Written by: Blackie Skulless
This year hasn’t really seen a whole lot in the realm of standout death metal, probably a personal take of mine due to the massive influx of it in recent times. This would change with the U.S. death metal act Kommand dropping their second full-length (not to be confused with the black/thrash act Kömmand). Entitled Death Age, this sees a continuation of their first album a couple years ago. Terrorscape was already pretty tight, but here is where we gain an even higher jump in quality.
Despite being such a short release of only six tracks (also like the previous album), this passes before us rather quickly, but they pack a lot into a small container. Chunky, marshy riffs that carry loads of weight are pulled by compelling leads, some with a bit of a catchier ring to them. This is aided by production that gives it an echo-effect without overdoing anything, as well as a cleanliness level that brings everything forward without sanitizing what’s supposed to be filthy. Pacing is executed well for all of this release, letting the slower grooves swing into eruptive blasts with ease. “Chimera Soldiers” has a particularly strong ear for this, with opening leads that lay down strong dual-guitar layers.
Even solos play a decent role in Death Age, something that isn’t uncommon in death metal but seldom stands out. Opener “Final Virus” lays one of these down nicely, coating it with a gruff and grating overlay that adds an element of discomfort. The aforementioned “Chimera Soldiers” on the other hand sticks a little closer to home, sweeping in with a clean solo near the end. “Global Death” displays some of the best pacing, crawling in on a drawn-out doom/death railway to direct much of the track, before reaching an explosion of drum blasts at the end. Yet, there are a couple different angles to this slower draw, likely winning the title of my favorite song on the album.
I’d be lying if I acted like Kommand did anything groundbreaking, but as I say time and time again, being derivative is fine, especially if you can mold what we have into something refreshing or memorable. This is an essential listen for fans of the genre in general. Whether you prefer the OSDM style, the doom-oriented albums, or the buzzsaw sound effect in the riffs, it’s bound to yield something enjoyable. If it doesn’t, you only spent twenty-six minutes of your time.
Kommand - Death Age was released March 31st, 2023 via 20 Buck Spin. Find it here!
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