AlbumsNovember 29, 20117,950 views

Ambitions Stranger

01. The Habit of Despair is Worse Than Despair Itself 02. The Illusion 03. Sinking 04. Fact Remains 05. Calamity 06. Rapid Succession 07. Overstep 08. Postscript 09. Stranger 10. Losing Control 11. Culmination (of my life's work) 12. Between Breaths 13. Redemptive Soul
2007 Bridge Nine Records
Our score 7

by Cory

Some of the most memorable and beloved acts in punk/hardcore history haven't shied away from melody in their songwriting. Ambitions is a Connecticut hardcore band that aspires to join the ranks of Avail, Ignite and Rise Against in walking that precarious path and they do so admirably on Stranger, their debut album. It's Bridge 9 Records' second foray into the style this fall and while not as high profile as Crime In Stereo, Ambitions has quite a bit to offer to the willing listener. Fans of With Honor will recognize guitarists Jay and Jeff Aust, here serving as vocalist and guitarist, respectively. They're not exactly virtuoso musicians and Jay is no Zoli, but the songwriting is strong and varied enough to make this a more memorable debut than most and an entirely worthwhile listen. Disc opener "The Illusion" sets the tone for the disc fairly well but its blending of relatively straightforward hardcore with simple yet effective melody doesn't give a broad enough idea of what Ambitions is capable of at their most creative. As the disc progresses, Ambitions brings in elements of various D.C. sounds (think Down By Law and Fugazi) and really shine. It's not that the modern hardcore side of things doesn't work per se as much as it's just more intriguing when the band brings something less obvious to the table. "Postscript" has a brief moment around the middle of basic, bass-driven brilliance that I must have rewound three times during my first listen. If Ambitions has one real weakness, it may ironically be their ambition. Coming up with thirty minutes of compelling melody, especially when most of it is flying by at breakneck speeds, has proven challenging even for most of the aforementioned veterans. Although they rarely fall entirely flat there are a few subpar segments and tracks. The overly long and mid-paced "Culmination (Of My Life's Work)" might have worked at about twice the speed and half the length but it just didn't need to be stretched out into a hardcore ballad. There's nothing bad enough to sink this otherwise strong record but just enough to keep it from being an unabashed success. Bottom Line: Ambitions' debut album Stranger is a pleasant surprise, a genuinely good melodic hardcore record that doesn't disappoint on either count. I'd love to see these guys live and they would fit in just as well on a bill with Sick Of It All as they would with Strung Out. So let's get on making that tour happen and until then I'll just enjoy the record.


Post Comment
dibky_ 11/5/2007 10:21:49 AM

dunno, dunno

cmd_ 11/5/2007 10:53:06 AM

disappointment of the year. what the f*ck happened to bridge9?

Michael_ 11/5/2007 12:04:08 PM

Good disc. I give it about a 7/7.5 too.

dickbutt_ 11/5/2007 3:34:44 PM

this cd gets so much shit, but I f*cking love it. 8/10

anonymous 11/5/2007 3:45:31 PM

f*ck! i thought webby fired Cory. i got my hopes up too soon i guess

anonymous 11/5/2007 4:03:00 PM

If this is on par or an improvement over their E.P. I'll probably pick this up.

anonymous 11/5/2007 5:29:58 PM

Cool record. Its a welcomed blend of different elements. The production is really fitting as well being kind of a balancing act of both raw and polished. I would say 8/10.

anonymous 11/5/2007 6:37:02 PM

good review cory

zero_x_potential_ 11/5/2007 6:47:09 PM

I prefer the EP, but this is still pretty solid. I pretty much agree with Cory (scary).

Rotten Fruit Vomit_ 11/5/2007 7:08:56 PM

This rlease is a 5. I got it off of Soulseek a month ago. The EPs better, but this album has no cursing, which is umm i guess okay. This album reminds me of With Honor mixed with Sum 41 & The Swellers.

Nick_ 11/6/2007 9:36:59 AM

The Swellers? The Swellers rule.

arty_mcfarty_ 11/6/2007 10:14:49 AM

this was a very balanced and informative review......kudos cory

dickbutt_ 11/6/2007 7:12:36 PM


fartbutt_ 11/6/2007 7:43:02 PM

looks like cory spent all his downtime learning how to actually write a review. hallelujah!

anonymous 11/6/2007 8:32:07 PM

this album is tight.

corebore_ 11/14/2007 12:52:34 PM

this album is kickass. took a few listens to really get into it but I like it. I still think the Question EP was better though.