The Belgian black/death quintet, KOSMOKRATOR, return to the fray after with their newest release, First Step Towards Supremacy.
The EP opens with Initiate Decimation, which draws you in with vocals that sound like throat singing before a sudden onslaught of fast-paced guitar and drum patterns. Then the vocals kick in, which are consistently adept throughout the EP, and the track comes to life. Initiate Decimation keeps to traditional black metal drum and guitar patterns in places, which is never a bad thing, and respects their influences. The inclusion of throat singing again brings a new layer of intrigue to the record. Towards the end of the first track, it slows in pace in order to become more powerful, and it works well.
The second track, Death Worship, starts off much slower than Initiate Decimation, with guitar work kicking it off before picking up tempo and entering a well-executed section of the black/death mix we all love. While it initially seems like a tamer track that Initiate Decimation, it builds into a raging wonder of a track that shows the bands creative ability and manages to become the highlight of the record. The track ends with a slow fade out into the next track, Ksmkrts III – Mother Whore. This gives very mixed feelings at the mid-point of the album, as it cuts the listener off from the fast-paced nature of this EP from KOSMOKRATOR. This, however, is completely forgiven due to the knockout of a track that’s to come.
Ksmkrts III – Mother Whore opens with a fade-in and some interesting ambient elements, some of which sound like the chatter of a crowd. The death metal influences are rife in this track, as it progresses into a hard-hitting behemoth of rough and relentless riffs. The alternations between slower, rhythmic riffs, and those more chaotic make for an interesting and captivating listen. Chanting in the background of the track is a very nice touch, adding some cultural elements and making it stand out from traditional black/death metal. Ksmkrts III – Mother Whore ends almost too abruptly, but this is a minor criticism and something that everyone will feel differently about.
The EP ends with Myriad, the longest track the band offers us on First Step Towards Supremacy. It’s an interesting one, with a slow build-up, and features riffs and vocals that are reminiscent of BOLT THROWER. A flurry of spectacular drum work and damning bass accompany a jarring tremolo riff in Myriad, making for a powerful start. The bass in particular is a stand-out in this track, and you can hear it clearly throughout. The mid-song bridge almost kills the song by dragging too long; perhaps the song would benefit from it being shorter. The post-bridge build up from the drums really set it off for the final few minutes of carnage this Belgian outfit has to offer, and it hits hard. Eerie static and ambient sound give an end to the EP, helping the listener recover from the audial onslaught that’s just befallen them.
What KOSMOKRATOR have managed to do with this EP is create an homage to both black and death metal, bring them together, and make something brutally powerful. First Step Towards Supremacy is an ideal record for those who need a fresh pump of black/death that’s easy to digest even on the first listen. Clocking in at just over 30 minutes, this is also a good place to start if you’re new to the black/death genre. After First Step Towards Supremacy and their 2014 release To the Svmmit, KOSMOKRATOR is a band to keep an eye on, as they’ve shown more than their potential in this EP.
First Step towards Supremacy is set for release on November 11th via Ván Records.