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Totten Korps - Supreme Commanders Of Darkness

Totten Korps
Supreme Commanders Of Darkness
by Gabriel “Svrtr” Zimmerman at 11 April 2017, 11:31 AM

There have been quite a few South American Death Metal bands that I have had the pleasure of reviewing, and I always love hearing death metal from different areas of the world to hear if they have a unique sound or angle in their structuring or format, barring local lyrical influences. In fact I am confident in saying that there is a great death metal scene in South America that I was unaware of. Today I get to present such a band, TOTTEN KORPS and their most recent full length album “Supreme Commanders of Darkness.” Born in Chile during the days of military dictatorship and widely considered to be a larger influence on other death metal bands from the area, many of their songs do capture a sort of gut grinding brutality of war sound, and they also like to not give you a moment to breath and instead prefer relentless blast beats. Without further ado, I’ll dive right into this piece of decadent death.

Opening with the namesake of the album, “Supreme Commanders of Darkness”, it is fair to say that this song feels lacking in parts. There are some good riffs, but the vocals feel a bit faded out. There are some great riffs in the chorus, however the verses feel a bit repetitive and poor in structure. While some parts stick out well, the song feels somewhat improvisational. By no means is it a bad song, it is just lacking. Regardless, in the majority of the song there is lack of ear capturing greatness. What especially does not help is the sort of breakdown later in the song which has a riff that, again, is nearly good but takes a few directions that detract from the song. Overall the song seems to suffer from poorer design choices and structuring. However, where this song falters “The Black Flame of the Underworld” picks up the pieces. Featuring a great riff and relentless blast beat drums, and throughout sounding far more structured and deliberate this song easily shows that the previous song did not represent the album as a whole. The bridge of the song especially stands out strongly, with amazing technical work and great cohesion between the amazing riffs and great beats. This song far beyond makes up for the short comings one might find with the previous song and should be listened to at all costs on the largest speakers you can find.

Next on the list that I will mention is “Hastur’s Voice Echoes in Our Minds”, a song very reminiscent of “The Black Flame of the Underworld” for the effect it exudes. Precise and intended structuring blended with bloody brilliant riffs and relentless ear pounding beats. My only complaint would be a somewhat drawn out tuned down-slowed down bridge that seems to overstay its welcome. Thankfully the end closes the song quite fittingly, with a great guitar solo reminiscent of 80s Swedish death metal. My only complaint is that the guitar solo is so short. Besides a drawn out bridge, another great song to listen to on the album.

Following this is “I Dwell in the Minds of the Gullible”, which features some great riffs and an amazing beat, but as a whole the song does not seem to come together fantastically. It is a good song that as some great individual parts, yet the parts do not equal the sum of the whole. The song noticeably lacks cohesion. The far more melodic and guitar solo oriented end before the closing verse, however, makes up for this. Featuring some great guitar work that can quite visibly show the clear integration of death metal and thrash metal roots the band draws on. Next song up is “The Journey Through Styx on the Arms of Hades”. If I am completely honest, the opening riffs of the song are rather lack luster. Once you get past this though you get to experience some phenomenal guitar work through the middle verses and choruses of the song. As the song reaches the bridge, the stand out sound of the riffs begins to become more subdued, still good but less memorable than before, and the song falls into a more repetitive cycle. One could imagine a bell curve to describe the appeal of the song from start to end. I find this a shame because there was some great guitar work and it feels like there was some wasted potential.

Finally I will mention “Nailing”, because a more noticeable melody that is maintained throughout the song and helps give it a stronger song structure. The strong riffs and melody maintained throughout with a well-paced beat help the song to stand out on the album, giving the song a greater sense of overall cohesion. With a series of amazing riffs throughout and incredible progression, this song is easily one of my favorites on the album. The incredible solo helps greatly.

To sum it up, the individual parts of the band were good to great, but there were a few times where the sums did not equal the whole and the respective songs would lack cohesion. However there are multiple moments where everything comes together and gives amazing songs like “Nailing”. I wish the band the best of luck and believe they have incredible potential, and I cannot wait to hear what they put out next. To sum it up, I would recommend this to people who enjoy a more 80s death metal based sound and believe they will greatly enjoy “Supreme Commanders of Darkness.”

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Supreme Commanders of Darkness
2. The Black Flame of the Underworld
3. El Antiguo Maestro de las Pestilencias
4. Hastur’s Voice Echoes in our Minds
5. I Dwell in the Minds of the Gullible
6. The Journey Through Styx on the Arms of Hades
7. Amarduk
8. The Legacy of Leviathan (Shadows from the Depths)
9. Nailing
10. Tortured Souls from the Path of Perdition
Lineup:
Francisco Torres - Guitar
Cristian Soto - Guitar, Bass
Alejandro Arce - Drums
SadaX - Vocals
Record Label: Blood Harvest Records
     


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