Horskh - Gate
French duo Horskh first released the acclaimed Dawn EP in 2014, which showcased their now signature style of hard-hitting dance beats, club ready synth and the punk-tinged vocals of Bastien Hennaut.
It seems since then they’ve been hard at work refining their sound as the pair have just released my favorite album of 2017 with Gate, a genre-bending masterpiece melding the heaviness of industrial and unabashed fun of electro. A true exercise in alchemy, there are strong elements of EDM, aggrotech, and even dubstep sprinkled throughout the twelve tracks, evidence of the diverse influences that went into creating something both challenging and outright infectious. Maintaining a steady identity across such a roster is no easy feat, but they make it feel effortless.
Best of all, nothing is played safe. Gate goes balls to the wall, a proud, almost rebellious proclamation of fun. It’s a high (and I do mean HIGH) energy, confident debut; this album was made to make you move, it works, and it knows it.
To put it simply, it’s the best damn dance album I’ve heard in a long, long time.
The opening track 'Victim' is arguably the sexiest song on the record, a sleek but heavy number made for the dance floor. There are moments where Hennaut seems to channel Marilyn Manson with low, rumbling vocals, an interesting contrast to the brash singing present on most of the album. 'Stay Ready (To Feel the Storm)' is a glitchy, angsty jam with strong Mindless Self Indulgence vibes. The punchy bass and percussion, layered effects and harsh screaming come together to create a song that’s edgy and rude in the best way. My only complaint with this one is the length; at two minutes and eight seconds, it left me wanting a lot more. Another surprising favorite is 'Through the…', the album’s closer. I say “surprising” since I’m generally not excited by instrumentals, but this track is packed full of the clanging, drilling, grinding sort of machine worship that keeps me going.
To call Gate ambitious would be a gross understatement; this album does not merely aim for the stars, it sets course into uncharted territory. Hennaut’s vocals deserve special commendation, lending the extra edge that I believe pushes Gate to the next level.
I defy you to sit still while listening to this album. I’m still stomping.
May 27 2017
Kelli is a full-time creep and part-time writer. She lives in Tennessee.
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