In August 2013, Oskar Jacobsson (vocals), Olof Engkvist (guitars), Adam Hagelin (guitars), Ludwig Sjöholm (bass) and Linus Fritzson (drums) issued their first demo tape (forming the basis for their deal with High Roller Records). Ambush’s first 7" single »Natural Born Killers« (with “Heading East” on the B-Side), was released on High Roller in 2014, followed by the critically acclaimed debut album »Firestorm«.
Stylistically, Ambush (originating from a small town called Växjö) are not miles away from current Swedish bands like RAM, Screamer and Enforcer, their main heroes are Judas Priest and Accept though.
In 2015, Ambush released their second album »Desecrator«. Four years later it's high time for the follow-up »Infidel«. Vocalist Oskar Jacobsson has all the details: “Everything except vocals were recorded in PAMA studios by Mankan Sedenberg, who also produced our second album »Desecrator«. Mankan has become an important player for us handling recording, mixing as well as having legendary Svante Forsbäck mastering the album for us. The vocals were recorded by me in my studio, and the backing vocals were recorded here and there at various gatherings with friends where we brought some studio equipment.”
“Creating an Ambush album is quite difficult for obvious reasons,” continues Oskar. “On one hand we want to put out traditional sounding heavy metal with the vibe of the pioneers from the 70/80s. On the other hand the album must sound unique in some way to be relevant to the scene. We’ve always found it interesting to have a deja vu intention when it comes to riffing passages and melodies, as people think they’ve heard something before, but they might not always know when or where … Since the release of »Desecrator« in 2015, we’ve been writing quite a lot of songs. After we condensed all the songs down to ten, we’ve had plenty of time to work with arrangements, lyric themes and song structures. It is always hard to smash the last nail into the coffin when it comes to recording and mixing, but in the end I think we succeeded in creating a good heavy metal album. I hope people will like it!”
So what are the similarities and what are the main differences to »Desecrator«? Oskar reflects: “I think the main difference is the variety of songs and lyrical themes. In my opinion, the dark songs on »Infidel« are darker than on »Desecrator«. On the other hand, the mid-tempo songs are a bit more melodic and free in comparison. We had no intention of changing musical direction with this album, and I hope the fans will welcome »Infidel« as a little brother of »Firestorm« and »Desecrator«.”
It’s obvious when one listens to the new record that Ambush have progressed as a band, they do sound much more confident overall. And also the record does show a lot more variety (see “Yperite”). “Thank you very much,” is Oskar's polite reply. “Yeah, we’re getting older, and hopefully wiser and even more heavy metal experienced. Since we started this band, we’ve always believed in what we do, but with more experience comes better insight in how to progress as a band and as individuals. I guess the music is a reflection of that!”
In general, especially regarding the riffs and the overall sound, Ambsuh still incorporate a lot classic Priest (“Hellbiter”) and Accept (the main riff in “Heart Of Stone”) in their new material. “Yeah, Priest and Accept are always very close to my heart, “confirms Oskar, “and the metal gods are to some extent present in everything we do! It is a heavy metal legacy that means a lot to us.”
“A Silent Killer” sounds like a cross between prime-time Helloween (circa “Keepers I...”), vintage Saxon and mid-period Maiden (with a bit of Accept and Priest thrown in once again), a really great song … “Yeah, I think that is spot on!,” finds Oskar. “That song is one of my favourites mainly because of the Priestish verse, Maiden bridge and the melodic Helloween refrain. The song is about the biggest ambush ever to take place in pre-modern history. Under the second punic wars, the battle of Trasimene was one of Hannibal's biggest victories against the Romans, and we tried to incorporate both music and lyrics to resemble the feeling of Carthaginians battling against a Goliath with no hesitation. Metalheads fight for independence and freedom in the same way as they did, but we leave the elephants at home.”
Playing live nowadays is the key for any younger band to generate a hard core of fans, just take a look at Night Demon. Are Ambsuh satisfied with how often they are able to play live? Oskar Jacobsson: “ We definitely look to make strategic and effective tours to play for as many people as possible. With our sophomore album, »Desecrator«, we toured most countries in central/western Europe, toured Brazil & also went over to America and Japan to play for the fist time. When we started the band, the dream was for us getting to see all these fantastic places playing our music, and meeting metalheads all around he globe. Because of that, our fan base is quite spread out geographically, which means we need a strategic plan fertilizing the seeds and small plants we planted. We just signed with booking agency Dragon Productions to give us input and a momentum finding the right path for Ambush to take the next step here. I’m sure good stuff will come out of it!
The aim of the band is, pretentious as it sounds, to keep on writing relevant music and building step by step. There is no room for opportunism in this genre as of today, and only the strongest and most hell bent bands survive this climate. All of us have jobs on the side to provide food on the table, but we’ve nevertheless never seen Ambush as an ambitious hobby. Ambush is more like a family where everyone contributes in building something that we, our friends and our fans love to share. Of course, we would all like to have a huge devoted fan base and an economic situation to enable bigger shows that generate shitloads of money. Both to enforce more distortion upon a depressingly boring music industry, but also to buy Rolexes and swim in Bavarian lager beer all day long. We know that we’ll get there only by working hard, grinding step by step. I sure hope »Infidel« will push Ambush further towards that!”
Possibly no other country than Sweden has more rock/metal bands per inhabitant. How comes? Do musicians get funded by the state in one form or other? “Yeah, my guess is that it derives from the 70’s,” analyses Oskar, “where the state started spending money on musical education for children and small gig venues for kids with the intention to raise cultural awareness through music and art. In that way, kids learned to play an instrument at an early age, which is a good creative platform ... I guess it is just too cold and boring up here without some heavy music!”