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For whatever reason, time usually being the main one, I sometimes let reviews slip through the cracks. By that I mean that I fully intended to write one, have listened to the album and whatnot, yet I didn’t get around to it as soon as I would have liked. That is the case with Ad Patres ferocious album, Scorn Aesthetics, which was released by Kaotoxin Records back in February. This is a further confounded by the fact that the French label has yet to release anything that I have not liked. Ah well, better late than never, right?
Onto the case in hand and that being Scorn Aesthetics which is, aside from being a great name for an album, a monstrous slab of death metal. The band itself was created by Alsvid, who you may know from French black metal exponents, Seth, and Scorn Aesthetics is their debut album, after having release an EP and split album. And it’s a beast.
What Ad Patres have delivered on this album is an almost claustrophobic sense of being smothered by the sheer weight of the music. A short intro, entitled … launches straight into The Lock, and its deep throaty death metal vocals, tight riffing and blistering drumming all the way into the darkness.
The pace of Scorn Aesthetics is a fairly brisk one, with the entire album running to about 30 minutes or so, but that’s not to say that Ad Patres don’t mix it up. Sure, the drumming thunders along, most of the time, but such is the musicianship and songwriting that nothing sounds repetitive. By the time you reach the punch of In Vivo you’ll have been given a good solid beating, and you’ll still have three more tracks to go!
Fortunately, the production here is pretty damned good, so even though the music smothers you, throws you in a sack and beats you around the head, everything sounds great in the mix. No one element overpowers another, with each musician being given ample room to flex their muscles, allowing the songs to shine.
Scorn Aesthetics delivers the more brutal and, dare I say, old school approach to intensely fast technical death metal. However, aside from the more intricate parts there is plenty of room for good old-fashioned heavy-as-hell riffing. It’s all very good and definitely needs to be played loud!
If you haven’t had the chance to check out Ad Patres yet, this is the perfect opportunity as this is a killer album. Fast, heavy as fuck and totally unforgiving.
Among the legions of death metal bands in today's day and age, very few manage to capture the essence of the genre's roots and reinvigorate them into a fresh and vigorously modern sound. Death metal has progressed throughout the years into a multitude of various sub-genres with a wide array of different extremes, approaches, and flavors of exotic themes, playing styles, and presentations. Few bands have managed to stay true to the genre's classic sound without being considered a tribute to the "old school" or persuasive enough to trademark the simplicity of death metal's original structure as a modernized architecture rather than a base foundation. However, one band has proven themselves exceptionally talented at revitalizing the genre's core elements and presenting them in a way that is not only modern, but surpasses the efforts of the more experimental and technical efforts of today's contemporaries.
Ad Patres are a young French band that knows their roots all too well and has mastered themselves into purveyors of crushing brutality. Founded in late 2008 and after releasing a demo and being featured on a split with U.S. death band Writhing, Ad Patres unleashed Scorn Aesthetics, their full-length debut in late 2012. Scorn Aesthetics captures a band in peak form with an arsenal of top-shelf death metal compositions. Packed with the ferocity of rapid-fire artillery, the album clocks in just over the thirty-minute mark with not one second wasted. Scorn Aesthetics is a loaded cannon of punchy guitar riffs, blast beat percussion, breakdowns and exceptional death vocals with the power to devastate far and wide. Hordes of fans are sure to appreciate the band's capabilities as well as find a comforting simplicity in their approach.
Although Scorn Aesthetics is Ad Patres' debut, the band presents themselves as a fluid, well-rounded group with an album that is as adhesive as it is memorable. There is a very nice quality of thickness and balance within the record's mix, and each song is compellingly forged. Every song on Scorn Aesthetics is worthy of honorable mention; however, a few highlights include: "Scars Of Compromise", and "Anti". While the approach to crafting their music is nothing new, it is the sum of their parts that make Ad Patres such a special band that stands above the rest. One could compare the band's sound to the likes of Sinister, Krisiun and Decapitated and while the former are all well-established acts, it is only their age that separates them from Ad Patres.
There is no debating Ad Patres is an excellent band with no place to go but up. Undeniably, Scorn Aesthetics is a valid and exceptionally crafted work. In the ever changing, rapidly evolving world of extreme metal, Ad Patres have offered up an album firmly rooted, however, of its own species. The band is hauntingly familiar, yet blasts of unique freshness. It will be interesting to see how this band evolves. No doubt, they are a very talented bunch you can expect to (thankfully) hear a lot more from. For now, Scorn Aesthetics is a perfect debut sure to please the masses. Fans of the more technical, avant-garde and experimental new waves of extreme metal may sadly overlook this release, but they will be few and unfortunately missing out on what may be one of the better albums in recent times.
***Originally written for and by www.deathportal.net
When I was in Tilburg to play Mario's Metal Meeting I remember hearing from other bands and people at the show that individuals in the Netherlands were very critical of musical technicality. At the time, I remember that making total sense because thinking of bands like Iniquity and Sinister I figured that interest in technical prowess would translate to other metal genres as well - in my case Traditional Metal. Let me just say that France's Ad Patres would go over quite well in that country judging on their expert musicianship which is by far the band's best attribute on their debut release Scorn Aesthetics. They are but one of many Death Metal bands of the style in the nation of late and Death Metal seems to be a huge trend in France while in many other countries it seems the genre has been dropping in popularity. Maybe my observation is wrong but Ad Patres is just another one of these Death Metal projects from France which will get little attention outside of the country.
The artwork on the album is a blur of reds and blacks and is geared to appeal to no one except those that would want another album in the collection with a disjointed cover featuring a skull, conjoined bodies, a hung human peering out of a window and some lovely smelling incense to hopefully mask what must be a god-awful odor in that tiny five inch square room that is the album cover. The rest of the album's inner sleeves follow in kind except for the band photo which is in black and white. The quintet could either be Ad Patres or a photoshopped picture of a college biology class during a black out. The rest of the booklet has the lyrics which I have no interest in reading because the vocals on the album are about as dull as death metal vocals can get and I would have no desire to scream them out with vocalist Axel Doussaud. Either way, a quick glance at songs like "The Lock" reveal lyrics that probably weren't worth being printed; "I will dig your fucking grave, I will kill you with my own hands." Blah Blah... it's the same crap that the Jamaican dude I work with comes up with to stereotypically mock Heavy Metal as a whole.
Musically, the album contains two halves split by the dying patience of myself. While the album starts strong with "The Lock", "Scars of Compromise" and "To The Fathers," afterwards the album teeters off. It's not that the songs are any different - they're not - but all the band's creativity is available on display early on and the backside of the album leaves little surprises and engagement. The whole album sounds like a combination of Krisiun with some slowed spots - the more interesting moments - taking cues from Decapitated's Organic Hallucinosis. Leads appear on several tracks and rekindle memories of listening to Necrophagist though here, the leads are much more interesting since they aren't fighting tooth and nail within a song that was essentially just one long guitar fracas to begin with. Best track for me though is "Scars of Compromise," which contains a refreshing interlude about halfway into the song that cuts the blasting and blabbering genericism down a notch with some drawn out atonality and mixed drum beats. The problem with a lot of the tracks here though is that they don't actually seem to go anywhere and come off as a collection of cool - and not so cool - tremolo riffs with mundane blast beats beneath. At this stage in the game it just doesn't interest me that much but I'd tell everyone who just can't get enough death metal that they wouldn't have to work hard to head bang to Scorn Aesthetics.
Originally written for Contaminated Tones
It might not be the most impressive death metal I've heard in recent months, but Ad Patres' full-length debut Scorn Aesthetics is sure to place the French newcomers square on the radar of a wide cross-berth of genre fans due to its level of polish and flexibility. Combining traits of their defunct countrymen Yyrkoon with the thrust of Polish pummelers like Behemoth and Hate, the surgical aptitude of early Pestilence or their Dutch peers Sinister, and a bevy of brutal, old school tremolo picking sequences that careen and collide throughout the album's clinical, pervasive darkness, there's something here that just about any morgue employee can grasp onto, and the performances are razor sharp even if the band's overall sound isn't the most distinct.
The guitar tone used here is very crisp, trading potential muscle for rapid fire penetration and emaciated savagery redolent of the first Pestilence record, Mallevs Maleficavm if it were saturated in the more contemporary riffing structures of, say, the latest Suffocation album. The riffs aren't intensely memorable or original, but they're constantly flying at an accelerated clip and shifting from muted transitions to harried grooves. What's more, the Frenchmen create excellent lead bridge sequences which amplify the mood and atmosphere of each track, the leads dowsed in just enough reverb and effects to chill the listener amidst the more busied but less frightening verses and breakdowns. The drums here are totally on point, the feet just as fast as the hands for the varied blast and double bass sequences, and loads of fills being fired off at available opportunities without cluttering the composition. I didn't pick up a ton of bass guitar in the mix, but if you pay closer attention you can hear that the guy is just as acrobatic as the guitarists, even if his lines don't really veer away from the primary patterns.Vocals are a pretty standard grunt circa Glen Benton, David Vincent and Frank Mullen; nothing outstanding, but dynamic and fast enough to match the musical endeavor.
The mix is also well suited to the writing: you can really pick out the percussive nature of the guitars, which often create a thrashing texture. It was interesting to read that a few of the members have experience with the black metal group Seth, at least the drummer, whose incredible persistence certainly could carry over form that field. Song quality was consistent throughout the 32+ minutes, with a few like "Emphasize Nihility" and "Scars of Compromise" mildly catchier than others, but overall I did feel there was some sameness and redundancy involved, if not for actual patterns of repetition then just similar structures in several of the riffs. They're not the catchiest band, but if you give yourself over to their unapologetic manhandling, you're sure to come away from this impressed. The French have long had a great scene for this style, and while Ad Patres might not feel so 'progressive' as Carcariass or Gorod, or as brutal and brawl-worthy as Benighted, they have delivered here a solid and sadistic introduction to their manic violence.
In 2010, esteemed French black metal drummer Alsvid (ex-Seth, , Enthroned) assembled a group to indulge his love of precise, technical death metal, and following a Mathieu Pascal (Gorod) produced demo recording and an appearance at the mighty Hellfest, ‘Scorn Aesthetics’, their debut full-length, represents the full fruits of their labour.
After a brief and fairly forgettable atmospheric intro, ‘The Lock’ rages into view like a tight, well-oiled killing machine, spewing out early Decapitated style fretboard acrobatics left, right and centre. Indeed, the influence of records like ‘Winds Of Creation’ and ‘Nihility’ is evident throughout this album, with the syncopated chugging of ‘To The Fathers’ and the aptly titled ‘Emphasize Nihility’ following firmly in the footsteps of the Polish legends. Alsvid’s precision drumming is a highlight, with a tight, crisp snare sound that manages to escape the sterile sound that has a tendency to neuter a lot of modern death metal (although unfortunately, the same can’t be said for his overly mechanical sounding kickdrums). The guitars have a very crunchy, clinical tone; anyone expecting thick, sweaty, Entombed-style beefiness will be disappointed, but they definitely do the technical riffs justice, emphasising the intricacies of many of the more complex passages here. There are even some shimmering, melodic leads thrown in for good measure too. The bass is largely drowned out in the mix, aside from the gloriously sinister spider-like bass work that creeps in towards the end of ‘Circles Of Red’. The bassist evidently has some chops on him, so it seems a little odd that these weren’t utilised more often. Despite sounding a tad generic, newcomer Alex Doussaud puts in a fine vocal performance, with a number of very strong gurgles and lower register ferocity that suits the band well.
Whilst the band sound exceptionally tight, especially as this is only their first full-length, it also seems like they are yet to fully find their own voice, with nothing in particular to distinguish them from the hordes of like-minded death bands currently doing the rounds. That said, they have enough decent riffs under their belts to ensure that this doesn’t turn into a sterile snoozefest, and the handful of interesting ideas the band uses don’t hurt either. ‘Scars Of Compromise’ and ‘To The Fathers’ both utilise some pretty intriguing melodic variations, and the title track has a kind of darkly regal feel, reminiscent of Hate Eternal’s menacing onslaught, but for the most part this is fairly standard stuff.
Despite its forthcomings, this is still a pretty damn solid modern death metal album. If you find yourself a little disappointed with Decapitated’s continued transformation into a kind of Meshuggah-lite, then these guys could well be the band you’re looking for, but if you’re turned off by some of the more mechanical characteristics of contemporary tech-death then this probably won’t do much to change your mind.
Originally written for http://rawnervezine.co.uk/