Kommandant
The Draconian Archetype

Kommandant‘s approach to black metal is one that is strongly focused on invoking a particular ambiance and frame of mind. The aim here isn’t to simply grab one by the throat and desecrate; there’s a strongly adamant intention to progressively absorb the listener with the elements present in this sound. Make no mistake, there’s plenty of aggression here, but it ain’t the prime focus of The Draconian Archetype. This is no meat and potatoes ordeal. I can safely say that this record is a damned strong one. It has one heck of a massive spine, and its most solid and focused tracks make up for those passages of the journey that contain a few hit & miss ideas that induced mild zone outs on this end. I can certainly appreciate the collective effort to underline the importance of setting a mood, and never losing sight of that goal. Not a single aspect about this album is over polished or over processed. This speaks from the heart, and this asset alone makes the ensemble of this piece of work one that will solidly continue to cement this band’s craft as one mind-altering experience through and through.

Opening duo ”We Are The Angels of Death” and ”Victory Through Intolerance” already raise the bar high enough with their less than arguable ability to strike where it fucking hurts. They are raditional oldschool BM tracks that are absolutely excellent, ripping through the guts with seriously powerful ammo. Whilst this is a fairly traditional and safe entrance into the grand scheme of this disc, there’s no denying that originality sure ain’t lacking from ”Downfall”. The drumming is still caught in this breath-takingly fast and punishing whirl of hyperactivity, but the riffage is all over the place, forming a more abstract, psychedelic, and atonal cobweb of sounds that’s honestly quite interesting, pushing out of the comfort zone of the first two songs. This adds a pinch of intrigue to the direction the album is taking. ”Hate is Strength” sees the drumwork gaining a lot of extra punch, going through several rhythm variations that work well with the somber and dirty riffs. Those two elements drive the track with a good flair for both catchiness and suspense. The ambience we have here is sharp, huge, and positively menacing.

The vocals are half-whispered, adding to that feel with killer effectiveness. ”Obsidian Gravitational” dives straight into an even more complex tableau. It comes up with its aptly stout bits of skin-shredding and merciless violence, but the subtleties in the turn-outs of the background melodies make for a pretty damned haunting vibe that soon expands itself to absorb all the instruments into a series of shifts of motion. This strongly ups the dose of daring experimentation. Those chaps sure are sticking to their guns and going in quite a few thinking directions, and the atmosphere this endeavor creates is a sincerely spectacular one. ”Fore-Aft Synthesis” is particularly savage, but clearly less focused. Some half-riffs in this one are far too dramatically out of tune, and create a sub-par, rehashed type of affect. I’m getting an impression of déjà vu all through the very forced 4:25 duration. ”Call of the Void” starts out with a huge amount of potential and falls flat on its face about two minutes in with an all-too pedestrian hesitation in the development of the melodies, and a go-through-the-motions delivery on the drumming front, and whilst this moment of distraction doesn’t last up until the end of the song, it’s a clear zoneout. ”The Transition” is more frantic and gritty, even in its linear, and slightly repetitive nature, but those two flaws are easy to forget when the greatly dazzling ”Atavistic Species” barges in with equal amounts of brilliantly chaotic progressions and melodies. The whole song works as a stellar build-up. ”Procession of Black” is, hands down, the second most nuanced tune out of the whole tracklist, starting out with one badass crunchy riff and sending shockwaves through the nervous system with quite the handful of tempo shifts, framed up by a fairly demonic ambiance that’s definitely bound to get a buzz going.

I can’t take it away from these dudes, they are unquestionably primal, and passionately stubborn about bringing forth new twists in the myth. That makes The Draconian Archetype a strongly charismatic and refreshing album, regardless of the fact that not every single track entirely drives the point home. This is quality work, without a goddamn doubt, and certainly doesn’t limit itself to any kind of old-fashioned set of rules.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Noch
April 11th, 2012

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