Throwing down a duo of tracks on their debut EP, Greek Black Metal trio ἄμβροτος (Ambrotos) aim to explore pre-socratic thought and ideas with the songs inspired by the works of Heraclitus and Pythagoras respectively.
As what I believe is a means to test the waters, the band has done an adequate job of putting together something that is listenable but needs a lot more focus in the realms of production sensibility.
Typically in the world of Black Metal, this isn’t much of a concern however there is always a unifying element in the sound where, against all odds, all the pieces fit together and it’s more about establishing a mood and atmosphere than anything else. Unfortunately, the production work on this EP is more reflective of a demo quality and that’s not because it sounds bad, it’s that the instruments don’t mesh together very well.
The drums take on a very raw character which isn’t a problem, but the tones of the snare and cymbals are ringing in places that don’t compliment the string sections. That said, the performance is competent and tight. Drummer Humberto L. consistently plays with a Thrash Metal vocabulary with quarter note kick drums pounding away nearly at all times and basic fills peppered in at the appropriate places. Unfortunately there is an imbalance of cymbal volume throughout the array of cymbals with some of them being heavily buried in the mix.
Guitar and Bass are performed by Kostas T. and cut straight to the point. There are no frills, just tremolo chord picking on the Guitar although the bass lines have some nice movement to them. Fans of the classic Boss HM-2 will find familiarity in the guitar tone which is complimented nicely by a fuzzed up bass, the pairing of these tones should have a focus moving forward in leveraging the bands sound.
The vocals of Vaggelis K. are somewhat marred by the mixing as they fight a losing battle with the guitars for space. His vocals are nearly incomprehensible and buried although what does peek through at times sounds like it would have been good! I really disliked the way the clean vocals were produced as they don’t have much impact and some of the double takes are pretty badly out of time with each other.
When it comes to the arrangements, the band ends up being a bit of a blender. There are a few specific speed settings with not a great deal in between, again, typically not an issue with this genre of music. Though there is a sense of awkwardly moving from section to section without a natural flow occurring within the song structures.
In a live setting, the songs would probably be a decent soundtrack for a room full of people gaining catharsis from hurting each other. In a recorded situation, they don’t leave me with much to reflect on which is a shame considering the inspirations behind the songs.
This was a difficult review to write, but I felt like it was required of me to be brutally honest. The band does a lot of things right and present themselves well, The songs are actually pretty good too! But there is a sense that the arrangements, production and mixing were rushed.
I believe the band is capable of producing something great but they will need to refocus their songwriting and sound design in order to achieve it. Again, I reiterate, as a demo I think this is a solid piece of work. As an EP, I think they could do better and I strongly encourage them too.
If you’d like to encourage the band, grab the EP from HERE