Ambush - Desecrator
High Roller Records
80s Classic Heavy Metal
9 songs (39'50")
Release year: 2015
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

My older kid is at the age when I was already seriously into metal. Sadly, she is not. Despite many a car ride filled with it, and early days indications of headbanging. So, I ask her from time to time what the kids are listening to in her high school these days. The answers and music samples she plays surprise me. When high school football players lift they listen to a rapper named Drake? Seriously? That pumps them up? So, my mind inevitably wonders to what was in the air in the early 80s that made metal so appealing back then to many youngsters across the globe. Swedish Ambush can give a glimpse as to why I would still make metal my personal music of choice.

Desecrator is Ambush second album and my understanding the Swedes just continued where they left off with Firestorm. When speedy catchy Rose of the Dawn, title befitting Faster or Maiden gallop of Possessed by Evil plays, you just want to move. Just get up, grab that proverbial air guitar and pretend you are a rock star. It is exactly the songs like all at once powerful, sultry and melodic Night of Defilers or the title track which vindicate my high school passions one more time. Desecrator, the song, is especially fantastic in the good tradition of the 80s albums, when title track was often the best track as well. Desecrator reminds me of Breaker and early 80s Judas Priest, with its hooky chorus, dual harmony and solo hitting home. Ambush does not only operate at elevated speeds as The Chain Reaction and Master of the Seas are steadier meatier anthems, warm bass delivering extra lines. Even when Ambush decides to go real epic (The Seventh Seal), they don't resort to outright sap. They are not in the business playing sugary ballads.

Ambush’s vocalist Oscar Jacobsson is exactly what the band needs. He is a perfect reminder why 80s vocalists really needed to be able to sing, simply because this style of music demands it. No getting away with growls or howls here. In the upper register Oscar even reminds me of Halford, when he stretches himself on Possessed by Evil or The Chain Reaction, but he lacks Halford’s power in the lower end. Drum sound of Desecrator is also a bit more modern than back in the 80s, juicier and holding more weight, but overall Ambush understands how not to overpolish their classic metal sound.

Sure, there will be people who will say that songwriting here is very standard and overall Ambush is just not that original. That is actually the whole point, to bring back the memories yet not sound dated or phony. Ambush does that very well and is a lot more authentic than, say, Hammerfall and its offspring. The fans of Widow, cleaner sounding Armour and all things 80s metal should lap up Desecrator.

Killing Songs :
Night of Defilers, Desecrator, The Chain Reaction
Alex quoted 85 / 100
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