Demonical & Kommandant 22 May 2012
Originally I had planned to catch a train up to Providence, Rhode Island to see a Nasum gig however it didn’t end up happening so it was back to Saint Vitus bar for Swedish death metal blokes Demonical and gas mask lovers Kommandant. My sum total of knowledge of the bands was having the latest Demonical album and hearing about a minute of Kommandant so I was mostly going in blind which is always fun.
I told myself on the trip over that after my somewhat tipsy night seeing Pallbearer, that Captain Morgan (and any other spirits) would be avoided in favour of nice predictable beer. The highlight of the trip over was a rather flamboyant guy starting dancing just as the Katatonia song I was listening to kicked in.
Locals Mutant Supremacy were playing when we arrived and they play a pretty standard death metal style along the lines of Exhumed or Death. They certainly played well and I liked the dual vocals but they veered a bit too much into death/thrash for my tastes and have too many solos. Perfectly capable band but just not that interesting.
After a yummy chicken burrito from the place next door I walked back in to find the rather bizarre sight of several eight foot tall bone structures on stage along with black metal band Dominium. As you can see from my crappy photo below the vocalist also had a bone theme to his mic stand which actually looked pretty cool. They played a semi blasting style of black metal not too far removed from Marduk and were really enjoyable. The vocalist was really getting into it which always helps and he jumped into the crowd several times with his fancy mic stand and headbanged like a maniac. I did laugh a few times at Spinal Tap like moments when the bones in his mic stand caught the cord and he had to stop being evil to fix it. The decent sized crowd were enjoying the show and so was I.
Demonical from Sweden were up next and they had a supremely heavy buzz saw guitar sound that was another feather in the cap of the Saint Vitus soundbloke. Featuring members of Centinex, Interment and Regurgitate it was obvious that these chaps knew their craft and their old school Swedish death metal was really fun live. They were missing one guitarist and the singer told an amusing story that his girlfriend was about to give birth and that if he went on tour she’d throw out his Bolt Thrower collection! Smart man. I hate to think how much chunkier they would have sounded with 2 guitarists as their sound with one was perfect. I’ll definitely be checking these fellas out at MDF and I recommend anyone who likes Swedish death metal to do the same.
Urgh while typing this I saw an ad on tv for a floor steamer with Dee Snider from Twisted Sister plugging it and singing his line. Is nothing sacred??
Anyway onto the most interesting act of the night – Kommandant. When we returned to the stage area there were big curtains over the amps and a 5 foot lectern on stage! While the martial intro music played we noticed some guys behind us in black dress shirts donning gas masks and then they marched onto stage, picked up their instruments and stood there waiting for the music to end. Then they launched into blasting war metal and after a moment the singer appeared. He was wearing the same black shirt but he had a cowl on his head which only showed his mouth and chin and made him look like some sort of fascist superhero. He had a pretty good snarling voice and tough stage presence. Thanks heaps to Richard for this photo.
Once the initial surprise had worn off the music became a bit samey however mid set 2 people in the same outfits walked onto stage with a floor tom each and the band played a martial sounding song. The extra drummers didn’t really add much however they looked cool and aesthetics are obviously important to this band. After this song they seemed to slow a bit and became a bit more interesting (or maybe I was just used to the style by now). One major highlight was the drummer who was an absolute maniac on the blastbeats!! Holy shit could this guy hit hard!! They were unrelenting and sort of hypnotising after a while and he didn’t slow down. One of the most amusing observations I made was 2 African American guys who were trying to mosh and generally enjoying a band with such obvious fascist imagery. However according to their website Kommandant don’t support past regimes and are in fact merely “art imitating life” so it appears the image is just for show. The crowd seemed to love it though with many photos taken including embarrassing ones taken of crowd members posing in front of the stage with the band behind them. They finished with the 2 extra drummers and then quickly left the stage. I was quite impressed with both their music and their aesthetics.
All in all a killer night with some quality surprises and great bands. I managed to only have 4 beers and was quite sober by the time I got back to the hotel at 2.20am.
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