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Kommodus - Wreath Of Bleeding Snowfall review

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Band: Kommodus
Album: Wreath Of Bleeding Snowfall
Style: Black metal
Release date: July 2023

01. Birthed From A Chrysalis Of Ice
02. In The Moonlight
03. Shelter Within A Whale Carcass
04. Sky Fortress
05. Winter Blade (Of The War Wraith)
06. Chariots Of Frost
07. The Bellowing Colossus Silhouetted Within The Blizzard
08. The Fate Of The Wolf Is To Die In The Snow

Kommodus's second album of raw black metal is a mess of ideas: some good, some bad, some ugly.

Kommodus is a one-man band from Australia. After a series of demo releases, their output culminated in their 2020 debut full-length album Kommodus. Wild and frenzied musicianship were centered around a lyrical theme concerning the Roman Empire. Unfortunately, their second album, Wreath Of Bleeding Snowfall, veers away from that rather unique concept, choosing instead an age-old black metal theme: the, quite frankly, generic theme of winter.

The first track displays a poor start to the album, demonstrating music that is certainly raw and unpolished… and a chore to listen to. Now, I'm not against dissonant music automatically. In fact, I've recently enjoyed plenty of chaotic black metal such as Umbra Conscientia and Vitriolic Sage. However, while these other bands revel in the diversity and multitude of their maddening melodies, songs like Kommodus's "Birthed From A Chrysalis Of Ice" have such a muddy production that all musicianship seems compressed into a thin sheet, and thus no riff stands out from the literal wall of noise.

Thankfully, not all songs are as hopelessly flat. The strong moments on this album are primarily due to menacing, mid-tempo riffs that are backed by the rumbling bass such as in the intro of "In The Moonlight" or at the 4:30-minute mark in "Shelter Within A Whale Carcass". These gnarly, chugging riffs are genuinely great (and "In The Moonlight" is probably my favorite song here, as a result) but it becomes problematic as those rhythm guitar sections are the only true stand-outs for me.

It should be noted that the musicianship is certainly not at a loss for ideas. On the contrary, there seems to be a plethora of ideas. Amongst the wilder, fast-paced songs, there are some slower instances like the atmospheric ambience on "Sky Fortress" or starting at the 2:40-minute mark on "Chariots Of Frost". There are also various miscellaneous instruments such as a concluding piano melody on "In The Moonlight", horns on the final instrumental track, the use of distorted audio samples, some guest-performed guitar solos, and a familiar-sounding melody played on violin at the end of "Winter Blade". But these additional elements feel rather out of place and don't add anything substantial to the overall experience.

Despite the copious amounts of musical ideas, the execution is not ideal. The growling vocals and drumming are fairly one-dimensional and, in fact, pretty boring. The atmospheric tremolo-picking is good, but average for today's black metal standards. Thus, the sole redeeming trait, which carries the album on its shoulders, is the use of groovy guitar-work such as at the start of "A Bellowing Colossus Silhouetted Within The Blizzard".

These positive and negative aspects battle for supremacy on Wreath Of Bleeding Snowfall, resulting in a frustrating experience. In order to create enjoyable, dissonant black metal, one should aim for organized chaos (even if that sounds paradoxical, several bands have succeeded at this). Unfortunately, Kommodus's second album is not as focused as their debut album. They fail to properly balance all their ideas, producing a subpar amalgamation that can only be saved by the truly catchy rhythm guitar-work.

Written on 22.07.2023 by The sign of good music is the ability to both convey and trigger emotion.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 21 users
24.07.2023 - 12:34
This album is about as inhospitable as the scene in the cover art
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
24.08.2023 - 13:12
Rating: 5
A Nice Guy
I found it quite an uncomfortable listen which is likely down to the lo-fi quality production tbh. Some of the riffs would have been decent but I could hardly hear them due to the mix, maybe it was intended that why? But it doesn't work for me personally

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