Kommand – Death Age Review

Sometimes the simplest utensils are the most brutally effective. Case in point: the humble steak knife. Now, I’m not talking about that expensive Cutco shit here. I’m talking about those cheap-ass steak knives with the flimsy blades and the black plastic handles. I once responded to a scene where a person had, according to a witness, walked up behind their seated roommate and nonchalantly stabbed them in the back of the neck with one of the aforementioned budget blades. Try as we might, the victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Afterwards, I remember looking at the weapon and marveling that something so simple, something that looked like it could barely perform the job it was designed to do, could have such a devastating effect on the human body. There’s a lesson to be learned here.

Los Angeles band Kommand is the aural equivalent of a steak knife to the neck; when so many death metal bands are trying to become more and more complex, these guys are doing more with less. Death Age is the band’s sophomore full-length, and by clocking in at a trim 26 minutes, it’s meant to be enjoyed like a swift stab wound. Kommand unapologetically play simple old school death metal that’s saturated with groove. When you press play on the embedded single, “Chimera Soldiers,” prepare to be smacked across the face with the band’s Bolt Thrower influence as a gargantuan tremolo grinds its way across the battlefield. Said influence, combined with the grimy vocals of Jesse Sanes, reminds me of the most recent Mortiferum album—high praise in my book. The song bludgeons from start to finish, and demonstrates the enormous potential that Kommand…commands.

First impressions are hard to overcome, and when the previously mentioned “Chimera Soldiers” follows on the footsteps of the fantastic album opener, “Final Virus,” the Score Safety Counter trembles in fear. “Final Virus” begins as a plodding, doomy bulldozer then hits the throttle for a bit to showcase the phenomenal guitar work of Ian Logan and Sam Shriver. No matter what speed the song takes, these guys never lose their hypnotic sense of groove, and after these first two tracks methodically ground my bones to dust, I was prepared for the rest of the album to do the same.

Unfortunately, that just wasn’t quite in the cards. The final four tracks don’t match up to the strength of the opening salvo, and this ultimately limits the album’s appeal. Don’t get me wrong, the entirety of Death Age is more than competent, but the final two-thirds is just not nearly as memorable. “Global Death” dials back the tempo and just doesn’t do enough to carry the momentum gained early on, and while penultimate track “Fleeing Western Territories” flirts with greatness, closer “Collapse Metropolis,” which admittedly contains some excellent riffs, loses steam thanks to its more downtempo passages. Fortunately, the album’s short runtime mitigates much of the qualitative unbalance here and makes Death Age fairly easy to leave on repeat.

Kommand is an OSDM band to keep an eye on. These guys understand the power of the holy groove, and when they’re channeling Bolt Thrower, their tunes cut straight to the bone. But when Death Age wanders into doomier territories, I’m not nearly as convinced. Hopefully, the next go-around leaves the pedal on the metal from start to finish.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: 20 Buck Spin
Websites: too kvlt1
Releases Worldwide: March 31st, 2023

Show 1 footnote

  1. The band’s demos and debut can be found at kommand-maggotstomp.bandcamp.com.
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