Ambitions - Question (Cover Artwork)


Question (2006)

Think Fast!

When I first caught word that Ambitions was a side project involving members of With Honor and Shai Hulud, I figured their release would end up coming off like Heart Means Everything and That Within Blood Ill Tempered thrown into a blender.

Man was I wrong, and I'm glad that I was.

It turns out that Ambitions consist of the Aust brothers and John Ross of With Honor fame. Apparently some of the guys from Shai Hulud lend their skills as members of Ambitions when they perform live.

Musically, Question sounds like a stripped down version of the sound With Honor had on their last release This Is Our Revenge. The EP is completely devoid of unnecessary breakdowns, but still manages to mix up tempos quite a bit. For its duration it really straddles the line between punk and hardcore. There are plenty of old-school push-mosh songs chocked full of appropriate, well-integrated breakdowns, but there are just as many mid-tempo songs that are almost reminiscent of Fugazi, or even Rival Schools.

While the instrumentation and general sound was surprising enough for me, the vocals were a definite shock; Jay Aust is holding the mic on this album, and you have no idea what you're in for. The opening track "Uphill Battle" opens up with some pretty high-end mediocre shout/screams... but then, what's this? Oh dear lord, he's singing…and it's…really, really good.

Seriously, the only thing I can compare Aust's singing voice to is that of Shawn Stern on the Youth Brigade album To Sell the Truth. Again, the shouts are a little weak, but the singing is so good that it hurts to think that With Honor had a more impressive option to fill their former vocal void all along.

Ambitions may not be what I signed up for when I picked up Question, but I don't care, I want more. This EP is a boon to hardcore in general. It's raw, unpolished, and honest. It's the kind of material that makes you want to crawl over kids to get closer to the mic. It's a nice break from the standard swing-your-arms-like-a-propeller-during-the-eleventh-breakdown-in-the-first-song type of hardcore. Here's to hoping these guys put out a full-length like you (and I) wouldn't believe.