Los Angeles, despite being a land of sunshine and bliss, of glitz and glamor, the home to Hair and Hollywood, sure does know how to belch out some nasty metal bands from time to time. Kommand is one such entity, a dark reflection of all that sunshine and celebrity, and they’ve just released their second album, Death Age. What a slammer it is, the band carving their own place in a crowded scene, leaning heavily on traditional Death sounds, not straying too far or too hard into experimental territory. This is an album that sticks to the basics, adding just enough of the band members’ individual voices to make something wholly their own. They say that every story has been written, every story but your own, and the band is in a good place, continuing their unique legend with this second, brutal chapter.
Kommand’s sophomore slasher lurches right out of the gates, eructing and steaming, a massive, shifting, lurching pile of bile and blackened Death brutality. “Final Virus” is intent on bludgeoning you into the ground. It isn’t reinventing any rules or doing anything spectacularly innovative, but it sure knows how to punch you in the face and stomp on your guts. It’s a bit like getting run over by a heavy tank, one not content with simply mashing you beneath its weight, but committed to backing up, turning around, and doing it all over again and again until there is nothing left but squelched meat and blood. And so it goes for most of the album, an unrelenting and steady assault, one that never picks up much speed but continues onward, fixed and precise in its blunt cruelty. “Global Death” begins with some stellar, harmonic doom, slowly sliding the listener down a dark embankment before plummeting them into a black, cavernous abyss. “Polar Holdout” in particular brings a swinging heft to the headbang, catching the listener on some filthy riff hooks before the shredding truly begins. “Fleeing Western Territories” is filled with dread and fear, panic informing every riff, every drumbeat, permeating the gruff, demonic vocals. Each song here is different, and yet, they form a cohesive whole, united in their power and ruthlessness.
All told, Death Age feels like an apocalyptic story, from the fall of man to the grinding down of the remnant to the utter extinction of hope. There is little light on this record, it’s all darkness and misery, but done so damned well that you can’t help but enjoy it. This is a punishing, ferocious work, one that does not back off, does not show any mercy. And yet, at the same time, you can’t help but admire it because of the simplicity and the directness, and the utter, relentless drive. Great music is like that; it feels simpler than it actually is, and only a great band like Kommand can pull something like this off. You’ve been to places like this before, but they’ve never been quite like this.