Chronique | Horskh - Body

Pierre Sopor 15 janvier 2024

Over the last ten years or so, the French industrial scene has been full of excitement: new, exciting and ambitious projects have emerged and, above all, won over their audiences. Shaârghot, Moaan Exis... and, of course, Horskh, who have taken great pleasure in overshadowing the headliners with whom the trio has toured in recent years (Igorrr, Carpenter Brut, Ministry, Perturbator...), as well as making their way into the playlists of French and international DJs. A bit like Sierra, Horskh is an export product and a certified crowd-pleaser.

A third album is a tricky business: Horskh is no longer a new sensation. They have proven themselves and are now expected to confirm the high expectations we have for them. In order to grow, the band has called on the services of the staple Thibault Chaumont for mixing and mastering BODY (he worked with Carpenter Brut, Igorrr, Shaârghot...) but doesn't shake up its habits either. BODY is Horskh through and through, something that goes fast, hits hard, doesn't dawdle along the way and gets straight to the point. Bastien Hennaut, brain, voice and soul of the project, was explaining the importance of efficiency in an interview with his side-project PØGØ. He likes short tracks that don't spread themselves too thin, these discharges of energy where nothing sticks out.

BODY is a tube machine: every track hits its target. It's impossible to resist the mechanical groove of Interface, the punk energy of XLungX, the impact of the monumental Turbine On and its futuristic martial atmosphere, or the menacing despair of Useless Animal. One of Horskh's great strengths is the vocals, so human despite the effects, and the different voices Bastien uses to embody the various characters in his futuristic universe. BODY takes current themes and approaches them from a futuristic angle (interfaces, AIs, bodies whose appearances obsess us but which mutate on contact with technology...). The merciless rhythms are the perfect echo of a world where it's important to be beautiful and productive, and where efficiency (again) is the law.

Yet  BODY is also ozzing humanity. We were talking about that infectious voice. Horskh claims an "industrial grunge" label: rather than the spleen of Alice in Chains, it's Nirvana's sense of catchiness that's been put through the machine mill here (imagine a cross between Kurt Cobain, a cyberpunk Nitzer Ebb and Combichrist, but boosted to modernity and epileptic agressivity), this way of transcribing visceral rage with a simple melody that's immediately seductive, going fast and hard while never forgetting to please the audience. The guitars have taken up more space in Horskh, so much the better, the riffs have gained in thickness and the discreet melodies bring a real relief, expressing a feeling (like alienation in Interface, for example). Horskh may be concise, but it doesn't mean it's rushed: beyond the immediate satisfaction of the big, irresistible sound, there's always this work on ambiences, these moments of respite within the tracks that create dizzying contrasts (the lulls of Do It before the authoritarian injunctions of the chorus, Distorted Again and the impression that the machine is spinning out of control at the end of the album).

With BODY, Horskh fine-tunes his sound: cathartic dances, futuristic fury, cyberpunk ambience. Screams, heavy bass and a vivacious, tortured human soul that lets its anger and frustration explode, all condensed into three minutes each time. The formula is right: Horskh have found a way to express themselves by combining modernity, richness and honesty. Above all, it's as hard-hitting as ever: this third album is an adrenaline rush that grabs you by the gut and immediately gives you that jubilant feeling of fullness. In short, they kick ass !