Infanteria – Patriarch 

Patriarch Album Cover Art

Infanteria – Patriarch 
Self-released

Release Date: 17/06/2022
Running Time: 44:00
Review by Rory Bentley 
9/10

I’m starting this review with a confession, there’s a few writers at Ever Metal that can kindly be described as ambivalent to Thrash. I won’t name and shame anyone but I will say that I’m amongst that particular contingent. Don’t get me wrong – I still love many of the big hitters from the early days, but I was never into the Thrash revival of the mid-2000s, nor am I enamoured by the old school also-rans that receive frothing acclaim because they’ve been around for ages. At its best, Thrash can turn me into a blur of limbs and torn neck muscles, but by and large I find it dull and predictable, to the point where I see high scores getting slapped on bang average chug fests and it makes me despair at the state of music writing.

When I got handed Infanteria’s “Patriarch” I asked Beth to check it out first to make sure I wouldn’t hate it! Contrary to popular belief I prefer to review things I’m likely to enjoy that inspire me to shout about how excited I am about it. After the boss did the canary down the mine routine for me, she gave me the green light and said it was right up my street. She was right!

Although Thrash is the fulcrum of this operation, the album amounts to so much more! There’s rousing melodies, elegant clean sections and drumming that regularly delves into Extreme Metal for that extra punch. ‘Burnt Relic’ and ‘Raging Bastards’ kick things off with a full tilt attack that sounds like prime Testament fronted by John Bush at the peak of his powers. There’s swagger, attitude and some face melting solos that are guaranteed to satisfy the Thrash faithful while throwing harsh vocals and enough technical nuance to hook in the more Prog-centric fan. It’s a rousing start but the best is yet to come.

‘Into the Depths’ ushers in our first taste of full blown Prog, with commanding lead vocals over lurching angular chugs before the drums let loose with every trick in the Metal book as labyrinthine rhythms and structures swirl around you and tip you off that you’re in for a wild ride. After melting the listener’s face off there is a genuinely beautiful interlude track in ‘All I’ve Ever Lost’ where Chris Hall proves beyond a doubt that he’s an excellent vocalist, crooning soulfully over an intricate acoustic composition that builds tension and transitions perfectly into the next epic.

‘Swansong’ feels like the album’s centrepiece in many ways and leaves no doubt that Infanteria are operating at a level way beyond hammering a palm muted E string. I got strong vibes of Dream Theatre’s “Train of Thought” album where they opted for a heavier approach, however the use of harsh vocals and a more robust clean voice do a far better job of scratching that itch when it comes to playing Prog with a bee in its bonnet. The melodic bass work and the refrain of the previous track’s main melody are the icing on the cake in a song that explodes with pure climatic aggression by the end.

‘Embrace the Trauma’ follows and steps on the gas as the perfect palate cleanser to hit you between the eyes before things build up again for the grand finale. But before we get to the title track there’s the treat of hearing everyone go into full Pantera shit-kicking mode for the triumphant outro of ‘Repent Through Orders You Seek’ which made me want to elbow drop my coffee table before I realised my wife would beat me up if I did. Full marks for doing this after giving me the same chills I get from Devin Townsend in the preceding mellower section!

‘Patriarch’ fittingly closes up this absolute home run with the most technical journey yet as tempos and riffs shift with rapid precision. Despite doing their damnedest to scramble your brain like it’s been chucked in a malfunctioning tumble- dryer, the band still manage to make everything super catchy and palatable and a million miles away from the self-indulgent noodling that makes Prog a hard sell to many fans. Just as the powerful climax leaves you gasping for air, those nimble flamenco guitars come back and end things on a soothing note as you sit there processing what the actual fuck just happened!

“Patriarch” is one of the biggest and most pleasant surprises I’ve had in my inbox all year, deftly strutting along the tightrope of Thrash and Prog and throwing all the best elements into a cohesive, impactful journey that has you gripped from the minute you push play. I find it incomprehensible that those who like modern, forward-thinking Metal that still tips its hat to the classic sound won’t devour this one with the ravenous hunger of a grizzly fresh out of hibernation. If you’ve got a hankering for Thrash that rips up the rulebook or Prog that punches harder than Mike Tyson on a plane, Infanteria are your first port of call  in 2022.

‘Embrace The Trauma’ Lyric Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Burnt Relic
02. Raging Bastards
03. Into the Depths
04. All I’ve Ever Lost
05. Swansong
06. Embrace the Trauma
07. Repent Through Orders You Seek

LINE-UP:
Tim Leibbrandt (Bass)
Chris Hall (Vocals & Guitar)
Adrian Langeveld (Drums)

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rory Bentley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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