The retro metal wave has given us some stellar bands over the past decade that carry the flag for all things heavy metal. Artists such as Enforcer, Cauldron, Eternal Champion and others have unleashed some killer records that stand up with, if not overtake, their specific influences. Sweden’s Ambush has released two solid albums since their inception in 2013 (2014’s Firestorm and 2015’s Desecrator) and has evolved naturally from gutsy heavy metal to streamlined, melodic, and meaty modern music that still sounds like it was created in 1983, but with better production and ballsy songs.
Infidel takes what they’ve done before and gives us what feels like Ambush as they should be. The music is mid-paced to accentuate the heaviness and power of the songs, the pacing and track selection both give a lot of room for atmosphere, and the players are ridiculously on top of their game. Their sound is a happy mash-up of NWOBHM, Euro-power metal, and classic USPM, so it feels like Omen meets Iron Maiden over drinks with Helloween, and it works seamlessly. Oskar Jacobsson has a powerful vocal range that contains gutsy grit and soaring screams, but he doesn’t overplay the high notes and keeps it tasteful throughout. The twin guitars riff hard and heavy, and the solos are not convoluted and choose the notes and emotion carefully. The rhythm section is concrete-solid, with lots of air in the drum-work and elasticity in the upbeat bass. It’s a classic heavy metal band making classic heavy metal music.
“Yperite” is unique with it’s walking bassline and anthemic vocals, and tracks like “A Silent Killer” and “The Demon Within” are mean sons of bitches. “Hellbiter” is the one to look out for though, with buckets of Judas Priest influence and headbangery off the charts, it will be a huge live favourite for the true fans. That said, there’s not a dud in the pack, not a minute of filler in the 43 minutes of playtime, and there wasn’t a time during listening where I wasn’t fully entertained. For old-school headbangers and noobs alike, it’s a solid slab of metal that refuses to disappoint.
For the kind of throwback music that Ambush is aiming, there are zero surprises and that’s where the comfort lies. Infidel is a heavy metal album in every sense of the word, filled to the very top with crushing riffs, emotional vocals, and soaring solos. It won’t change the world, but that’s not the point of the band nor the album – this is the sound of primal metal that was perfect back when it originated, and it’s just as adrenaline-fueled and delicious now. Enjoy the feast.
Infidel Track Listing:
3. Leave Them To Die
5. The Summoning
6. The Demon Within
7. A Silent Killer
8. Iron Helm Of War
9. Heart Of Stone
10. Lust For Blood
Run Time: 43 minutes
Release Date: March 13, 2020
Record Label: High Roller Records