KaetsHailing from Châtellerault in the heart of mid-western France, modern metal five piece Kaets mix the sounds of thrash and death metal, promising a heavy, intense and precise burst of controlled aggression in musical form. Having released a demo back near the turn of the decade, the five piece are finally set to unleash their debut, “Human Machine” on the metal world. Telling a story of someone becoming a hybrid of human and machine and giving into their subconscious desires and hallucinations, the theme and approach teases at a delivery, but can it deliver or will the machine need repairing?

Getting the feeling of a concept album, I wasn’t too sure about this at first given the last concept album I reviewed was abysmal (Seriously, just stop Geoff Tate!) and as you may have guessed by now, there will be some scorn poured on the pointless intro track which is just instrumental sampling which swells in volume… I repeat this point often, but tracks like these, unless they are specifically designed to enhance the story, just stop doing them people! After the pointless track “Log In”, we finally get to the real tracks. Nine tracks of relentless death metal with some big thrash and groove undercurrents to it.

Most of the tracks sound similar. They have the same basic structure and elements to their sound – the raw and harsh vocals which skirt around the edges of At The Gates and The Haunted territory whilst the musical delivery itself is tight, precise and decisive. Pounding rhythm work, cutting guitars and that heavy sterile sounding guitar tone all combine with the vocal venom to create a real well rounded modern death metal sound. There isn’t much in way of lead work in terms of recognisable guitar solos but there is good use of melodic phrasing which does give the riff-based onslaught some edge to it.

Sounding similar to their label mates Scarred, Kaets have a real tight delivery with plenty of strong vocal work, but much like Scarred, sometimes it doesn’t really hit the spot when it counts. A lot of the tracks are good examples of groove laden death metal with some incredible precision in terms of the delivery but whilst solid examples, they lack that spark which makes them really come to life and with this type of metal, it can either help or hinder a band. Luckily it doesn’t hinder Kaets too much. Sure you get the feeling of familiarity as you listen to the album, but tracks like “The Last Dance” which has a hell of a lot of atmospheric changing progressions and a real explosive section which comes in suddenly, and the thrashy groove laden “Fucking Rain” which follows it, these two tracks really stand out and show just what this act is capable of when it breaks from its tried and tested formula.

Overall, a good but repetitive album. Kaets are proficient at what they do, no denying that, but sometimes a band or album needs that extra kick or spark to really make it stand out in what has become a very familiar sounding musical subgenre. Still, it’s worth a listen.

(7/10 Fraggle)