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Angels Crying, From The Filthy Skies (Storm Is A-Comin'!) - 96%

CHAIRTHROWER, March 25th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2020, CD, High Roller Records (Slipcase)

Released on Friday the 13th, at the behest of this whole "social distancing" viral (polliwog) scare, and available on both slipcase CD as well as multiply coloured 12" vinyl under High (Rocka) Rolla Records is haymaking Swedish heavy metal trailblazer Ambush, with its stunning, not to mention congenitally dark or austere, Infidel full-length - the third in Eurostars' fancifully lettered i.e. cover-designed series...(By Thor, duly is it bad-ass!)

Whilst many (will) swear by 2015's fatal & attractive Desecrator sophomore - perhaps the tidiest, or most technically polished and proficient, album to date - this holed up, wordy yegg dutifully pumps noggin n' fyst to titan (killing) tracks such as "Yperite" (pronounced "wipe right"?), "Leave Them to Die" - an astute, freaky live n' dead ringer for some White Wizzard-meets-Sin Starlett-meets-Pentagram hullabaloo - and, notably, as esteemed MA colleagues pointed out, "A Silent Killer" -- all of which feature downright knavish albeit wholly grooving/gruelling about-faces (or stark, ninety degree you-turns) liable to spin 'em all into an outright frenzy of good ole "new wave of traditional heavy metal" genre veneration.

Ironically, the main outlier, in my exalted and wry opinion, consists of Infidel's titular opener (alongside the lesser so, yet uncharacteristically long 5.666 minute carouser "Iron Helm Of War"), as its semi-triplet-based, semi-"slip-sliding", high wire cadence - minus front springer Oskar Jacobson's stratospheric yelping - simply alien to whatever Ambush has been known to create, thus far. (Haha! Dig his sinuously bizarre and arresting "burn-cackle" nary halfway in!)

As always, though, Linus Fritzson (also a member of Rejected Symmetry) potently lays down relentless and/or unyielding - certainly un-repentent! - drum beats akin to getting (s)mashed about the shnozz in most felicitous, roisterous manner. To toot, bassist Ludwig Sjöholm duly holds down, nay, BREAKS down the fort with his mammoth-sized, super duper resilient and LOUD playing, most assuredly galaxies away from pure kowtowing.

Holy (beady, red-eyed) crow! "Yperite" begins, stoically enough, with sorta like-minded poised mien as Desecr(e)ator's "Night of Defilement" (and, for the record, JP's "Devil's Child", from days of gore) before ten-ton monster truck of a bass line takes over; thusly, for the song's wickedly gripping duration. As inferred, a celeritous, pre (killer) solo change of events propels this one through kinetically charged, electric night skies, with Oskar's seizing, awesomely inflected vox also bringing to mind Firestorm's "Don't Shoot (Let 'Em Burn!)", or(e) maybe even its exalted closer "Natural Born Killers".

Worth mentioning, he hits them low notes as well, or cathartically, as any of his over-the-hop high end acrobatics. Great examples rest in pre-solo "Hellbiter", as (s)well as Hitten-like retro-activator "Heart of Stone", their s(l)ick lead chops notwithstanding. For its part, "Lust For Blood", while perhaps not quite valorously epic like Desecrator swansong "The Seventh Seal", still commendably assuages, so far as closers go (once more, the leads simply slay). (*As late-March caveat, must anoint notion regarding incredibly tacit and departing guitar solo from "A Silent Killer", just after buddy crankily espouses Viking-like rumbling/mumbling, and such, with flourish!)

Ax warriors in old hand Olof Engqvist, along with as-brashly svelte newcomer/ex Legbah-er Karl Dotzek (not "Dönitz"!) keep up flame-game in most celebrated fashion; this latent arrival, in fact, may account for the band's slightly more strident, angular, or acerbically riveting, sound/vibe. Whichever the case, even midpoint seventy-five second instrumental "The Summoning" fits in quite nicely, in same way "Diamonds" proper utterly behooved Enforcer's like-titled top notch sophomore.

All this, prior to the chromatically speedy, as well as innovating-ly finger-tapped and "whammy'd" "The Demon Within" (demon-ringer for D-crater's "Faster"), in addition to everything else these grittily salient lads serve up, from here on in. Oh, of note, also, is inclusion of auxiliary (live act) fire men Burning Fire (!), from Night/Screamer, on bass, alongside further fretboard "defiler" Alexander Lyrbo of Bullet and triptych entailing Morbid Grin, Brutal Noise, Nominion. Quite a pedigree, for both band and members, indeed.

Yep, there aren't any weak offerings on here, and even though the train's pulling into crazy town(e) right now, don't let such prevent you from fully revelling in what amounts to be its most toothsome and poignantly deleterious run to date, Ambush's Infidel! (Plus, again, ain't that [blasphemous] artwork downright stylish and rad?!?)