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.

Interview with INFANTERIA

Infanteria Logo

Interview with INFANTERIA
Interviewed by Beth Jones

Hi Everyone, welcome to a slightly tweaked EMQs interview with Progressive Thrash Metal band, Infanteria, whose new album, “Patriarch” is out today. Check out our review of it here:

Please introduce yourselves, tell us what you play, and tell us all about Infanteria.

Chris – I’m Chris, Guitarist and Vocalist for Progressive Thrash Metal band Infanteria. Tim plays bass guitar with Adrian rounding things off on drums. We formed back in 2005 with 3 albums under our belt thus far. Our new album, Patriarch, is out everywhere on 17 June 2022.

Please tell us about where you are from, and what the Metal Scene is like there?

Chris – We’re all originally from Cape Town, South Africa, however I moved over to the UK a few years back. Compared to the scene in places like the UK, South Africa’s metal scene is tiny, but it’s a really passionate crowd with an awesome sense of community. Living in South Africa is certainly turbulent and getting your angst and anxiety out at a metal show is the perfect release – I truly feel that’s a massive factor to the energy of the shows in SA compared to other countries.

Please tell us about your new single ‘Embrace The Trauma’ and album ‘Patriarch’

Chris – It’s the fastest and most straight-to-the-point song on the album with a great gang vocal chorus hook and it made sense to put it out as the first single. Our fans haven’t heard from us in ages, and we wanted to give them an energetic, no-frills introduction to the album before they hear the twist and turns on the rest of the tracks.

How did you come up with the album name ‘Patriarch’?

Chris – The theme of the album is control and what people can manifest when they feel they’ve lost control or in full control. This is put across through family traditions/expectations; cancel culture; broken relationships; tribal vs individual identity and other scenarios in the lyrics. At the end of the day, we are the rulers of our own destiny and our very own patriarch. It’s a strong, thought-provoking title and every metal album needs one of those.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Tim: From a bass perspective, Cliff Burton, Troy Sanders, Steve Harris and, on this album, I tried to channel a bit of Martín Méndez.

Adrian: Definitely all the power drummers of the 80’s & 90’s. Ulrich, Lombardo/Bostaph, Benante, Hoglan, Menza, Nicko McBrain & Vinnie Paul stand out among many. 2000’s and beyond favourites are Per Møller Jensen, Aquiles Priester, Eloy Casagrande, Mike Portnoy & Dirk Verveuren to name a few.

Chris: Hetfield, Mustaine & Chuck Billy will always be the forefathers of influencers for me. Add a little Sylosis, Mastodon, Opeth, Iron Maiden & Pantera for good measure.

What first got you into music?       

Tim: My dad’s Led Zeppelin boxset, Danny Elfman’s 1989 Batman score, and the Command & Conquer: Red Alert soundtrack.

Adrian: I’m from a musical family, so jamming with my parents since I was 6 years old on piano really developed my love for music in general. Discovering amazing rock n roll artists in my older brother’s music collection definitely helped too.

Chris: I come from quite a musical family – my great-grandmother was a professional opera singer, and my mom sang in the Cape Town Choir. My Uncle and older cousin used to play guitar and sing old Beatles and 70s classics at all the big family events, and I remember music always being a constant throughout my childhood.

My dad got me into Queen and Elvis when I was about 8 and I really dug the power, musicality, and speed of the music. When I was 12/13, my oldest friend, Giorgio, played Metallica and Guns N Roses for me and handed me his older brother’s new electric guitar to chug on and the rest is history.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician, who would it be?

Tim: Rammstein.

Adrian: Beast In Black

Chris: Josh Middleton (Sylosis, Architects)

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Tim: Hellfest. Can you imagine having an artist pass with the 2022 lineup?? Good lord.

Adrian: Hellfest (with the condition that I get to play and attend the entire fest). I’d be dead by day 4 just from the pure excitement. Close 2nd would be 70,000 Tons of Metal. Who doesn’t like a nice Caribbean cruise ship holiday while getting to play to a great audience?

Chris: I’ve always been keen on Bloodstock Open Air in the UK. They always have amazing line-ups and I’ve been meaning to go there as a fan for ages – would be perfect to play there too!

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Tim: Accidentally getting us banned from streaming platforms for a while. But we still love the guy.

Adrian: Nothing yet to my dismay. I hope to receive several strange offerings soon \m/

Chris: I honestly can’t think of anything in particular!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Tim: Eat your greens.

Adrian: Peoples’ time is such a precious commodity these days, so thank you for choosing to spend some of that valuable time listening to our music ^_^

Chris: Thank you so much for sticking by us and helping us fly the flag! Enjoy the new album and hope to see you soon! Keep supporting metal bands as best you can.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Tim: It must be Cliff Burton for me. Or Chris Cornell.

Adrian: Dimebag. Or Lemmy.

Chris: Dimebag. One more Pantera album with the guys at their mature prime would be perfection. RIP to an absolute legend.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Tim: Playing live is the absolute best part, when everything is flowing and you’re locked-in with your bandmates and the audience, the experience is transcendental. I hate playing by myself at home.

Adrian: That special moment jamming (studio or live) where something just “clicks” and you look at each other and feel that electricity. Pet hate is 10-minute changeovers with no opportunity for a decent soundcheck >_<

Chris: Playing live to a full crowd who are fully into what they are hearing is hard to beat. The writing process is so rewarding though, there is no better high than writing a riff/beat/vocal line/piece that gives you butterflies and goosebumps when you listen to it back. Priceless.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Tim: Streaming royalties.

Adrian: Having more support and relief avenues globally for artists and musicians which are smaller or mid-range to weather storms like the last 2 and a half years have been. I’ve seen the devastation of the pandemic on friends who are professional entertainers, and we can’t have that happen again.

Chris: It’s insatiable appetite for overly promoting bad “commercial” music rather than giving hard working talent the resources and exposure everyone deserves.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Tim: Mastodon- “Blood Mountain”

Adrian: Megadeth – “Youthanasia”

Chris: Metallica – “… And Justice For All”

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, or Downloads?

Tim: It depends on the context, all of them have their place and things that they do better than the others (except maybe cassette ha ha ha!). As a physical object, vinyl for sure. For general listening, it’s hard to beat the convenience of streaming/downloads. But there’s nothing like trawling through an old box of records/CDs or perusing the shelves of music stores for hidden treasures.

Adrian: Suppose it depends on the situation. Downloads are most convenient, especially with the space saving it provides. I’d still have to say my preference is CD. My physical music collection exists pretty much 99% in CD format.

Chris: I’m all about the recent vinyl resurgence and have a turntable and an ever-expanding vinyl collection. They sound excellent and album artwork always looks 100 times better on an LP than a small CD or cassette. I still have all my CDs but wouldn’t choose to buy one nowadays with vinyl back on the shelves.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Tim: Ramfest when we opened for Killswitch Engage and Trivium, and Corey Beaulieu scampered to the side of the stage to watch us jam Holy Wars. The Gandalfs Farewell gig holds a special place in my heart too, partially because of the strong emotions at that show (saying goodbye to a legendary Cape Town venue), and because it felt like we absolutely ripped that night.

Adrian: The one that sticks in my mind the most was the album release show for Where Serpents Conquer. Energy was off the charts and just felt unstoppable.

Chris: Ramfest 2014 is hard to beat. Opening for both Trivium and KSE on the same night in front of an amazing crowd was a dream come true. I’d choose that show over Wacken 2013 just because our performance was better. Playing in front of over 8000 people in Germany was life changing.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Tim: Being a musician exclusively is a rare thing these days, but if I wasn’t thinking about music at all, I’d devote more time to filmmaking and naps.

Adrian: I’d love to sell musical instruments if I wasn’t actively making music. That or run a guesthouse or Airbnb business.

Chris: Life would be exceedingly boring without music in my life but becoming an expert pizza maker would be close second.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Tim: Adrian has spent a lot of time pondering this over the years, and probably has a super profound answer. I’ll keep my bad answer at living people: Bruce Campbell, David Lynch, Kirk Hammett, Donald Glover, and Carol Kaye.

Adrian: Only 5??? I have a massive list of living people (constantly updating) who I’d love to have over for dinner. Impossible to narrow it down, so taking a random sample. They include David Attenborough, Shigeru Miyamoto, Terry Crews, Roger Federer, Alice Cooper.

Dead list is probably a little shorter. They would be Neal Peart, Desmond Tutu, JRR Tolkien, Dr Christiaan Barnard, Stan Lee

Chris: James Hetfield, Ricky Gervais, Joe Rogan, Eric Cantona and Liam Gallagher. Biblical.

What’s next for Infanteria?

Chris – Our new album, Patriarch, comes out on 17 June and we’re buzzing for everyone to hear it. Things are still in-the-air with plans after we release as I live in the UK and the rest of the guys are in South Africa, so we’ll see what comes our way. We’ll definitely continue to write music though.

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Chris: You don’t get Jaffa Cakes in South Africa! I’ve had them in the UK though and I’d say they’re more a cake than a biscuit … surely not crumbly enough!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Chris: Thanks so much for having us and we hope you all enjoy our new single ‘Embrace the Trauma’, which comes out on 3 June and the new album ‘Patriarch’ on 17 June. Follow all our socials for more info https://linktr.ee/infanteria

Infanteria Promo Pic

Infanteria is a three-piece Progressive Thrash Metal Band from Cape Town, South Africa and Manchester, UK. Currently independent, the band released two studio albums with Burning Tone Records, with their third album, ‘Patriarch’, due for release Friday 17 June 2022. Formed in 2005 by Vocalist & Guitarist Chris Hall, and his brother Rob, Infanteria managed to thrash through the high school party years to release their 2013 debut ‘Isolated Existence’. The release saw Bassist Tim Leibbrandt join the fold, propelling the band to win the Wacken Metal Battle South Africa Competition that year, affording them the opportunity to play at the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany alongside Rammstein, Motörhead, Meshuggah, and many more!

Upon their return to South Africa, the band was direct support for Killswitch Engage and Trivium at Ramfest SA 2014. The following year, their critically acclaimed sophomore album ‘Where Serpents Conquer’ was released with Adrian Langeveld taking over behind the Drums. The group subsequently enjoyed extensive touring of South Africa. With Chris emigrating to the UK in early 2020, and the arrival of the pandemic, sessions for the band’s next album were put on hold. Two years later, the Thrash Metal Trio is now set to return, revitalised and ready to unleash ‘Patriarch’, their long-awaited third album. A mature expansion on their previous releases, ‘Patriarch’ shows the full development of Infanteria’s progressive metal sound from hardcore crossover runaways like ‘Embrace the Trauma’ to rich sonic opuses such as ‘Swansong’.

LINKS: