"The Architects of Extermination"

By Dr. Abner Mality

I witnessed the creepiness of Kommandant firsthand when I saw them play Maryland Deathfest in 2013. A rigid line of black clad guitarists wearing gasmasks, a ghoulish priest regaling the hordes from a pulpit that looked like a coffin. They had a sound to match...blasting industrial black metal that sounded like the musical accompaniment to an automated slaughterhouse.

"The Architects of Extermination" is just as cheerful and then some. This is real nightmare fuel, but very well executed. The statist cover art could have come from Stalinist Russia...or current North Korea...and fits the militaristic vibe this death squad creates. They hit you with a wall of crushing guitars, extreme percussion and ice cold synth. After the chilling buildup of "Let Our Vengeance Rise", the title track engulfs everything in a pitiless onslaught. The vocals range from wheezing gasps to croaks to the groans of a dying man, mixed in with some choirs and chanting.

This formula has been done before but rarely as well and with as much authority. Kommandant is smart enough to mix up their approach..."Rise And Fall of Empire" is very epic and lets the keys and choir-like vocals dominate, "Acquisition of Power" is 100% brutality and "Killing Word" has a subzero black metal chill. At all times, the album sounds like the soundtrack to a David Cronenberg film about the rise of a cyborg dictator.

Grim, uncompromising and creepy!