From Sweden, AMBASSADORS OF THE SUN brings us one of the most complex and best-designed albums of 2020: “Orbiting a Dead Star”. It is not easy to describe its sound because it mixes different elements: on the one hand heavy, progressive and doom metal, psychedelia from the 60s and some other grunge touch and on the other an endless number of melodic additions and experimentation. The technicality and composition are very good and without a doubt they have known how to present the work.
“Discipline” lasts almost nine minutes, two of which begin as an atmospheric march with medieval and warlike overtones. The heavy metal base immediately lands and does so through insatiable drums and riffts loaded with despair. It is the first song and AMBASSADORS OF THE SUN already leaves us with a very high bar.
At this point we could ask ourselves, should they have saved this track for last?
The answer is no. Although it seems incredible, the surprise comes topic by topic and seems to come to us with incredible ease.
On the next song, “Snail”, one of my favorites on the whole album even though it’s hard for me to decide, the riffs are a real blast. They weave a strong, catchy line that screws into the brain and then… Wow, doesn’t that voice remind you of Layne Staley? There is the grunge influence that we mentioned. If we cut that beginning and listened to it blindly, it would sound like the chorus of “Love, Hate, Love” by ALICE IN CHAINS.
The subject continues to grow but from time to time it has ups and downs, which contributes positively in my opinion.
The third song is “From The Shadows” and here the heaviest and most extreme vein of the band fires. The gutturals decapitate everything in their path and under them the riffs carry the melody. We also find those ups and downs so 90s that is what perhaps differentiates or position the gender of the group. But hey, as I said at the beginning, the truth is that it is a very eclectic group musically speaking.
“Cinnabon” has a much more acoustic and softer beginning reminding us of PINK FLOYD guitar lines. I really like the simultaneous beats of drums and guitar that precede the voice, it gives a strange and catchy touch that later serves to bring the song to the chorus without it being pastelous or boring.
Quite the contrary, this album is anything but boring or repetitive.
We continue with “So Long”. We listen to some bells and some cars to enter an urban history and there the guitars begin to sound and some vocal howls. This time, the grunge vein (personally it reminds me of TEMPLE OF THE DOG or MOTHER LOVE BONE, although perhaps it is very far-fetched) is carried by the instrumental part but with a great contribution from the voice. The chorus is long and ethereal, something you didn’t expect.
“Aches and Pains” has some riffs that I love: dark, melodic, nostalgic, catchy,… The lyrics are injected either following that melody or making a harmonic echo that electrifies the melody even more.
Then “1-9” appears, very much in the position of “From the shadows” because it takes advantage of the extreme as well as the one that continues, “Baretta”, the latter even more doom and raw without any doubt.
The album ends with “The Masochist”: Talking in silver, another great song. From start to finish this album is intertwined by the confluence of styles and sounds, creating to my liking one of the best works of last year.
Those of you who have already heard it will know what I mean but those of you who have not yet had the opportunity to sit down with this “Orbiting a Dead Star”, don’t wait any longer. As I said, it is a very varied album with good technique and composition that willingly impacts different musical tastes. Give it a spin.
9.5/10 Alicia Castaño Sánchez / Necromance Magazine