Born out of the isolation of lockdown and it’s accompanying plague, Commoner’s debut released in 2022 was a polished production combining melodious doom-laden metal and the hard edge of the band member’s punk roots. A tough act to follow.

Since then they’ve been relentlessly gigging and teasing us with new material so this latest album brings much demonic expectation.

Opening with Eldervoid the listener gets beckoned into the eternal darkness by a claw-fingered hand of thoroughly desolate, ethereal guitar noise. We expect nothing less.

Then it’s down to business with the previously released Bacteria . A sprawling eight minute riff-feast that divides between slow paced operatic guitars of epic proportions and headbanging perfection as the giant iron-clad machine gathers pace. All the while those damning, tortured vocals relay the utter torment of our pointless existence. We are just bacteria after all. A sickening pestilence called humanity mercilessly destroying our reluctant host.

Next the tempo goes nuclear with what is (for me) the standout track on the album. Queens Of Slaughter is a rampaging juggernaut of a tune. Remember Steven Speilberg’s first movie? It was a bleak affair called ‘Duel’ involving a moustached office boy being terrorized in the Californian desert by a trucker driving a dusty rig that was so intimidating it would have been a clear winner if they gave Oscars to machines. This song is the musical embodiment of that HGV. Tearing through the soundscape at full throttle crushing all those that are unfortunate enough to fall beneath its great wheels. If you’re still lamenting the end of Motorhead or the reluctance of Ministry to book some gigs in the UK, then a live rendition of this monster is the perfect therapy.

We then get an unexpected departure as the lads honour the tradition of metal bands exploring their gentler side with some beautifully layered acoustic instrumentation in the form of Tameesis Naiad. I blame Led Zeppelin for this. But nevertheless it’s a pleasing ballad that offers the eardrums some respite before the carnage resumes.

Cthulhunault (where the fuck do they get these names?) kicks off with a howling hornet’s nest of stinging notes from Mik, whom has well and truly mastered the art of dragging a lead guitar line kicking and screaming through a wah wah pedal without sounding self-indulgent. Much of the beauty of this music comes from the simplicity of what he does backed up by Matt’s chugging chords and the pounding bass & drums of Simon & Al. This song plumbs the depths of despair as it documents the downtrodden beings residing in the lower reaches of the radioactive swamp. Existence is indeed “a curse” and all the better for it.

Then it’s back to the universe of acoustic serenity with Hyrndu Draugabornin. A truly exquisite serenade that conjures up visions of early morning sunshine breaking through the mountain mist as a sacred deer skips gracefully through an ancient stone circle, barely noticing the carrion crows picking over the putrefying remains of a recent human sacrifice.

Finally the conclusion and title track Commoners Quest is yet another metal masterpiece combining all the elements experienced thus far, for a tour de force of ear splitting perfection. While downtrodden doom and eternal suffering is the persistent theme; this track carries more like a call to arms for those peasants to sharpen their pikes and turn them on their oppressors.

So this was definitely worth the wait. It’s hard, heavy and uncompromising. The production is perfectly balanced with emphasis in all the right places and those songs just keep rolling in with the impression that there is still much more to come.



by Guy Smallman



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