Footballer William Eardley IV once said, “Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.” Operating this vehicle is none other than Cry Excess with their debut album Ambition Is the Shit. The 5-piece metalcore band from Turin, Italy, is guaranteed to destroy your eardrums with a persistent blend of chugging, gritty riffs, harsh growls and blasting percussion in one of the darkest and heaviest albums to date.
The album opens with “Ripshit (Hands Up For the Italians)”, a brutal, ear-blasting track that opens with a modest electronica-driven fade-in intro before slamming your ears with gritty vocals, harsh growls, and dark undertones from heavy riffs. What’s different and most interesting about this track is the split between screams and a rap-style of delivery from vocalist Jaxon V. It’s a dark, brooding track that marks the underlying rage that the band is putting forth- and it leaves you wanting more.
Next is “The Public Enemy”, a rage-filled track that packs one hell-of-a punch with a sinister intro leading into heavy riffs, sliding breakdowns, relentless percussion, and a brilliant vocal display of cleans and screams.
The album’s title track, “Ambition Is the Shit” is marked by high screams, melodic synth solos, relentless percussion, fast riffs, and heavy breakdowns that are packed with an amount of force that’s capable of sending you flying across the room. It’s the track that has it all in terms of persistent brutality, instrumental, and vocal variety- including a breakdown that is driven by a synthesizer with heavy chugging as a complementing undertone.
Now, I don’t like electronic music in metalcore whatsoever, but Cry Excess has managed to utilize electronic elements to add a layer of depth to each track, including breakbeat-driven breakdowns in pulsating tracks such as “You Hate Because You Can’t Compete”, and “Hustler”. And it works to their advantage. But it’s not limited to just creating a break-beat sort of style. The electronic elements often take place of what would be melodic solos from the guitarists – and it doesn’t sound campy at all.
Vocalists Jaxon V. and Brian N. show an absolutely brilliant display of vocal variety and range, incorporating multiple elements and a whole other genre (rap) within their heavy delivery. Tracks such as “What Keeps Us Alive” and “Rebel, Forever” display split scream harmonies, gritty cleans, and deep growls. “Ripshit” and “Ambition Is the Shit” best display their use of rap within heavy riffs and brutal breakdowns.
It’s hard to pick out any stand-out tracks, as most of the songs on this album are well-crafted and can stand for their own. One stand-out track is “Hustler”, as it gives a false notion of respite from the heavy chugging by giving us heavy lyricism and aptly crafted electronica before delving into an aggressive breakdown.
Another notable track is “Unto Death”, which features one of the best displays of instrumental musicality. Relentless and driving percussion from drummer Brian N. is paired with masterful riffage from guitarists Mark Agostini and Andrew V. Light, melodic riffs lead into heavy, dark breakdowns before swinging full-circle to include melodic overlays and light arias within the heavy, fast-paced riffs.
Overall, Cry Excess has created a truly unique album that is packed with an ear-shredding, bone-rattling quality that will shake the very foundation upon which you stand. You can hear the amount of energy that the band has put into Ambition Is the Shit. The limitless energy and rage is so clearly audible that it is almost visual. Ambition Is the Shit is so well-crafted and relentless in every breakdown, verse, hit and kick, that it’s hard to believe that this is actually a debut album. You can’t help but mosh, groove, and headbang to every track. If ambition is the path to success, and persistence its vehicle, then Cry Excess’s Ambition Is the Shit is a masterpiece. You’d be foolish to not listen to this album. (Katt Hass)
For Fans Of: Memory Of A Melody, I-Exist