Kommandant
The Architects of Extermination

Strap on your gas mask and be attentive for the air raid siren, citizens.  The enemy can strike at any time!  Kommandant‘s ranks are filled with Chicago metal veterans having between them played in area acts such as Forest of Impaled, Cianide, Enforsaken and, to no one’s surprise, each member had at some point lent their skills to the infamous NachtmystiumThe Architects of Extermination is Kommandant‘s third album since the 2006 demo.  Considering the band’s home base is just 90 miles south of me, I’m afraid I’m behind on recognizing them as a regional band of significance.  Their presence is certainly elevating,  having appeared at this years Maryland Deathfest, releasing most recently a split with the highly regarded Aosoth, and soon featuring on a special three city (Chicago, Cleveland, New York) set of shows coming in November with the legendary Necrophobic, and reformed Morpheus Descends.

Kommandant‘s sound can be described as a sort of martial style black metal.  The cover art is immediately telling; a striking red/black/white scheme depicting a chiseled, statuesque male, hammer raised at the apex before a powerful strike.  The image begs one to make connections to European military and political propaganda art and, inevitably, the dubious philosophies that fueled their campaigns of violence.  Based on a March 2015 interview with www.deathmetal.org, the band does not endorse any such extreme philosophies but merely consider their sound and image as being a reflection of the world at large.  As metal fans we know there is no shortage of global suffering and inhumanity from which to cull and inspire the type of aural sickness and bombardment heard on The Architects of Extermination.  If you always wished that martial-industrial mainstay Arditi would put together a black metal band then welcome to a new world order where this album exists for you.  Note I’ve not mentioned the term “war metal” nor does their sound warrant the added use of “industrial” to describe.  This is not black metal with programmed tympani drums and cheapo keyboard orchestral stabs blaring over a low-fi recording sample of some mustachioed political leader extolling their convictions.  The “martial” reference is specifically fitting as suggested by their whole package.

The music here in is rigid, urgent, under cover of night like a formation of fighter planes on a secret mission flying low between dense clouds and dense fog.  All pilots accepting this may be a one way trip, but retaining a fervent sense of duty.  All of the instruments seemed to be mixed evenly with the vocals a fair bit separated and widely spread like the trailing sound waves left by the fighter planes.  The vocals are essentially death metal like lows rather similar to those of Morpheus Descends.  Tom drums are frequently emphasized to accentuate the martial style.  Very noticeable is the muffled, room heavy production.  So pronounced and enshrouding that the music seems distant and quiet.  I’m a fan of interesting and highly atmospheric production sound but I warn that here it forces the listener to put some work in to hear distinctly what’s going on.  If I’ve compelled you to give Kommandant a listen for the first time then choose “And Nation Shall Rise Against Nation”.  It has stood out to me on each listen through of the record.  The main riff digs a front line trench into your psyche, and the drums blast forward triumphantly.  Likely a real killer live.

Having spent a few weeks with this record I’m regretting not having payed attention before.  Admittedly, I am a terrible sucker for bands that combine black metal music with lower death metal vocals so I may be biased, as their style and military imagery is an easy appeal for me.  Regardless, I feel Kommandant offer a unique enough bend on black metal that they may march their way into your cd racks or last gigabyte of space on your phone.  They have few brethren of which to compete for metal heads with a particular scratch to itch in between the records of perhaps, Triumph Genus, Endstille, and NKVD.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mars Budziszewski
November 5th, 2015

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