Uphill Battle Blurred 1999-2004

At some point when no one was looking, California’s Uphill Battle broke up. That sucks, as this band were an underrated gem, and I was looking forward to their next full-length. Well, here’s a collection of rarities to send the band off with. The funny thing about this is that some of these lesser-budget recordings have a clearer production sound than the band’s excellent Relapse album, Wreck of Nerves. And everything on here shows the band as great players and songwriters, especially the incredibly tight drumming of John Longstreth (Angel Corpse, Origin, Skinless, and the Red Chord). Unlike a lot of rarities collections, this stands strong as a cohesive work, impressive considering it ranges from demo material to songs from split releases. Something about Uphill Battle’s blend of hardcore, melody and grindcore made for some songs that were not only terrifyingly heavy but also shockingly memorable. They failed to make much of an impact and even managed to disband without people knowing about it, but this is a band worth hearing, and Blurred gives us one last chance to enjoy them. (Relapse)