Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Kommandant ~ Kontakt (EP)

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: black metal, death metal, war metal
Label: Planet Metal
Year: 2010
Home: Chicago, Illinois

Members: Nick Hernandez ~ vocals
Jim Bresnahan, Marcus Matthew Rolar ~ guitar
Jon "Necromancer" Woodring ~ bass
Garrett Scanlan ~ drums


Do you like your black metal with pounding double bass? How about lots of blistering distorted guitars a la Cradle Of Filth that chug on fast, furious & super adrenalized not wasting time on fancy riffs or too many over-the-top distracting solos? Do like a growling singer who tends to look as venomous as he shouts? How about song lyrics that call up something from the pits of hell, in its many forms, that death metal seems to cull from, such as: "Kk66n6zt", "Anti Human Nemesis", "Codex Gigas", "Der Maschinenraum", "Sulpher Chariot" & "The Genesis Reaktor"? Since their formation in 2005 & through numerous line-up changes Kommandant has been routinely hailed as one of the rising stars of the underground black/death metal scene. They definetly have all the musical elements in place for bands in their genre & will easily find fans. The problem is that outside the black metal field & to more casual listeners of the style it might take a bit of trying to pursuade the non-initiated that there's something creative going on here other than variations in tempo. For many black metal is just a speed metal onslaught with the variety too minimal & imitation too prominent, let alone the lack of coherent lyrics is a difficult bridge for many to cross. But, Kommandant does work hard to stand out of the crowd with an interesting stage show & an omnipresent theme. Always seen in storm trooper outfits, including bully clubs in promo photos, with everyone's face obscured by gas masks their promo material is drenched in fierce "nuclear war" imagery/terminology where "tactics are cruel & cold" & "forces are mobilized" though "several enlisted men do not survive the initial campaign". Yes, this is more Axis than Allied in its ideology & vision, though more akin to a fantasy film than actual history. You'll find similiarities to the past & different groups but in the world of the military all groups end up being similiar. But, this isn't a National Socialist/Neo-Nazi/Oi band, as they make a point of pointing out in press releases stating that their enemy is not a specific group but the boredom of modern life & the lies of parents, teachers, etc about America being the "shining jewel of democracy". Kommandant should be ... saluted ... for wrapping themselves completely in their vision, far more than most bands do. But, their main asset is also a problem as that many other bands have done similiar on stage with the full costumes - Marilyn Manson & Lordi most obvious comparisons. But, with those bands the music actually is enjoyable without the visual & accentuates the gimic with lots of ... traditional ... melody & not just a pounding onslaught of distortion, let alone you can understand the lyrics. Without the visuals Kommandant loose much of what makes it interesting to many listeners & come off as just another death metal band. Perhaps they've forgotten that, yes, war is in your face but it has its moments of waiting & silence that are in your face in a far different way.





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