"This is the kind of ambition and vision needed to push techno forward, especially in our days, when the term ‘business techno’ seems to have become more than just an inside joke"
Ever since the release of the ‘Warehouse Memories‘ EP in 2016, I Hate Models has been ranking high on the watchlist of many modern techno lovers. And it’s true that the young French artist, real name Guillaume Labadie, has been putting together some of the most complex and beautiful music of the genre lately.
Largely superior to the industry standards in both creative, innovative terms, IHM compositions shine through their finely woven dramatic narrative – never shy to try out extreme combinations, such as that of the trance-infused, melody centred ‘Totsuka No Tsurugi‘ EP or through the industrial heavy ‘Midnight Cults‘ 12″.
At the end of 2018, I Hate Models debuted on Perc Trax with ‘Spreading Plague‘, a chrome-coloured acidic banger of cyberpunk brutality, which felt like a step further in the advancement of his sound. Just over six months later, Labadie returns to the imprint with his debut full-length, ‘L’Âge Des Métamorphoses’, a massive triple LP package exploring the vistas glanced on his previous outings in greater depth.
The 12-track album offers variations of hard-hitting drums, uptempo rushes and unrelenting rhythmic aggression – the latter certainly bearing influence, leastwise the overall sounds and mood, which shall please Perc Trax fans and the likes effortlessly.
‘The Beginning Of The End’ is an ideal opener, with its haunting ambient backgrounds, remarkable drum arrangements and guitar chords joining the dots to an enticing intro. ‘Crossing The Mirror’ is the no-nonsense continuation to IHM’s epic blast-off underway. All in all, this is techno for all ages: it has the loud bangs, marching beat, armour-like toughness, tied with a much satisfying pack of melodic tropes that includes eerie vocal echoes and mystique-imbued synthlines.
Past the second track, the album begins to wander off into uncharted places. The noise-driven ‘Impossible Love’ shifts the tempo quite vividly, sweeping an erratic heartbeat pulse on the dancefloor. ‘Partner In Crime’ is almost like a variation on the theme, though this time the atmosphere deserves more attention than the rhythm itself.
‘Those Shiny Razor Blades’ shows two sides of a coin at once: there is the fascinating technique of the gritty, edgy beat construction of a flawless buildup in the first five minutes, and then come five minutes of colourful development, suffused with more delicate melodies. These ideas are systematically repeated throughout the album, and eventually a new trademark of I Hate Models’s sound emerges.
While ‘L’Âge Des Métamorphoses’ second half pretty much feels a monolithic block, the artist’s creativity really shines brighter on some occasions. ‘Forgiveness’ might be the tension-releasing moment of that long journey. Starting as heavy an affair as its companions, it takes an unsuspected bend around the two-minute mark, letting some heavenly melodies in as a breeze of cooling air, resulting in the closest attempt to match Totsuka No Tsurugi’s trance brilliancy. Capping it off, ‘Eternity Is Burning’ is the ideal album closer, suitably futuristic and nodding nostalgically to the bygone golden age(s) of techno music.
The year’s best-debut buzz around this one is warranted; ‘L’Âge Des Métamorphoses’ is undoubtedly a stunning album. Clocking in at almost 94 minutes, it is also one of the most lengthy. Maybe a little less would have meant even more, but still, I Hate Models makes quite the statement with this album. This is the kind of ambition and vision needed to push techno forward, especially in our days, when the term ‘business techno’ seems to have become more than just an inside joke.
‘L’Âge Des Métamorphoses’ is scheduled for release 21 June via Perc Trax. Order a copy from Bandcamp.
A1. The Beginning Of The End
A2. Crossing The Mirror
B1. Impossible Love
B2. You Are Not Alone
C1. The Night Is Our Kingdom
C2. Those Shiny Razor Blades
D1. Partner In Crime
D2. Romantic Psycho
E1. Sexual Tension
F1. Fade Away
F2. Eternity Is Burning