Uphill Battle

Uphill Battle

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Uphill Battle's debut album is an intense half-hour of hardcore/noisecore/grindcore in the vein of Converge or a more aggressive, less-technically dazzling Dillinger Escape Plan. The main components of their sound are lead vocalist Adi's agonized, shrieking vocals (one reason for the Converge comparison), the dissonant, sharp-edged guitar interplay of Adi and lead guitarist Jeff Capra, and drummer Danny Walker's blastbeat-filled grindcore drumming. There are a few detours into Swedish-accented metal riffing "The Stench Is Spreading," and plenty of difficult, stop-on-a-dime instrumental passages. It's all very fast and furious, and the overall sound evokes a strong feeling of tension and dread. There's no faulting the execution or the sincerity of the performances, either. The main criticism, then, would be that Uphill Battle is treading on somewhat familiar ground, as the number of bands who have been inspired by the likes of Converge and Dillinger Escape Plan really mushroomed over the course of the early 2000s. Uphill Battle tackles the style better than most, but they're still not on the level -- in terms of songwriting or individuality -- as the real elite bands. So consider this a promising, but not definitive, debut and keep an eye out for what these guys do next.

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