Label: High Roller Records
Release date: March 13, 2020
Format reviewed: (high-rate) mp3 promo
The traditional traits of heavy metal will maintain an important position among this year’s releases. The (more) traditional heavy metal has been already on an ascending trajectory for the last couple of years. Personally, I’m loving it! I don’t necessarily buy into the “nothing can reach the level of timeless classics” analogy - as I strongly believe that newer efforts can be on par with epic opuses put forward by the pioneers of the genre. I’m not saying that everything is golden. (That would only make for a silly assumption.) But many new(er) releases are checking all the boxes. Unfortunately, too many of us fans turned to the more extreme offerings, perhaps neglecting the more traditional side, while others left the game altogether. By no means am I trying to impose on anyone reading these pages, my personal point of views and opinions. I am however, happy to be able to share my opinions regarding certain acts and releases that otherwise might go unnoticed. My heavy metal affiliation goes back to the early 1980s, when my fascination and subject of interest was what we now call traditional heavy metal. Even after the mid 1980s when I began exploring newer, more extreme trends, and to this very day, heavy metal remains at my core, and I suspect forever will.
Now to the subject at hand. As a lucky conjuncture a few stellar heavy metal (or tightly adjacent) albums are about to get released this spring. One of them is the third full-length effort by AMBUSH: “Infidel”. Like the recently reviewed “Slaves Of Time” by the German metallers Stallion (click here for review), “Infidel” explores familiar traits of heavy metal. Whereas Stallion took their release towards a harder, more thrashier style, the forthcoming AMBUSH release is more melodic and with a (so very) slight power metal flair. However, don’t let the term “melodic” deter you from giving this album the chance it deserves: “Infidel” is jam-packed with dual guitar hi-octane, razor-sharp riffs & solos, big drums, thunderous bass and one hell of a vocal performance! Did I grab your attention? Abet an absolutely superb sound production the ten tracks on the album will keep the listener engaged from start to finish, prompting (many) repeat plays! There are no perceived changes in the band’s musical direction with this creatively laid body of music. None were necessary. AMBUSH follows a clear path with a crafty focus on the intricate details of the compositions and their spotless execution on the upcoming opus. In vocalist Oskar Jacobsson own words: “Creating an Ambush album is quite difficult for obvious reasons. On one hand we want to put out traditional sounding heavy metal with the vibe of the pioneers from the 70/80s. On the other hand the album must sound unique in some way to be relevant to the scene. Since the release of (A/N: band’s previous full-length effort) 'Desecrator' in 2015, we’ve been writing quite a lot of songs. After we condensed all the songs down to ten, we’ve had plenty of time to work with arrangements, lyric themes and song structures. It is always hard to smash the last nail into the coffin when it comes to recording and mixing, but in the end I think we succeeded in creating a good heavy metal album. I hope people will like it!” Oskar was joined in this quest by Olof Engkvist (guitars), Adam Hagelin (guitars), Ludwig Sjöholm (bass) and Linus Fritzson (drums), a lineup that remained unchanged since the band’s inception in 2013, and during the recording of “Infidel”. Guitarist Karl Dotzek replaced Adam Hagelin in the lineup after the latter’s recent amiable departure from the band.
I have no doubt that the killers (as the band affectionately calls its’ fans) will embrace “Infidel” the same way they have cherished the rest of the AMBUSH catalog! This album is energetic and inspire energy! It’s on fire! This might be, and I hope it will be a gateway (to earlier AMBUSH records) for peeps unfamiliar with the band. … and why not: for some a gateway into the wonderful and unpredictable world of HEAVY METAL!
Long live rock ’n’ roll! 10/10
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© 2020 by Emil Chiru