Uphill Battle Uphill Battle

While the cover art and layout, lack of title and slightly understated production cry of a band searching for an identity, or a rush job by the label, Uphill Battle's debut full-length delivers an impressive display of technical proficiency, awesome abrasive power and aggressive grind without ever losing the thread. It seems redundant, but ever since the emergence of the tech scene in metallic hardcore and the Dillinger Escape Plan, bands have been tripping over themselves to follow. And, truth be told, Uphill Battle possess a fair number of similarities to Dillinger: the same jagged playing and rhythmic patterns, uncountable stop-start parts and constantly shifting segments, unorthodox riffing, similar grind-derived runs, the same label, and a mastery of technical acumen. However, the more one absorbs Uphill Battle's debut, the more its own distinct attributes emerge. Uphill Battle's greatest strength seems to be that despite the constant whirlwind of chaos derived from hardcore, progressive death/grind and thrash they purvey so effortlessly, subtle hooks and handholds emerge to allow the listener to find purchase on its sonic carapace. This is unquestionably due to the hardcore structure imposed on certain parts to harness the discord and the occasional anthemic riff or shout-along passage. Also, amongst the sonic shrapnel, melodies (albeit fleeting) and melodic leads can be discerned. While the knee-jerk reaction may be to dismiss Uphill Battle as clones, they are so much more. (Relapse)