds are immediately chopped up with the computer equivalent of Vinceís Slap Chop, reduced to gleaming audio shards, with drum machines that stutter wildly and synths that zap and skree and hum. There are some almost songlike sections on the groupís second CD, Concrete; ďSantoĒ is full of mock-religious chanting and delicate piano. But the core of their style is a full-on assault on the listenerís eardrums and nerve endings.
Thereís a mini-school of this sort of stuff; itís not that new. One of the earliest practitioners was Alec Empire, whose Atari Teenage Riot combined punk and techno, slapped some preposterous ďrevolutionaryĒ lyrics over the top, and thrilled the surly teens of Europe. Later, Agoraphobic Nosebleed discovered that you could make much better grindcore records if you did them with a drum machine and enough of a sense of humor to give your songs titles like ďDeath Takes a Shit 2Ē and ďA Clown Pointing a Gun at a Small Dog (Reprise).Ē The 2006 Relapse Records compilation Drum Machinegun gathered tracks from a bunch of similar artists, including Genghis Tron, Dataclast and Nemo, for a total of 67 songs from 20 bands in 73 minutes. Dutch drum íní bass producer Bong-Ra built somewhat more straight-ahead tracks out of death metal samples on his Full Metal Racket CD, while the Japanese duo Noism pushed the sample rate and the digitally processed grind guitars nearly past the limit of human comprehension on +/-, released on Crucial Blast, the same label thatís just put out the Whourkr disc.
" - Phil Freeman, BURNING AMBULANCE
"We first discovered French electro-grind-metal-psych-whatthefuck duo Whourkr a year or two back when we got their debut record, Naat, which totally blew us away, it sounded like a malfunctioning metal record and a freaked out techno record, all scrambled up together, tangled up and spit out, a skittering, skipping, looped, grinding chunk of electronic metal weirdness. The vocals would howl, but then get processed and looped and would become something else altogether, the drums and guitars were so gnarled and stretched and twisted up, that the band could explode into flurries of rapidfire mathematical grind, way faster and more complex and convoluted than any human could possible play. It was a total headfuck. Like the fastest freakiest grind, made even faster and freakier, but with a little techno thrown in for good measure. Remember the Drum>MachineGun compilation, of insane drum machine driven grind? Whourkr makes that stuff sound so so tame in comparison.
We tried and tried to track down copies for the store, but never had any luck, and then we heard that Crucial Blast would be releasing the NEW Whourkr, so we waited and waited, and now it's finally here, and it's totally different than the first one (or at least how we remember the first one), way poppier and more melodic, like the band are now actually composing songs instead of throwing all the sounds in a blender to see what comes out (not that we don't dig that too!), it's way poppier, catchier, but still totally and utterly freaked out and glitchy and fucked up beyond belief.
Chugging guitars and shrieked vox are chopped and spliced into a hyperspeed deathmetal Melt Banana, all the sounds constantly shifting, the tempo changing, the rhythms colliding and hiccuping, occasionally coalescing into full on grooves, other times splintering into bursts of electronic freakouts, and there are serious hooks happening too, it doesn't seem possible that music like this could be listenable, let alone catchy, but it is. Big time. We'll be the first to admit, that the other Whourkr record was difficult listening, brutal and to many ears annoying, and yeah, the same might be said for Concrete as well, but the band are so much better now, in terms of composition and songwriting, that once you're immersed in their fucked up and freaked out soundworld, it becomes surprisingly easy to acclimate to the rapidly and constantly shifting sounds and rhythms, in order to enjoy the songs themselves. Plus the vocals seem to play a much larger role, not just howls and shrieks, there are plenty of clean vox, soaring almost operatic, low AND high, wrapped around frenzied riffing, wound up into spiralling psychedelic freakouts, or like the instruments, chopped into crazed stutterscapes.
Take the track "Santo", with its deep crooned vox and acoustic guitars, sounding almost like Circle, the electronic effects very subtle at first, before the track lurches into full on doom, the voices and guitars just slightly glitched, eventually giving way to gorgeous delicate piano, only to be obliterated by the next track "Skovsnails", a little burst of drums, and a crazy clipped main riff, it almost sounds like some insane DJ remixing Orthrelm, the song stutters and lurches and hiccups, totally frenetic and relentless. The record dips its toes into all sorts of weird sounds, loping moody electronic downtempo, albeit a little fractured, head spinning hyper grind, shot through with unlikely pop hooks, glitched out death metal, soaring slow building post rocky drama, and more Melt Banana-esque grind pop, but nothing here sounds thrown together, or hodge podge, this is a baffling collection of sounds, but one that is meticulously composed, performed and recorded, and for those in the market for something truly demented, insane, extreme and heavy, not to mention out-there, and pretty much entirely unlike anything you've ever heard before, be next to impossibly to top Whourkr. Definite contender for metal record of the year, even though calling it a metal record is selling it WAY short. Regardless, absolutely recommended. " - AQUARIUS RECORDS
"Concrete" aims at nothing less than committing aural assault. French duo Whourkr employ electronics and processed sounds for no other reason than to confront the listener with grinding, violent abrasive noise mixed with occasional, absurdly aggressive beats. This is for fans of those wondering why more fans of Suicide haven't formed bands given all the lethal equipment now available.
Contributing to your sweaty, frantic victimization are such tracks are "Mindgerb," "Santo," "Fatrubber" and Cera Pollutea," just two of the fourteen on this harrowing wind-tunnel of a sophomore disc.
Whourkr is relentless and confrontational, and in the extremity of the music here, an underlying glee at all the damage being done. "Concrete is a slab of hate and adrenalin, a raging mass of mashed-up sludge, metal, crust and field recordings from eternal punishment. You can dance to it at your firing squad. This is not for everyone, because it does not compromise. There is no breathing room, the dense but spastic assault forcing the listener to hold on or run away. There is no in between. - MUSIC EMISSIONS
"Whourkr (your guess on how to pronounce that is as good as mine, buddy) are a duo from France who could essentially be considered the Atari Teenage Riot of death metal. They favor recording avant-garde technical metal that is then butchered, chopped, remixed, subjected to perverse electronic processing, and grafted to blast-beat drum machine rhythms; the result is fourteen tracks of spastic electrodeath freakouts that frequently sound like several different songs playing at once, usually over an insanely fast beat and heavy, mutant riffs. Just in case that was too normal for you, the vocalist doesn't bother with actual words or phrases, he just howls and grunts and yodels like a human cyclone. Very, very few bands are really good at this -- Agoraphobic Nosebleed and the aforementioned ATR are the two that immediately come to mind -- but these guys know what they're doing. It helps that they obviously have fearsome technical chops and good instincts where the chopping and remixing is concerned. Another thing that sets them apart from a lot of similar acts is their willingness to incorporate elements other than just metal; there are passages of pure electronica, ambient, darkwave, and other non-metal forms of music, and sometimes these elements occasionally form something resembling actual song structures (not for long, true, but long enough to get your groove on, at least until they get bored and move on to more destructive forms of sonic immolation). Most of this blender-happy approach the music is built around really heavy jams, though, and the abrupt shift in tempo, dynamics, and styles just makes things all that more insane, especially when they start piling on the heavy riffs and wild, stuttering beats. This is the sound of amphetamine-addled hummingbirds turned loose in a studio filled with esoteric music samples and a fondness mainly for all things heavy. If you're down with the franctic scattergun approach to blender-metal, this is definitely worth checking out. - DEAD ANGEL
"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." - EMOTIONALLY VOIDED
"This is the catchiest album of stuttery, glitchy, drum-machine driven grindcore imaginable. Imagine Alec Empire-tinged digital violence mixed with the pop sensibilities of Mike Patton and Melt Banana, and you're close to the madness this French duo create. In "Slaagt," chopped and processed pig-gurgle vocals swirl around clipped guitar riffs, with drum machine blasts grunting underneath and then all of a sudden there is peace, a soaring operatic vocal line over piano and then again the song takes over, skittering drums and yelping vocals obliterating the calm. The entire album veers from extreme to extreme to extreme, constantly shocking your expectations, but never at the expense of cohesiveness or listenability. These songs chitter and squall like alien parasites, and nest in your fore-brain the same way. Highly recommended." - OUR CITY IS BURNING
"As a record label, Crucial Blast Records is always going to surprise you. The bands on the labelís roster, those that Iíve reviewed, anyway, over the last few years, are always going to challenge you as a listener. Regardless of what you may think of bands (a loose term with Crucial Blast) such as Trees, Gnaw Their Tongues, Noism, what have you, kudos to the label for putting out a different product. Nuclear Blast Records, this ainít.
Which leads me to Franceís Whourkr with Concrete, the first of a batch of albums from Crucial Blast to drop into my mailbox (once again, for better or worse). Concrete is the second full-length album from this French duo, and is yet another horrendously difficult listen, to say the least, from the label. Make no mistake; youíll recoil in horror upon your initial listen.
Whourkr play a bizarre version of death metal, grindcore, and cascading doom. But, hereís the rub. Whatever was actually played and recorded with actual instruments has now been broken upon into small chunks and has been rearranged into a bizarre amalgamation of techno/ electronica with a weird sense of reverb, operatic vocals, effects, and just plain old out and out screaming. And, thatís not all! There are even weird moments of jazz, mixed with effects, that somehow gives you the impression of crawling insects. If this doesnít make you queasy, you have a stronger stomach than I. If you absolutely must make some comparisons to give Whourkr any justice (my words here are not nearly enough to describe this ungodly mess), think GTT, Noism, and Diagnose: Lebensgefahr tossed into a blender and spit out through a mixing board.
Is this any good? Well, I managed to get through the album in one sitting (39 minutes), but I seriously doubt that Iíll revisit Concrete again. If you found any aspect of this review appealing in the slightest, youíll have to decide on Whourkr for yourself. Tread with care." - LIVE 4 METAL