Review: Ambulance “The End of Our Time” CD

Here's the debut full-length from this killer Swedish band delivering 11 generally succinct tracks of their menacing His Hero is Gone/Tragedy styled metallic crust punk dissonance with viciously strained midrange growls/snarls. The one glaring exception is the second track, "All Lies", which fuses with "Bring Out the Dead" and nearly triples the total length of the other tracks by running just past eight minutes and dropping tons of instrumental breaks where sludgy midpaced power chord surges shift into faster and more frantic picking patterns and note choices. There are definitely a number of tracks that are a little more straightforward in terms of following a pretty standard attack on the thick, churning D-beat chord progressions with only minimal metal influences seeping in to amp up the heaviness or toss in slight melodic accents, but there are definitely several tunes that deviate from that streamlined approach. The tail end of "Scarred for Life" brings in a hint of sinister piano against some pounding drum fills and repetitious surges of guitar and bass; "Programmed to Receive" is a bleak instrumental dirge with some added strings to provide more of a somber feel; etc. But among my personal favorites, "Hands Out of the Pocket" immediately stands out with its more openly melodic lead lines and over the top relentless energy that includes some quick chugging picking patterns and a catchy sensibility to the arrangements that keeps things moving very well; while "Reminding My Past" feels a little thicker and perfectly balances a sense of in your face heaviness with those same sorts of melodies expressed in "Hands Out of the Pocket", complete with one incredible build towards the end that's among the most intense moments herein. Great work. Closer "Complications" is also awesome with its slow paced clean intro over samples of a rain storm, and the way some of those clean passage return over distorted chords later on is an awesome touch. The recording's fine by me. I might like to hear the guitars given a little more meat to fill out some of the space a little better, but the vocals sound excellent, the drums are hard hitting and have a nice sense of barely raw warmth going on, and the bass pulses away just enough to make its presence known. The guitar tone is pretty damn good as it is and certainly allows for that cold sort of dissonant undercurrent, not to mention plenty of crushing rhythms, but minor adjustments could definitely beef this material up to another level of sheer destructive force. The layout is done almost entirely in black with white text aside from one bleak, foggy landscape across the cover (which almost makes it look like a black metal record), and the lyrics tend to be bleak and depressingly abstract expressions of pain and suffering with underlying hints at a few socio-political issues at times, though not without personal touches: "When you wake up in the dark room don't be afraid you're almost dead this is your final rehearsal playing games no not anymore." I've liked everything I've heard from this band to date, and while this isn't a particularly diverse record when all is said and done, the band possesses a ton of energy and anger, which they communicate well within their song structures, so I definitely dig what they do and look forward to seeing where they take it in the future...

[Cage Match Federation]
Running time - 35:37, Tracks: 11
[Notable tracks: Hands Out of the Pocket, Reminding My Past, Complications]
Cage Match Federation -