First Step to Supremacy by Kosmokrator

Release date: October 10, 2016
Label: Ván Records

A hybrid style, the best of both worlds, black/death metal merges dark, heavy, downtuned tremolo riffs with death growls. Typically, the rung notes and tremolo riffs stay on the lower registers, rooted on notes on the fifth and sixth strings, occasionally climbing the fretboard during sequences that add variance, but the swirling, tar-pit-drenched sound of black/death metal is easily one of the biggest sub-genres to spike trends in metal in recent years. Bands who do it very well are at a premium for fans who can’t get enough of this style.

And none more worthy than Kosmokrator and its album, First Step to Supremacy, which sounds like a fitting title to me after just a couple of listens. Kosmokrator joins bands like Spectral Apparition and Altarage as the sub-genre’s worthiest exponents. First Step to Supremacy even adds some technical/progressive sections that prove to be encouraging.

It’s not all-out brutality after all, and Kosmokrator varies the tempos with morphing rhythms that are touched by some impressive vocals. The riffs are easy to like and are suitably catchy. They’re also some of the most original in black/death metal so far. Will it help that the drummer puts on a show here as well? However way fans perceive the sweeping black/death metal trend, Kosmokrator will have skeptics by the throats with First Step to Supremacy.

The cover is somewhat telling. Just like pioneering tech-death bands like Atheist started using space age-themed graphics for cover art, Kosmokrator commemorates its landmark debut in 2016 with fitting cover design work. I know. What matters most is the music, and First Step to Supremacy is all aces for Kosmokrator. Tell you what. If you love black/death metal or claim to and can’t get into Kosmokrator’s First Step to Supremacy, get the fuck out right now. You may be paraplegic from the neck down if you can’t at least bop along to this band’s music.

Neither is any black/death metal band going to win you over if you’re deaf and you try listening to this album anyhow. I’ve followed the black/death metal trend and have reviewed many black/death metal practitioners’ releases. Few examples of the black/death metal template resonate after a first listen than First Step to Supremacy does. All songs are staggering. No cheap intros or interludes that chase outright irrelevance. All songs prove addictive to repeat listens. A good gauge on whether a metaller knows his chops, ask your black/death metaller friends whether they can show any appreciation for Kosmokrator’s sound. Kosmokrator might not have entirely pioneered this style, but they provide fitting tribute and lasting legacy to the genre with First Step to Supremacy. File this under 2016’s most underrated.

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