Ambassador Gun - _When in Hell_
(Pangea, 2009)
by: Jeremy Ulrey (4.5 out of 10)
According to the press release, this Minneapolis trio sports three prior releases to this year's _When in Hell_, but there seems to be little mention of their prior work anywhere on the web (including the obligatory MySpace page slumming as an official website), so I'm going to assume that the band are presenting this as a sort of "born again" debut a la _Cowboys From Hell_. Self marketing certainly doesn't seem to be their strong suit: from the nondescript, nonsensical band moniker to the confusing cover art, which sports the album title in a generic font bordered in to (unintentionally, I'm sure) resemble a business card, it's hard to get a fix on just what it is this group actually -does- without buying the CD or stumbling across them as a live support act.

Which is where we come in. You'd think with an inside joke of a name like Ambassador Gun and artwork featuring a tranquil ocean superimposed with an ornate business card, that if this band is getting reviewed on CoC they are most likely either post-metal or some kind of an artsy doom/drone project. Wrong on both counts. Basically what we have here is a high energy yet underdeveloped bedrock of blistering grind supported by a topsoil of thrash riffs and metalcore vocals. I wish I could say that any of it really sticks with you, but even after four or five spins, this still sounds cluttered and never really picks up any forward momentum. You could set your CD player on shuffle and the resulting play list would make just as much sense as the official sequencing. There isn't anything apparent wrong with the individual elements here, and the energy level is commendable, but there exists a palpable lack of band chemistry that prevents Ambassador Gun from contending in today's highly competitive extreme metal market. Was that diplomatic enough?


(article published 13/11/2009)

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