Battle Path is a quintet from Murfreesboro, TN (USA), formed in 2008 from the ashes of the doom sextet Under The Earth. From the get-go, their goal was to combine black metal with doom, and in that the certainly succeeded. Over the years, and throughout some line-up changes, the band evolved. New members made it possible to add keyboards and soundscapes to the crushing blackened doom metal, and gradually, this album was being written and recorded.
The album opens like a nice, relaxed post-rock album. Yet, in those first four minutes you can feel that hell is about to break loose, you just don't know when. There's a tension, an expectation for grandeur. After a few minutes into opener 'Raging Host' I found myself thinking: "when this blasts off, it better be good". Then it happened, distortion, fierce drums, haunted screams. The gates to hell were open and all kinds of punishing wickedness came out.
Musically, you can find these guys somewhere between Wolves In The Throne Room and Sunn O))), probably close to acts like AmenRa, Dragged Into Sunlight and Celeste. Somewhere in that area, title track 'Ambedo' is a classic piece of work, a masterful alternation between atmospheric post-metal and brutal extremities. This definitely is my favorite track on this stunning album, even to the extend of almost calling Battle Path the 'Godspeed of black' for some reason.
The keyboards on this album add an impending and frightening element to the already wicked music. On 'Ascension' they sounds like a church organ on a funeral. Combined with the screams and grinding guitars, this brings up some haunting visions. With your eyes closed, you can see the deceased slowly being dragged down into the bursting flames of hell to face their infernal destiny. Perhaps that's just my imagination, since the title predicts the exact opposite but still, it's a pretty dolorous song, which is awesome.
If you are a fan of grievous and crushing music, whether it's doom, sludge, post- or (depressive) black metal, you definitely should check out this album. The track 'Deep Wounds' alone will already drag you along all of these genres in a highly convincing way. I can only hope that these guys will come over to Europe (most preferably Antwerp of course) soon. Undoubtedly they will win over loads of people with this stuff...