American death metal assault unit Trenchant are set to unleash a new album, Commandoccult, on the population in  March through Godz ov War Productions, so we decided to have a chat with the band’s guitarist, NRS, to find out more, if not about commandos or cults then certainly about what’s shaping up to be one of the American death metal releases of 2022…

Tell us a little of how Commandoccult came together. Were you hampered at all by the pandemic in terms of writing and rehearsing before recording? “Commandoccult had been in various states of writing almost immediately after our demo, Martial Chaos, came out back in 2018. Though an arduous task even without the pandemic’s global invasion, we remained undeterred in our rehearsing and recording of the album all through the summer and fall of 2020. The only thing truly affected by the pandemic was the speed at which we finished mixing the album. Once the mix was complete everything started to pick up speed in which mastering and finding a label. Godz ov War Productions has been fantastic to work with in terms of speed, reliability and what they offer!

How do you think the Texan and wider American metal scenes have fared over the past couple of years. One would like to think that a ‘wheat and chaff’ scenario might have evolved… “You nailed it right in the head about the wheat and chaff aspect of our scenes. The US has been paradoxical in that it is both worse and better. While we see plenty of bands that seemingly came out of nowhere now on huge labels we also see bands such as Immolation headlining major tours bringing with them lesser known bands from the death metal scene at large. Texas has been no different in this regard as there plenty of bands worth focusing on such as Steel Bearing Hand and Black Jackal‘s fantastic albums that came out last year, just to name a couple. While many do not feel the need to mine for diamonds in the rough, we feel this is a far more satisfying way to find bands as we enjoy the thrill of finding something we had not heard before but captures the aggression and intensity we set out to find”.

Back to Trenchant more specifically now – the US perhaps more than any other territory seems to be opening up again in terms of gig availability – will you be able to do much touring for the record in the foreseeable future? “It has been a breath of fresh air seeing the return to shows. While Trenchant has only one show confirmed so far, it is not until November at the earliest. That being said, we are open to doing shows should they be one we deem of our calibre”.

Good news! Now the album Could you give us a brief insight into each of the tracks on the album? Let’s start with the title track, Commandoccult. “Our opening salvo that serves as the mission statement for the band. The title is a portmanteau, being a combination of “Commando” and “Occult” which sum up our lyrical themes perfectly. Early Deicide used to do versions of this with words like “Blasphemate” and shows that if a word doesn’t exist to convey a message, create your own and will it into being”.

Indeed. I’ve written a song about my next door neighbour entitled Uselesscunt with uses the same device. The next track is Burning Spires of Mercury. “While very much influenced by Chernobyl, it’s not expressly about the event but rather what the destroyed reactor became and how its now an impenetrable fortress protected by an invisible foe”.

Darkwater Graves is track three. “A notably slower song on the album which serves to both give a slight breath in the ferocity but also to build dread for what’s to come. It is by far the darkest song on the album build around the suffocating feeling of being dragged to the depths of the ocean”.

Yes, I like that drop off in pace – you have to have light and shade, even in the most extreme music! Next we have my favourite track on the album, Yellow Cross Orison. “Specifically about Mustard Gas in World War One, Yellow Cross was a variation of the gas which (bassist) TND expertly weaved into the lyrics expressed in this song”.

Next up is Trumpets of Jericho “This was the first fully fleshed out song of Trenchant. While its title may be obvious for anyone who know World War Two aircraft, predominantly the Stuka dive bombers and the howl they would make when preparing to dive and strike. This song serves to evoke the terror and awe that such a feat would bring about”.

Atrocity Vision is next. “Apocalypse Now, and, by extension, Heart of Darkness which it was based on, have served as immense influence onto Trenchant’s concepts. To take partly from Francis Ford Coppola‘s description of the movie: Atrocity Vision is not about war, it is war”.

And what can you tell us about Wardrivers? “Another portmanteau we created to express an intense battle in the desert. While not specifically about Mad Max, there are similarities that make it part of what this song conveys”.

The penultimate track is Pyre at the Tarn. “Anyone who knows me personally knows a cover from this band was perhaps the most obvious thing about this album. This was written by a somewhat lesser known band from Norway called Molested. From the moment I heard their album Blod Draum I was entranced by the sound and ferocity they were able to create. It also is the only known cover we have come across of this band (though if there are others we’d be happy to hear it!)”

And finally we have In the Fires of Night closing out the album. “The final and most evocative song on the album. It is about the emotion in victory and the sacrifice that comes with it. Conflict is not without strife and the feeling of overcoming such a feat is not without its toll. In turn, it gives such a victory a more powerful and evocative feeling in overcoming the odds”.

That’s very true. Thanks for the chat and good luck with the album!

Trenchant’s Commandoccult releases on March 11th.