- Slamming industrial techno lacking in originality.
- Anyone older than 25 might find parts of the first album by I Hate Models, real name Guillaume Labadie, familiar. L'Âge Des Métamorphoses, a monstrous 93 minutes long, has hints of mid-'00s electro house scattered across its 12 tracks, so much so that parts could be mistaken for some forgotten Boys Noize banger. But the LP has more in common with electro house than just its sound. Its atmosphere is sometimes energetic and aggressive, and tends to evoke the same kind of reactions as Justice's music: people headbanging. Acts like these thrive on shock and awe, attacking dancers with heavily compressed synths and relentless drums. As we see on L'Âge Des Métamorphoses, that approach doesn't create music with depth.
Thanks to a string of popular tracks released since 2015, Labadie has become a poster boy for modern industrial techno. His tunes get hundreds of thousands of plays online (his biggest has topped two million), and his gig schedule puts him among dance music's busiest DJs. It's easy to see his appeal. He wears a bandana, plays tough music and shows people a great time. But there's something artless, even clichéd, about his approach, which is reflected in the sounds, track titles and imagery found on his records.
L'Âge Des Métamorphoses seems to capture the sound of a frustrated young man. The hints are in the track titles ("Impossible Love," "Sexual Tension," "Those Shiny Razor Blades") as much as the music, which hammers almost from beginning to end. Jacking tools ("Crossing The Mirror," "Fade Away") are bundled with more introspective moments ("You Are Not Alone"), but the overall mood is oppressive, as synths screech and groan above lead-footed grooves. This pulverising style has been mastered by artists as far back as British Murder Boys, and often with more nuance. Where the best tracks in this style travel to unexpected places, L'Âge Des Métamorphoses just slams. It's one-dimensional music presented as something deeper.
That's not generally true of Perc Trax, the label releasing L'Âge Des Métamorphoses. Arguably the best outlet continuing the tradition of UK industrial techno, it's run by a producer who engages with politics while making some of the slickest techno out there. But Perc also once said that he doesn't want techno "to be seen as angry, dark, male music," a view that seems at odds with Labadie's, whose past releases include 500 Lesbians In Irak, "Last Kiss Before Death" and "Kill The Models Industry."
L'Âge Des Métamorphoses is most original when Labadie moves away from industrial techno. "The Beginning Of The End" is a swirl of guitar and cascading synths, building to something powerful. "Forgiveness," one of the album's many tools, weaves through a range of moods, a satisfying exercise in tension and release. The same goes for "Eternity Is Burning," one of the brighter tracks. But that's not the case with the more straightforward tunes ("You Are Not Alone," "Fade Away"), which grind themselves into monotony.
That grind holds L'Âge Des Métamorphoses back. Whenever buzzsaw synths and rigid kicks are at an album's core, nuance is essential. Some industrial techno records have it, while others don't. L'Âge Des Métamorphoses is only original when it's not just hammering into your skull.
01. The Beginning Of The End
02. Crossing The Mirror
03. Impossible Love
04. You Are Not Alone
05. The Night Is Our Kingdom
06. Those Shiny Razor Blades
07. Partner In Crime
08. Romantic Psycho
09. Sexual Tension
11. Fade Away
12. Eternity Is Burning