Uphill Battle - _Uphill Battle_
(Relapse, 2002)
by: Aaron McKay (4.5 out of 10)
When this California four piece focus their energy appropriately, they hemorrhage the essence of grind. Unfortunately, not a lot of their attention seems directed in this vein on their nine track debut. I am of the impression that a hardcore/grindcore combination is the brass ring Uphill Battle are on a campaign to grab. While I'm as open as they come where varying vocal styles are concerned, UB has some definite issues in this area. Joe, the bassist and throat-culture donor, sounds strikingly similar to a hill dwarf that mistakenly tried to forge his own "ball bearings", if you catch my meaning. Subtracting the howls-of-pain-like vocals, Uphill Battle change up the tempo more than an acid-dropping, schizophrenic DJ. That's okay with me, I have no problem telling ya, as is the nice n' deep, underutilized bass playing littering this self-titled effort. The songs on this offering are very well composed and, for the most part, interesting as far as things go lyrically and structurally. "Old" is the finest example of most everything mentioned in this review, including the masturbating ferret-like vocals, but this track is my preferred cut off the CD. Ending this disc with "Playing Dead" was perfect. The song is audibly very digestible and segues well into the little end of nothing whittled down to a point we've come to expect throughout this debut from Uphill Battle.

(article published 5/4/2003)

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