Album review: Commoner – A Commoner’s Quest

Crusty quartet Commoner’s quest for quality doom reaps rewards on riffy second album.

Album review: Commoner – A Commoner’s Quest
Olly Thomas

Norwich-and-London-based quartet Commoner have hit upon an accomplished sound in a few short years. Given that they have decades of musical experience under their belts, this shouldn’t be a surprise – but where members have previously served in crust-punk and hardcore bands like Coitus, the Restarts and Left For Dead, A Commoner’s Quest offers up doom metal of distinctly robust quality. With memorable tunes, titanic riffage and on-point production, this could have been made by musicians more used to big stages than DIY squat gigs.

Indeed, where much modern doom folds in influences from elsewhere on the heavy music spectrum, songs like Bacteria or the title track feel like a reaffirmation of the potency of the genre’s elementary sources. Even the former track’s Motörheadbanging middle eight fits in seamlessly with the stately Iommi-inspired power chords on either side. Queens Of Slaughter packs a heavier punch, its faster tempo kicking up the band’s enduring punk spirit, while the perfectly-titled Cthulhunaut is 10 minutes of eldritch terror and heroic guitar leads.

Bridging these edifices of intensity are the album’s most unexpected passages. Too long to be considered interludes, Tamesis Naiad and Hyrndu Draugabörnin are intricate pieces of acoustic guitar that dramatically broaden the scope of A Commoner’s Quest, challenging assumptions of what this band are capable of. Fitting into a tradition that goes back to Sabbath slowies like Orchid, these two tracks indicate an impressively thoughtful understanding of dynamics, opening up space that only emphasises the album’s more walloping moments.

A successful quest, then – and let’s hope there are plenty more to come from this crusty-but-classy outfit.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, High On Fire

A Commoner’s Quest is out now

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