Ambush! - American Monster
Record Label: Hotfoot Records
Release Date: June 25, 2008
A few years back, I found out about a tiny indie label from Long Island, New York called Hotfoot Records that featured some pretty big-sounding hardcore band. Their roster swelled and depleted, sadly, due to bands breaking up, signing to other labels, and so on. They had made a post about a year and a half ago, on their Myspace page, about a band from Florida that they had just signed. That band was Ambush!
The sound of Ambush!, on their Hotfoot Records debut American Monster, is a sound I've missed from today's hardcore and metal scene. It's a sound reminiscent of the older, much more talented, hardcore acts. They would've been right at home doing shows with Black Flag, Circle Jerks, or Minor Threat. The band also utilizes a lot of the elements of hardcore that today's pop acts like New Found Glory, Fall Out Boy, and Hit the Lights utilize - elements like gang vocals, hard and heavy breakdowns, and catchy instrumental hooks. And one of the best things about this band is you can actually understand what their frontman, Kyle Dischinger, is saying when he's screaming. Who says hardcore frontmen can't be articulate?
One of the best songs on this album is “Sailors of Sunken Ships.” Aside from being a heavy, adrenaline-fueled anthem, the ending is incredible. Literally, after hearing this song once, I restarted it and played it through three times in a row. The band is so tight during the breakdown at the end. With the stop-and-go mentality behind each chug, the simple call screamed out at the end of the riff (“...one more time!”), I couldn't help but think at the end of each play, “One more time...”
The only negative critique I have for the release is not directed towards the band at all, it's simply the mixing of the record. The one thing I noticed over and over again, and what distracts me from the songs at times, is how incredibly loud the snare drum is. It isn't that it's overpowering everything and making my ears bleed, it's that it's too high in the mix and distracts from the rest of the instrumentalists.
If you enjoy hardcore music, do yourself a favor and get this album. Young and old fans alike will put this into their stereos and, at the end of each listen, will find themselves screaming, “One more time!”