French technical death metal quintet return after seven years, but with an affinity for wanting to descend into depravity.
Technical death metal is a genre that you'll either love or hate with a burning passion. While I can respect and show admiration towards some of the bands in the genre, it is one that I am personally very picky with. I can get down with OBSCURA, BEYOND CREATION and ULCERATE every once and a while, but for the most part those bands sound way too processed and clean to sound human. For the tech itch, I usually turn to older bands that had a weird angle like DEMILICH, GORGUTS, TIMEGHOUL or CRYPTOPSY and newer acts like BLOOD INCANTATION, ARTIFICIAL BRAIN, or CHTHE'ILIST. I like my tech death to have some murk and some grime. For the most part, AD PATRES straddle the line between both of these worlds.
With that said, AD PATRES caught me with my guard down from the opening of Mechanical Enlightenment. The track has the feel of a dirt covered Heartwork-era CARCASS track with production that wouldn't sound out of place on a late 90's NILE album. The crunch of the guitar is nicely mixed and the bass is audible enough. The vocals are not too guttural nor are they too melodic. The five men in this band had a vision in mind and they executed it in a very precise way. In a time where most death metal bands wants to play like INCANTATION (which isn't a bad thing), there seems to be a bit of a homogeneous sound, leading to death and death doom metal bands sounding like a re-recording of Mortal Throne of Nazarene for the millennial generation. AD PATRES skip past all of that and go for something much different. The band perform as a cohesive unit, playing tight and angular without being all over the place.
But you must be asking, what can I possibly use as a reference in sound? This band, in a slight sense, takes on the auditory blueprint of the sonic aspects of early DYING FETUS. Coming from France, I feel that this is where AD PATRES can claim a bit of neutrality. They don't have a regional scene with a massive dynasty on their backs (i.e., Florida, Sweden, Finland, Mexico, etc) and that gives them room to truly branch out into what they want without any preconceived notions. However, there were certain passages of the record that sounded great but could easily be a less ferocious DYING FETUS circa Grotesque Impalement or Destroy the Opposition. There is melody and brutal technicality, but it can seem a bit familiar and that might be where the album lacked in keeping me 100% engaged.
AD PATRES have a lot to look forward to as a band as long as they continue with a core vision that doesn't keep them from being just another tech death band. The fact that they're from France and have a lot to say can definitely be a major draw four cards situation to the rest of the world's death metal UNO game. Overall, the album didn't necessarily grab me by the balls but was still very enjoyable and comes very recommended to those who want a brutal tech death fix ala Dying Fetus and Suffocation without feeling like you are constantly being hammered to death. This album has blood and it flows with clear cut artistic precision as should any intro to human tinkering.
Overall score: 7/10
FFO: Dying Fetus, Carcass (Heartwork-era), Pungent Stench, Obscura and Suffocation
Pick up your copy of A Brief Introduction To Human Experiments via Xenokorp Records.