OK, so here I’m sitting looking at the REALLY piss poor cover art of this little album called “Random” by a band going by the very appropriate moniker of HECTIC PATTERNS. Everything pointed to this album being very, well, random, and my crap-detect-o-meter was working overtime. At this point I wasn’t expecting very much from this album but as the old adage goes, never judge a book by its cover...
Right after the useless little intro (droning noise) this album kicks into high gear with a very Thrash-like riff before all hell breaks loose with flurries of furious and very discordant riffs flying in all goddamn directions. Usually this kind of OTT caffeinated Tech-Death Metal would irritate me to no end but these guys succeed where many of others in this field fail miserably: the riffs. The RIFFS! OK, these riffs aren’t elegant, particularly melodic or very classy but they are played with passion and, for the most part, they hit the spot. Perhaps it’s the serrated guitar tone or the strong Thrash undercurrent, but these riffs just carry the songs forward with ease, being utterly heavy, groovy, technical and fun all at once. Trust me, these Frenchies are bitchslapping MESHUGGAH at their own game on this album. This isn’t quite up to the same standard of BENIGHTED’s “Icon” album from last year, but these guys may very well be one of the best kept secrets in the relatively small French Death Metal scene. There’s a lot going on here, and since the band doesn’t really stay with one riff long enough to build and sustain some kind of atmosphere this probably isn’t some of the catchiest stuff around, but it’s all solid stuff that rarely meanders. Trust me, for a Technical Death Metal band that is quite an achievement. The Thrash onslaught of “Vaseline” and “Asylum”, the strangely Cajun-flavored “The Grand Hare Order”, or the musically ADD-riddled slice ’n dice of “Thailand” – all gold. The live production vibe also helps out quite a bit.
Cool thing is that with repeated listens this album just sucks less and less, and though I doubt this album will still see regular rotation in my player a year down the line it is a damn solid piece of Metal. I’m not disappointed at all, folks! Look past the questionable cover art and the daft (yet fitting) band name, and you’ll discover a very adept and bloodthirsty Death Metal machine at work, one that grooves the one moment and decapitates the next. Definitely a band Tech-Death heads should keep an eye out for then.
(Online August 15, 2008)