Valeyra - The Great Ambition
Record Label: None
Release Date: June 13, 2008
Has this whole tough-guy metalcore thing got stagnant? I mean, really, how many different palm mutes and accompanied shredding can be put together? Let alone for a whole damn record's worth of material. But, I guess people are going to keep doing it, and who am I to stop them?
So it's only funny that on Valeyra's debut record, The Great Ambition, does it case a song called "Oh God, Not Another Scene." I'm not sure if he's talking about an incident, or possibly the flood of breakdowns permeated across basement shows in the U.S., but there is something great about the aforementioned song: 1) There's no screaming or breakdown until the end and 2) it does land some pretty nice southern rock licks. I guess if you can't change the sound of a scene, at least be halfway decent at it.
The Great Ambition soars high and lands in pitfalls throughout. The opener, "The Antagonist" is a dead-on hardcore song. However, the record does display a very slick and tight production seen throughout the rest of the album. At times there's nothing special across the album, but it sure as hell isn't sloppy.
Songs such as "A Change," "The Promise," and "Holding Out Our Hands" show off some metalcore riffing with beautiful melody, as when vocalist Aaron Allen sings, it holds a lot higher than his "brotal" bellows. The halfway beastly breakdown on "No Thanks Pop" is more memorable than the closing, metalicious number, "Dragon Slayer."
Valeyra have made a great debut: they're tight, the melodies are pretty decent, and the breakdowns are ear-catching at times but sometimes can be done without. The Great Ambition is just as it states, and if the band picks out their bright moments on this album and builds upon them, then they'll be more than ambitious - they may have the ability to stand out above the rest.