REVIEW: Battle Path - Ambedo

BATTLE PATH
AMBEDO
WOOD AND STONE PRODUCTIONS

Variety is a make or break sort of thing. If a band can do it cohesively, then there is little problem with a little experimentation. If said experimentation is jarring, misplaced, or just doesn't seem to fit where it's put, then it's not going to go over well. You probably already expect that this has something to do with Battle Path's Ambedo, and it does, but probably not in the way one would think.

You see, Ambedo is an all-round excellent album that provides massive blackened doom tracks, often laden with progressive touches you'd expect from other genres or bands. It's a blessing those of Battle Path considered experimentation when it came to these tracks, as Ambedo is full of 8-10 minute songs that would otherwise be tiring if things didn't change up from the first track. Being perfectly honest though, most tracks still feel overly long and a product of the big progressive-metal boom that happened a few years back (in which it wasn't uncommon to find bands recording songs ranging from 10 minutes to an hour or so in length). The issue with Ambedo isn't that it's variety doesn't work, it does - its that almost every track feels like it's from another band, albeit sharing the same vocalist.

Listening to 'Raging Host' and making your way to 'Finnis Omnium' is akin to listening to a compilation album. The songs all fit into the same category, sure, but while 'Raging Host' is a more ambient black, 'Finnis Omnium' is practically noise, little else. Some tracks include electronics, like 'A Thirst For Blood' which always fit, and some have heavy use of keyboards - often sounding a little like Opeth. One track just goes off the doom track completely and sounds almost like something you'd expect from Dimmu Borgir (seriously) - only to end, again, as ambient black? As you can see, it's all over the place. Is it honestly bad though? No.

Battle Path knows what they are doing, it just seems as though all these tracks were written over a period of creative differences, or some sort of issue along those lines. Disorganization has carved a jagged, yet interesting, path down the center of Ambedo. For me, this album very much encapsulates 2014-15, when progressive and blackened metal sub-genres were absolutely huge. It takes the best of that world and stuffs it all into one package, not always cohesive, but not lacking in quality either.