I have been following and enjoying the work of genocidal USBM group Kommandant since they first made Kontakt with us via their 2010 EP. Their second album ‘The Draconian Archetype’ followed on from that in 2012 and got the comment from me stating “At the least this album is spiteful but most of the time it is downright vicious.” Naturally 3rd album The Architects Of Extermination’ was quick to end up on my review pile when it arrived and I prepared myself within my concrete bunker with anticipation and a certain amount of trepidation before pressing play.
‘Let Our Vengeance Rise’ does not drop a bomb on me straight off but builds as title suggests and the band get prepared to unleash total annihilation. Atmosphere is grim and austere from the off and there is a feel of orthodoxy about the bands destructive blackened craft. Militaristic drums slowly build and the crush is deathly when it arrives but with a sense of grandeur about it as I wait for utter extinction to rain down. Shells land with the title track and it’s a devastating experience that is akin to all-out war. The rumble and bass flattening thud with drums blasting away and hellish underlying vocals are pretty much as relentless as I had anticipated. At the heart of it though as things slow and eerie sounds swirl out the speakers there is a ghostly feel and the band illustrate a bit of an experimental streak within their main-frame. Vocals are of note and (if I can keep up with the somewhat confusing revolving line up of the band) Marcus Matthew Kolar ex Krieg and Nachtmystium takes on a sermon sounding delivery that is reminiscent of the likes of Mortuus and Attila. By the time we are dropped into the now strange warzone of Oedipism with some real bouncing riffs uncoiling like a spring it is clear that the band have developed considerably since last album and have a lot more weapons to torture with rather than going for an instant kill.
There’s definitely a real European vibe to this and a bit of an industrial feel with some of the militant drumming and martial dictatorial rhythms and as the Chicagoans march onwards it all leaves a really nasty taste in the mouth. The fact that the band appear in gasmasks, singer commanding over a pulpit from the live photos I have seen makes it all the grimmer. There is a huge restraint about some of the music and it’s sinister overtones really come through more than in the past as the band now are much more akin to take their feet off the pedal and allow them to pervade the music, the booming sombre tones of ‘Killing Word’ being a particular chilling case in point. Let off the leash to blast away and thud barbed missiles down without mercy though as on ‘Rise And Fall Of Empire’ one gets the idea that prisoners of war are not something the band will take as they hit like a bullet to the back of the skull.
This is a pretty damn unpleasant listen in all the right ways, if you are looking for something happy avoid this like the plague, if however you want to feel like you are sitting on a throne of bones looking down on the remains of everyone who has pissed you off in life, it’ll do the job admirably.
(8/10 Pete Woods)