Command- Resver (Album Review)

Jan. 29, 2024


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Sweden may have forever changed death metal and other extreme variants of the genre, but over the last few decades the country has also become just as well known for its heavy metal adjacent groups.  Whether they’re fusing black metal and thrash together, capturing NWOBHM down to a science and putting their own spin on it, or everything in between, the amount of talent that sounds retro without feeling dated has increased in number every year.  2024 brings us another addition to these ranks with Command’s Resver, which falls somewhere between black/thrash, heavy metal, and the darker atmosphere of mid-period Tribulation.  Originally formed as Commando back in 2016, the group opted to drop the o and switch to Command following a demo and an EP over the past few years.  It’s a very familiar sound that moves between periods of darker melodies and harsher, fast paced riffs, and while there is room for the band to differentiate themselves further this is still a noteworthy effort for fans of the style.

What’s perhaps most intriguing about Resver is it was written as a complete piece rather than just a collection of individual songs, meaning that each flows seamlessly into the next.  This is an ambitious undertaking in any genre, and Command is able to maintain a consistency between each track that makes each piece feel deliberately planned and placed.  Stylistically the material reminds me of Tribulation’s The Children of the Night or Down Below or even some of In Solitude’s earlier material, but with a healthy dose of traditional heavy metal and Aura Noir or Nifelheim type black/thrash driving things forward.  What this translates to is an album that has the darker atmosphere and warmer melodies of the first two bands but is still very riff focused and heads into the more aggressive and speed driven slant of the other two.  Considering how many bands that started off as more of a heavy metal focused entity from Sweden have diverged off towards gothic and other influences, I can appreciate how Command retains some of these elements as additional nuances but remains focused on black and heavy metal at their core.  Tracks like “Bleeding Walls” and “Night Shapes” nail the transitions between faster riffs that will surely incite headbanging along with slower moodier breaks, and when these elements reach their peak Resver impresses.  But the seamless and singular approach to songwriting does also make some of the material run together over repeat listens, especially given that some of the tracks follow a very similar pattern of transitioning over from darker melodies and slower tempos to faster attacks.  There’s also room for Command to branch out further from the foundation laid out here, as closer “Solitude” hints at some additional atmosphere and outside genre influences that seem to just be seeping in.

Command’s vocalist Robin utilizes a raspy snarl/scream throughout Resver, and this is where the comparison to a lot of other Swedish bands is likely to come from.  For my musical tastes that’s not a bad thing though, as his pitch sounds like a cross between Tribulation and Vampire and has that same fire and aggression behind it that remains consistent for the entire album.  I also appreciate the way the vocals have been mixed, as they are drenched in reverb and tower above the material without overwhelming them, which adds to the intensity of the songs.  Admittedly like some of the other groups that may come to mind while listening to Resver, there isn’t a ton of variety to the pitch and overall approach but Command does space out each appearance enough to avoid repetition.

Resver showcases another promising addition to the black/thrash and blackened heavy metal space, as Command has put together songs that balance darker melodies and tense atmosphere with fast, aggressive riffs.  They’ve left themselves with plenty of room for growth, as some of the riffs blur together and they’re pulling from very familiar ground at this point.  But the performances are rock solid and the band’s willingness to try and write a seamless, cohesive album showcases they have the ability to get there with some more time.  If you’re a fan of everything from In Solitude to Nifelheim this one comes recommended but expect even better things down the road.  Resver is available from Jawbreaker Records.

-Review by Chris Dahlberg