ALBUM REVIEW: Ambedo – Battle Path

Glimpsing through a painted forest that reveals the BATTLE PATH’s subtle logo being flooded by blinding sunlight is a perfect accompaniment to the melancholic introduction drifting its way through the opening track. An excitement seems to fill the air as the heaviness kicks its way in, powerful and flawless. Like scores of a symphony, Raging host explores the shattering speed of black metal at the high end, cataclysmic doom on the low frequencies and fluid mid-sections in which time seems to stand still.

The slow, sludgy sections almost leave you gasping for air with their ruthless intensity. There is a confident self assurance evident throughout the earlier sections of this album, particularly amongst the slower sections. Fast paced music almost leaves a band with a greater ability to hide behind their speed, mediocre riffs and rhythms can be shredded through with such velocity that they become a blur, diverting attention from the melodic aspects to the music. It takes a certain charisma to produce songs with such a low tempo as those featured in Ambedo. The risk of listeners losing interest becomes an imminent threat unopposed to super-fast metal bands, but therein lies the confidence. The 3 minute formulaic pop-rock song is long forgotten as BATTLE PATH seem to invite you on a musical trip with them. Carefully presenting each thoroughly considered note and chord with absolute, unhesitating passion. It is thoroughly immersive, everything good music should be.

The mark of a great track is to become utterly lost in it, forgetting everything else that may go on around you as it plays out. Totally gripping with it’s savage power, the first half of this album is an impressive listen. If any criticism has to be made so far, at a push, It would be the lyrics. They’re not bad, but they’re not exactly staggeringly profound either. “They follow endlessly / they move so quietly” is growled through A Thirst For Blood in what I imagine is inspired by Darkthrone’s Transilvanian hunger. With most tracks clocking in at 8 minutes, they arent made to feel particularly dragged out due to the creative changes that occur through each song. It retains a strong structure whilst being excitingly unpredictable. Bloodthirsty growls tearing out of nowhere are crushing with their vocal prowess.

As with any composition that attempts to be experimental, things have a tendency to hit and miss. The vast majority of the time Ambedo hits the nail on the head, but there are moments towards the end of the album when it seems as if they are experimenting ever so slightly beyond what makes for an effective track. Perhaps it is just the disorientating contrast between floaty keyboard noises and the sound of hell collapsing in on itself.

Ascension, almost amusingly reminisces of Syd Barrett era PINK FLOYD with its appreciative nod to 1960’s psychedelic rock; synthesized organs and jangling picked strings reverberating around the stereo field. It inevitably descends into hammering black metal, piercing screeches galore and the transition is pretty fluid too. It’s clear that BATTLE PATH are trying to push boundaries by using influences from various genres, each with the band’s own twist; obviously a great thing when it works. Deep Wounds makes further use of synthesizers and what sounds like a case of guitar pedals as long as a surfboard. Industrial clangs throughout the intro are taken as another feather in the cap for the experiemntal writers. Whilst primarily the harmonies and instruments compliment each other phenomenally well, ambient and almost peaceful music does make for an unusual contrast to the black metal screeches howling over them. Not that the band can be blamed for trying. Amazingly, the tempo seems to fluctuate dramatically without a single whiff of imperfection shown from each band member, and none of it feels out of place either.

In all honesty, Ambedo deserved a better ending track than it received with Finis Omnium. The way this composition of songs masterfully seduces its listeners into focusing intently on each breath and echo, has until the final track, rewarded them with powerfully apocalyptic track endings. Having to listen to 3 and a half minutes of amp feedback and droning synths seemed a half-hearted ending to something which built up a fantastic anticipation. Regardless, this is an undeniably wonderful album that BATTLE PATH should rightly be proud of.

Rating: 8/10

Battle Path Ambedo

Ambedo is out now but is also set for release on June 24th in cassette format via Wood and Stone Productions. 

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