Belgian death metal? Why, Ambassador, you spoil us. This is the first 6 track EP from the five chaps from Brussels, and they’ve clearly decided that you need to experience them free of any expectations of which type of death metal to pigeon hole them under, because they’ve decided to do their own thing.
Technical death metal then? No, not really, to be honest, but death metal with a profoundly progressive edge. There’s none of your verse / verse / bridge / chorus / verse / solo / chorus / outro nonsense here, just slabs of metal song-writing put together for your listening pleasure. Often, it kind of works. The charmingly titled “Morbid Story”, (and trust me, I’ve been on the beer with some local undertakers more than once, and they’ve got you beat, chaps) is a good example. It’s a romping three minute odd spree that has some skull-crushing heavy riffery, combined with some off-kilter timings and an almost jazz-like sense of freedom.
This freedom comes at a price though, and when it doesn’t quite work as well, it can be quite an irritant. The spingly-spangly, jingly-jangly all over the place nature of “Cursed Crown” sounded more like a death metal band playing off cuts from The Smith’s back catalogue until they found the tab for some latter day Cannibal Corpse. Nothing that would make you want to pull off your own ears, but plenty to make you want to punch the “next track” button on your media player of choice.
Incredibly, there’s a fairly good production here, and when the song-writing comes together, some really cool sections, though they tend to be sections of songs rather than the whole thing themselves. As a pretty terrible comparison, I like Chicken, Pickled Onions, Pork Scratchings, Fried Rice and Sprouts, but I probably wouldn’t want them all thrown in the same pot. Some discretion has to be used in terms to crafting a song, rather than a selection of moments chucked together, loosely bound by a vaguely similar tempo. Maybe it’s me and my attention span, but I’d much rather have a track that’s low on technicality and high on atmosphere or narrative.
Long story short: not for me chaps.
(4/10 Chris Davison)