ReviewsCommander – Angstridden (MDD Records)

Commander – Angstridden (MDD Records)

Seems like a second life occurs in the metal realm more often than you think. Once careers and family responsibilities settle in, usually as you get older that quest beckons for creative output where you want to see if you can achieve (or supersede) past accomplishments. That’s the case for Commander, a German death metal outfit who originally hit the scene in 1999, lasting into the early 2010’s to release two demos and two full lengths before putting things to rest. After the third album Fatalis came out in 2018, we all know that the pandemic halted many activities in this field – so it’s nice to hear the follow-up for Angstridden.

Expect crushing guitar tones as well as a flurry of mid-tempo to slightly faster rhythms from guitarists Nick Kolar and Steffen Augstein – very much in the mold of the old Swedish and UK guard when you check out the main hooks for “Deviate From Our Vision” and “Vanity Is the Death of Decency”. The blast beats never overwhelm the walls of sound present, as the four-piece always knows when to inject the proper transformative sequence that can be very groove-driven before the next sledgehammer attack pummels your ears. Occasional acoustic guitar employment gives off a bit of classical vibe especially for the introductory sequence to “Not My War”, while the deeper electric harmonies provide extra dynamic intrigue into the subsequent circular thrust put forth, drummer Flo Puchert excelling at steady to faster switch-ups while executing a host of double kick tricks and superior fills. Nick doubles as the vocalist, his clear delivery in growls commendable as it straddles those darker thrash to early 90s death lines – the ten-minute and change finale “No Compulsion to Live” features ten different singers, an extended instrumental break that is quite enthralling in its heavy doom/death to acoustic measures, all leading to a death choir of destruction.

A mix of Bolt Thrower, Grave, and Desultory come to mind the most when taking in Angstridden from Commander. The precision along with the raw intensity should win over most that love classic death metal – and it certainly differs from a lot of the current ‘caveman’ approach that younger artists have been developing.

Commander on Facebook

8 / 10