Review: Ambassador Gun - Golden Eagle

A rip-and-tear nor'easter of pain.
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ambassador gunAmbassador Gun’s Golden Eagle feels like the sonic attack in Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. With a deluge of pandemonium, the Minnesota-based grind outfit punishes eardrums and hastens heart rates.

Golden Eagle is raw, disordered detonations of noise and discomfort. It’s hard to characterize it as a listenable experience, but there’s little doubt that the band achieves what they’re after through these barely-contained knife fights.

Ambassador Gun was formed by Tim Sieler and Luke Olson, a couple of high school buddies with chops in metal and punk bands. After relocating to Minnesota in 2000, the pair worked some different musical layers into their writing. “From there, we started to write a lot of psychedelic, experimental metal in the vein of Neurosis and Today Is the Day and somehow blended it with the stylings of Slayer and old-school Hatebreed,” says Olson.

After the 2007 release of The Streets Have Eyes, their first EP, Ambassador Gun picked up speed. The band’s first full length dropped in 2009 and some line-up changes took place that brought drummer Patrick Ruhland into the frenetic fold.

Golden Eagle finds the band with some touring experience under their belts and a split EP with Enabler in the tank. Their second album aligns Ambassador Gun with Prosthetic Records.

The self-produced record really is a take it or leave it affair. Its balance of post-punk, hardcore, crust, and grind elements make it a sonic workout – even for more weathered listeners of heavy music. Sieler and Olson tear away with aural razors, mauling the listener with grubby guitars and throat-shredding vocals. And Ruhland’s drumming, a mash-up of blastbeats and punk perfection, amps it up.

“Wounded Knee” opens with a squall of shrill feedback. It gives way into a rip-and-tear nor'easter of pain, with vocal trade-offs and an insistent shriek of anguish. It sounds chaotic, yet there’s a reedy thread of order beneath the psychosis.

The punishment carries through the album’s 11 tracks, making a mess out of “Chris Brown” in shattering fashion and bashing the shit out of the garage with “Sunshine Acid.” Only rarely does anything resembling a groove emerge, like in the haemorrhaging hub of “Warpaint” or in the wreckage of “No Suffering.”

An instance of aural agony if there ever was one, Ambassador Gun’s Golden Eagle is probably only for that fine line of music fans that like it especially crusty. The trio accomplishes what they set out to do in ear-bleeding fashion, but suggesting it’s an acquired taste would be one hell of an understatement.