Battle Path – Ambedo
Location: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Label: Wood & Stone Productions
On Ambedo, the third release from Tennessee’s Battle Path, there are more musical ideas explored than some bands ever touch upon in their entire careers. Because of this, it’s difficult to fit this release into any specific sub-genre, as there are elements of industrial, doom, and even of shoegazey black metal. And yet, these sounds are so perfectly intertwined, none can be pinpointed as the primary genre.
For those in the know, yes, this album has indeed been released before, but for those that missed it the first time, Battle Path are re-releasing it on cassette. I, being a member of the second category, am glad to have this opportunity. Ambedo is a remarkable album that manages to be beautiful, terrifying, and crushingly heavy, all at once. “Ascension” is easily one of the most sorrowful tunes I’ve heard in a while, with some eerie keyboards that sound like a melancholy church organ in the middle of a funeral. Coupled with slow, fuzzed out riffs, crashing drums, and howling, demonic vocals, it’s a total mindfuck, in the best possible way. “Deep Wounds” is the most black metal-tinged track of the lot, with a distinctly lo-fi quality in sound, thanks to the thorough reverb-drenching in the mixing and mastering. The melancholy tone throughout the album is a brilliant counterpoint to the, at times, ugly sounding electronics, as can be heard on “A Thirst For Blood,” a track that reminds me of Author & Punisher, though with an actual doom band surrounding the electronics.
The synthesizers and use of ambient noise adds an extra layer of grime (and sometimes beauty) to Ambedo, reminding me of Teethed Glory and Injury by Altar Of Plagues. I can say I’m thoroughly impressed with this record, and would recommend it to any of my friends that are into extreme metal. Seriously, don’t miss out on this album, Battle Path are going to be a name to look out for, mark my words.
Aeternus Prophet – Exclusion of Non-Dominated Material
Location: Fastiv, Ukraine
Anytime I see a demo from a Ukrainian black metal outfit, I think of bands like Drudkh and Khors, and tend to expect something along those lines. I find this to be a generally accurate assumption, though, of course, each band offers a unique spin on that sound. Exclusion of Non-Dominated Material by Aeternus Prophet, however, turned any preconceived notions I had about the Ukraine metal scene upside down.
Aeternus Prophet don’t really have any ambient or folk influences, don’t focus on pagan mysticism in their lyrics, and don’t play anything that can be considered “pretty” or “shoegazey.” Exclusion of Non-Dominated Material, the band’s second full-length, offers instead some pretty old-school-influenced blackened death metal, similar to Belphegor. There are some pretty flashy guitar bits on occasion, such as the speed-demon intro riff on album opener “Removed Eyes,” but Aeternus Prophet mostly stick to a more medium-paced style, emphasizing their death metal influences. “Sick Vision” is a prime example of the old-school style I’m talking about, sounding like a mix of Obituary and classic NWOBHM. Fans looking for 6-string acrobatics, though, might be a little disappointed, since Aeternus Prophet place more emphasis on heavy, old-style riffs than they do in writing super technical tunes, though there are occasionally some cool guitar solos.
The mix sounds a little flat at times, and the formula on each song is more or less the same, making the album seem to drag towards the middle. The tone is just a little too clean, and there just isn’t enough change in dynamics to differentiate song from song. Still, I did enjoy the classic-sounding metal vibe that permeates every nook and cranny of this record, which really goes a long way to making it an enjoyable listen. Though I wouldn’t exactly call Exclusion of Non-Dominated Material indispensable, it’s still worth a spin or two.