(This is Vonlughlio’s review of the new album by the French death metal band Ad Patres, which will be released by Xenokorp on February 8th.)
The following write-up is a special one for me. It concerns a band whose sophomore release elevated the quality of their music, preserving the sound that made them special but also evolving after so many years since their first album into a group that has a lot more to offer their fans.
Ad Patres formed in 2008 in France and released a demo in 2010, a split with Writhing in 2012, and then a full-length entitled Scorn Aesthetics released via Kaotoxin Records (now XenoKorp) in 2012. I discovered the album in 2013 and became a fan right away, enjoying how straight-forward and vibrant the music was, and the way in which the instruments interacted cohesively without getting in each other’s way. The vocals were especially good, giving added life to the music in patterns that suited it so well.
I was able to see a live performance by the band, and holy shit, what you could hear on the album is what you got from the stage. They delivered a ferocious show with all their heart and soul, confirming them in fantastic fashion as one of my favorite French bands.
After their debut album I believed the band would get the recognition they deserved, but life and the music industry don’t always work that way (unfortunately). Nothing seemed to happen in the following years, and I thought that maybe the band were done. But in late 2018, more than six years after Scorn Aethetics, came the announcement that in 2019 Ad Patres would release their long-awaited sophomore effort, A Brief Introduction to Human Experiments. I’m not ashamed to say that it brought tears of joy to my eyes.
With nearly seven years between releases, the paramount question was “What would they sound like now?” Last November they released the single “Symbiosick“, and in some ways it was if they had succeeded in freezing time, keeping everything I had loved about them in that song. I thought that if the rest of the album sounded like this, it would have a great impact. Maybe it won’t come as a surprise, then, for you to know that when I received the promo for the full-length I yelled “Fuck yeah!!!!!!!” so loudly that I’m afraid my wife and son thought I’d gone mad.
I quickly lost myself in the album, and discovered that it displayed pure progression in a rather tasteful way, maintaining their original sound intact (which I had hoped for) but adding to it as well. The album clocks in at 34 minutes, just three more than its predecessor, and will keep you engaged the entire time, with its more organic sound growing more appealing with each listen.
The production and tuning allows you to listen to every guitar and bass note and follow their progression in the songs, while the drums have a natural sound, and their energy shines in each of the 10 chapters of A Brief Introduction…. As for the vocals, well, Axel Doussaud is a beast. The sound of his gutturals suits the music perfectly, and the flow of his patterns are well-executed; as before, they’re one my favorite aspects of this release.
To my ears, Ad Patres combine elements of brutal death metal and technical death metal, maintaining a great balance of both (and there’s no gratuitous guitar wankery here). They showcase how good and diverse the riffs are, while adding melodic touches as well. You may arrive at a different conclusion about the band’s stylistic ingredients, but either way, please give A Brief Introduction… a listen as soon as you’re able to.