Label: High Roller Records
Having just formed in 2013, Ambush are a relatively recent heavy metal band from Sweden. Desecrator marks their second full-length album, and is a continuation of the classic style in which they have entrenched themselves with their previous works. They are frequently compared to Judas Priest, and in my opinion this is a pretty accurate description of their sound, though this release does mark an expansion of their sound to include more disparate influences.
Though their style of riffing does bear a strong resemblance to eighties-era Priest, it’s probably the case that a lot of the comparisons to the legendary metal band are made largely because of the vocalist sounds an awful lot like Rob Halford with his impressively wide range and penchant for high vibrato-laden screams. I think his vocals on this release go even further though, as there are places where his falsettos are right up there Kim Petersen, evoking a far more haunting and cutting sound than Halford. But apart from such high-pitched fanfares, the vocals depart from these influences significantly. The vocal melodies themselves as well as the use of backing vocals during a lot of the choruses seem to take away from this comparison a good bit. But going back to the riffs, it’s important to note that inasmuch as Ambush are carrying on the torch of a lot of the classic bands, they still have a modernised vibe in a lot of their songs; the rhythm guitar is pretty bass-heavy and the production is cleaner than I’d like it to be. But these don’t affect the songwriting or composition and so are far from being deal-breakers.
There are two strong highlights on this album, and those are the title track and the closing track. And when I say strong, I mean that these songs are so perfect that they alone might warrant a purchase of this album. Yes, they are that good. “Desecrator” has an incredibly enchanting set of riffs that run throughout the entire song, during verses and choruses alike. The only problem is they are a tiny bit low in the mix, so you have to crank up the volume and pay close attention so that they don’t get drowned out by the vocals. But if you listen closely, you’ll hear what I’m talking about; it’s utterly magnificent. The closing track is a massive epic tribute to Iron Maiden and is aptly named, “The Seventh Seal” which I can only assume was an intentional nod to the band’s 1988 album. It has all the best elements of any classic Maiden song: a slow first half followed by a powerful second half, complete with galloping basslines, superb lead playing, and of course a high-capacity magazine full of chest-pounding riffs.
But besides the highlight tracks and the flawless vocals, the rest simply didn’t do much for me, and I’m not sure why. Ambush have all the right ingredients but for some reason this album just didn’t have a lot of memorable moments. I like what they are doing though, and I definitely will keep an eye out for future releases, especially based on the stronger tracks on this album. Come to think of it, the vocalist alone would make me want to listen to anything they put out. He’s just that good.
Check ’em out here: https://www.facebook.com/Ambushsweden