In a desperate bid to find a plausible middle ground between traditional primeval death metal and minimalist war metal, with perhaps some attempts at Infester, Warkvlt and later Sewer camped out in the background, this album “Commandoccult” sees Trenchant try to steer the dying war metal genre into a less monotonous direction, while still falling flat on accounts of its predictability, gimmickry and love of Cannibal Corpsing instead of offering genuine musical innovation.
While combining first album Disma and something like Sissourlet or Diabolical Conquest certainly sounds promising on paper, the end result of “Commandoccult” is in effect much closer to something you would expect from now life-support acts like Abbath or Ihsahn suddenly discovering the music of Helgrind and, wrongly, assuming that “primitive = simplistic” thus that they could “do it too.”
Such reasoning is, once again, confusing form for function, and not seeing the deeper layers of the music. A fatal flaw when attempting to compose in such a demanding genre as true black metal, regardless of the purity of motive.
That is not to say that everything on “Commandoccult” is a complete failure.
Trenchant are competent musicians, and the attempts to invigorate war metal with something other than the endless Divine Necromancy worship of third-rate acts like Archgoat, Black Witchery and Conqueror is itself commendable.
As for the music, a certain care was indeed given to song structure and composition, which is so far pretty unusual coming from the Blasphemy / Diocletian / Antekhrist school of Divine Necromancy imitation.
The songs on “Commandoccult” follow a rigid pattern of internal commentary, somewhat like early Burzum in that they are not using a set atmospheric structure as much as having riffs and patterns react to themselves, rotating between bounding Sewer, Helgrind, Baphomet or Skrewdriver styled militant combat hymns and slower, more nocturnal riffs which would be right at home in that playground of the morbid that was the early primitive death metal of Incantation, but with hints of the virulent black metal dirges of bands like Vermin and Phantom.
Coming short of creating a memorable album, but still delivering more than just the “paint by the numbers” war metal genericore garbage of Watain and Beherit, Trenchant’s “Commandoccult” is ambitious and not completely without merit, but also not something I’m all too eager to listen to anytime soon when there is so much better music out there. Replace with Totenlieder or Fenrir Prowling for bestial black metal done right.