Kommandant – The Architects of Extermination (ATMF)

Thursday, 9th April 2015
Rating: 8/10

If we were to rank bands based on aesthetics, then Kommandant would shoot right up the list. The Chicago-based black industrial metal troupe have fortified a look and feel that perfectly adopts the music in which they play. It’s almost as if these gents are otherworldly…or sent from the future to warn us of worse things to come. Something to that effect. And while the band has been able to stick to their visual guns, their music has followed suit. Their previous The Draconian Archetype (2012) was an utterly nihilistic jaunt, brandishing extremity like no tomorrow. The Architects of Extermination sees Kommandant take the next step.

Whereas The Draconian Archetype lacked any sort of the fundamental “human element” that can be found in black metal, The Architects of Extermination sees the band sound more realized, yet more cold. The funnels of relentless blasting that occurred prior have been intermixed with doses of unforgiving, dystopian atmospheric, as heard on the excellent “Oedipism,” and ensuing “Acquisition of Power,” which may be the band’s most dynamic track in recent memory. But the tailwinds of extremity are where the band’s strengths lie. “And Nation Shall Rise Against Nation” is firm in its unrelenting nature (love the varied approach to blasting), while “Rise and Fall of an Empire” harbors some of the band’s nuanced feel for Scandinavian black metal. (This tune could pass for a modern-day Mayhem song, actually.)

The most well-rounded and interesting album by Kommandant to date, The Architects of Extermination is a blunt knife to the side of the namby-pamby Deafheaven crowd, who are gradually dulling the edges of American black metal to the point where it’s fashion over substance. None of that happening here. Kommandant have made their definitive statement.

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