Released: 2012, Kaotoxin Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Death metal, for me, has always been one of those genres of metal where it has to be sublime or it doesn’t tickle my fancy. It has always been for this reason that I have delved into the scene a lot more in the last couple of years and, to my delight, I have encountered some hard hitting, straight up, aggressive and incredible works. One of these, I have to say is the debut release from French death metal newcomers Ad Patres. Their debut effort “Scorn Aesthetics” shows a fantastic array of technical ability and brutality, but what else does it offer in terms of being a top album?
Having started in 2008 featuring musicians from the likes of Enthroned, people would have known to expect a first release that would act as a repetitive punch in the face to the listeners as soon as it was released. As it happened, 4 years later, Scorn Aesthetics surfaced on September 3rd 2012 and has not disappointed.
Indeed this album, for me, redefines modern death metal. Scorn Aesthetics has a relentless flow to it, which is a brilliant weapon for a band to have in their locker. If you like your metal without the unexpected clean vocals and the sudden breaks after the second chorus that make you feel like you’re in a smoke-filled Jazz club, then this is definitely an album for you. Axel Doussaud’s vocals never let up, ranging from high (ish) deaths to the lowest of grind vocals, it’s definitely the kind of music to put an angry, yet satisfied look on your face when listening.
The guitar work from Canard and Oliver Bousquet is, although a bit pedestrian at times, delightful hearing for ones ears, with some riffs that make me want to grow my hair for the first time in my life. However, the drumming, for me, is the standout feature of their sound. The mix of relentless double pedal, perfectly timed cymbal traps and change ups in speed, timing and tempo are just what death metal is, and should be, about.
The production of the album sounds very professional, the crisp drums and the crunching bass are a pleasant surprise, the overall sound will leave you in disbelief that this is their first album, the vocals sound clear and you can really embrace it as an album.
Having won me over in terms of individual talents and album production, what can we expect from Ad Patres? Are they one for the future? Or just another band who will join so many lost sound-alike’s who long to be like that of Decapitated and Vader?
I am personally a massive fan of albums with intro tracks, however this one for me seems pointless and a bit pedestrian with no real necessity in relation to the next song. If you are patient enough to wait a mere 26 seconds (alternatively hit the skip button) then you will be greeted by track number two “The Lock”. This track sets the scene for the album, and what a dark scene it appears to be.
The rapid drumming and shredding riffs open the door to the track, where inside you will find just under three minutes of crushing vocals, intricate guitar work including a solo, a crushing bass that stands out and drumming that may cause serious neck injuries. This is a recurring theme in the album which, although detracts from it’s diversity, has a nice flow. Having said that, there are some songs on the album which really stand out.
After listening to “The Lock” and half of Scars of Compromise (track 3) I was starting to wonder if I would be able to tell the difference between the songs when I’d finished the album, however in the middle section of Scars of Compromise comes a very nice melodic transition about two minutes in, whilst still maintaining it’s death metal presence, this I found impressive. The standout song for me has to be “To the Fathers”, admittedly the previous two songs sound similar to most of the album, but if you love your death metal you know how to judge an album of this genre. “To the Fathers” really defines Ad Patres’s intent as a band and explodes into action after some intense drumming and has one of the catchiest guitar hooks I’ve heard in the metal scene for a long time kicking in at around 41 seconds with the double pedal drumming to complement it perfectly. What makes the song (and the album) for me is the superb change at 1 min 49 sec where the tempo drops faster than a bad face lift, but those seemingly eternal pedals keep on going, making the atmosphere of the second half of the song second to none as they accompany a quite sublime guitar structured sound.
For me, the album falls into a small hole midway through the album, with the tracks “In Vivo” and “Emphasize Nihility” not really living up to the standard of the rest of the album, but luckily for the listeners the final track is a peach of brutality. “All That Remains” polishes off a well put together debut album clocking in at over 4 minutes. Ideally I’d have liked it if there were more songs that were pushing the 4 - 5 minute barrier, especially in this genre. The final track reminds the listener why they started to listen, and it gives the album an almost palindrome - like feel with one of their most diverse songs on the album, yet still maintaining brutality and complementing the overall structure of the album.
So, with that, the judge has his hammer in his hand and here is the verdict.
Would I buy the Ad Patres debut album, “Scorn Aesthetics”? Yes.
Do I think it is worth your hard earned money? Yes.
Overall this is a fine, refreshing debut effort which I am sure will be a steady platform which the band will build on and I am already looking forward to the band’s progression. The album is available from Kaotoxin who have worked with some great death and grind bands, and Ad Patres is definitely one of them.
While for now they may be lower in the food chain of death metal, “Scorn Aesthetics” shows great intent from the Frenchmen, and you can rest assure they will not stop there. For fans of Hate Eternal and Vader, Ad Patres may not be for everyone, but for this genre “Scorn Aesthetics” is a very positive release.
Review by Andrew May