Igorrr and Hieroglyph at Islington Academy, London - live review

Gallic absurdists unleash their delirium

Art for Igorrr and Hieroglyph live at Islington Academy, London

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Sonic batshitters Igorrr have been cult favourites since they augmented their avant-garde electronica with heavier elements on 2010’s Nostril. The recent release of their fifth record, Savage Sinusoid, has brought their demented music to brand new audiences, simultaneously cementing them as one of metal’s most unique propositions. As a result the room is packed even before HIEROGLYPH [7] take to the stage. Just a fortnight ago the band announced they were calling it a day, which is a real shame because their 2016 debut, Ouroboros, showcased a band with plenty of promise. Tonight’s gig is their farewell performance and the Leeds tech metallers are going out on a high. Sumptuous vocals from frontwoman Valentina Reptile intertwine with the harsher cleans and abrasive roars of co-vocalist Mark Howes on celestial, synth-driven melodies that give their progressive metal a radiant, mystical quality. It’s a bittersweet but triumphant last stand.

Over the years, IGORRR’s [9] stage show has evolved along with their sound. Gone are the days when band mastermind Gautier Serre would perform solo DJ-style sets with nothing but a laptop. Tonight he’s accompanied by his bandmates – opera singer Laure Le Prunenec, intriguingly painted vocalist Laurent Lunoir and drummer Sylvain Bouvier – and together they’ve turned the Igorrr experience into the absurd spectacle their music deserves. For the next hour, the crowd are split between raving to the Venetian Snares-esquebreakcore of opener Spaghetti Forever, waltzing to the accordion-heavy Excessive Funeral and banging heads to Viande’s monstrous riffs. And then there are the uninitiated who stand transfixed by the bizarre scene in front of them. Above the stage, behind his computer, Gautier controls a wildly unpredictable sonic chaos where Mayhem-influenced metal collides with relentless beats, sitars, baroque opera and Balkan folk. Laurent represents the bare-chested, brute force behind Igorrr’s aggressive inclinations, segueing between bombastic bellows and painfully eviscerating shrieks. Laure, however, proves to be the star of the show. Her operatic vocals portray a haunting beauty amidst the technical and extreme side to Igorrr’s avant-metal. Her dancing lands somewhere between swan-like ballet and violent, interpretive twitching. It’s the very definition of disorder: entertaining as hell, exhausting to watch and proof of how limitless and thrilling heavy music can be when you’re prepared to push boundaries and remove the genre boxes.

Dannii Leivers

Danniii Leivers writes for Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog, The Guardian, NME, Alternative Press, Rock Sound, The Line Of Best Fit and more. She loves the 90s, and is happy where the sea is bluest.