Thursday, January 6, 2011

Blast(beat) from the Past: Uphill Battle

Uphill Battle
Uphill Battle

Relapse
2002

If we were to sit down and hash out who should be crowned the best drummer in grind – perhaps through some sort of tournament system – a cagey bettor may place a wager on Danny Walker to walk away with it all, counting on partisans for both Dave Witte and Bryan Fajardo to cancel each other out.
The guy’s been everywhere; Walker’s probably the best drummer working whose name you may not know despite anchoring Intronaut, Exhumed, Phobia (granted, on the disappointing albums) and even getting an invite to play with Jesu. Most recently you’ll find him backstopping Murder Construct.
You don’t get that many high profile phone numbers in your Rolodex by being a slouch at what you do. And Walker, who is a master of the timely fill and screw tight blast, honed his chops in California’s hardcore/grind/thrash with a glaze of black metal frostiness amalgamators Uphill Battle (nee Crawlspace) where ringleader Adi Tejada’s twisted riffing provided a platform for his drum workouts on songs like “The Stench is Spreading” and “Ripped off Face.”

Uphill Battle – Ripped Off Face

Like contemporaries Burnt by the Sun, Uphill Battle specialized in metallicized hardcore sans sappy choruses, focusing instead on short rabbit punches of jacked up noise. While second album Wreck of Nerves would get a little too thrashy for my tastes, their eponymous debut is a nice little time capsule of a great drummer’s entrée to the scene. Now please do him the courtesy of remembering his name.

17 comments:

da tr00f said...

Ive been dragging my feet on checking these guys out but your comparison with Burnt by the Sun has piqued my interest. This bear any resemblance to The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good?

Alex Layzell said...

I thought I commented on this earlier, however it would appear not.
This certainly is something that would interest me, I love Burnt by the Sun, Soundtrack to the Personal Revolution was a masterpiece of an album, so if these guys are anything like this then I am game on.

Talking about best drummer, my personal wager would go on Assuckian era Proctor.

Andrew Childers said...

it's more like a stripped back version of bbts. they have the same blend of hardcore/grind elements but it's all streamlined and less arty driven. it's not something i listen to often but it's a fun album. danny walker is a badass.

geeheeb said...

sounds more like a mix of converge and dxax to me, which is what everyone was saying when it came out.

Andrew Childers said...

yeah i could see that too.

Shanetera said...

Don't forget BBtS has lots of metalcore elements too. More metal, less hardcore. Wehave MIke Oleander to thank for that although I love The Pedect Is the Enemy of the Good. I listen to the vinyl regularly. "Forlani" owns me.
I've heard some Uphill Battle in the past and went super impressed maybe another go is worth it.

Wet Nightmare said...

if this sounds a tiny bit like converge, i'll check it out.

forlani-that starting riff makes me start the song over and over and over.

Shanetera said...

I'm curious, whats everyones favorite Converge album. For me it's "Petitioning the Empty Sky".

Wet Nightmare said...

toss up b/t jane doe and axe to fall.

Alex Layzell said...

I don't have much of Converge, but I have always been impressed I highly recommend checking out All Pigs Must Die (I only became aware today it features members of Converge) As for my favourite Converge, The Poacher Diaries with ANB?

Andrew Childers said...

i'm gonna have to defend the poor, maligned "you fail me." i'm a sucker for bizarre transition albums. but that's probably tied with jane doe, though it may be trite to say so.

my least favorite is a no brainer: when forever comes crashing. steve austin's production is unlistenable.

Wet Nightmare said...

you fail me is right after JD and ATF for me. i think its one of their darker sounding albums. no heroes is my least favorite. although its my least favorite of theirs i still love it.

I, Monarch said...

Favorite Converge: You Fail Me or Jane Doe

Shanetera said...

I can't believe I'm the only pre-Jane Doe fan. It's emotionally crushing yes, but I don't want to cry listening to music. If I did I'd listen to mewithoutyou's AB Life or Deftones.
The Poacher Diaries is great same with the Hellchild split.

Andrew Childers said...

i love caring and killing and petitioning the empty sky as well, but there's just something compelling about what they've been doing post-jane. they've really set themselves apart from every other band that came out of boston at the time.

Shanetera said...

And here I thought using Napalm Death riffs did that. Huh. I see where you're coming from though. Jane Doe is way better than Cave In, etc.
Caring and Killing as well as Unloved and Weeded Out are two records I was thinking about last night. I dig records of b-sides and unreleased stuff. So many good songs.

SunnyvaleTrash said...

Fantastic album; glad to see it getting some appreciation on here. I only checked out Intronaut's first EP years ago because Walker was playing on it and they've become a favourite of mine.