15th January 2015 – Self-released
03. Our Own Salvation
04. Divine Command Theory
06. Inauguration of a Mechanical Christ
07. Perpetual Mind Decline
08. Twist of Fate
09. The Great Apostasy
11. Will To Power
Way back in November 2013, French band Upheaval released “Our Own Salvation”, the first new song since their 2011 debut EP Incubate the Wasteland - and it was markedly different to their Beneath The Massacre/Origin-worshipping, constantly blasting, harmonised-riffing tech-death. “DJENT!” some cried out. “CRABCORE!” said others – but I was glad to hear some groove (super)collide with their (hyper)blast. Add to that a guest spot from deathcore legend Alex Erian from Despised Icon, and you’ve got yourself something that the kids these days call “hype”.
There have been some line-up changes since the EP, and these changes – along with time to hone their craft – have clearly allowed them to create a much more varied album in Cathegrism, and the fears of a djenty, blastless chugfest have been greatly exaggerated.
In a similar way that “Panasonic Youth” softened the blow for fans sceptical of The Dillinger Escape Plan‘s softer Miss Machine, opening track “Ubermensch” jumps straight in with familiar blast-beats and harmonised tremolo riffs, as well as a sample of Michael Caine’s famous The Dark Knight line “Some men just want to watch the world burn”.
It’s not until the third song – the aforementioned “Our Own Salvation” – that Upheaval’s evolution becomes truly apparent. The groove-laden heavy riff marks it as a different beast entirely from the first two tracks. From then on they show many facets of their tech death(core) style, but amongst the best has to be the opening of the song “Divine Command Theory”. Reminiscent of Voyeur-era War From a Harlots Mouth, its slow riffs over brutal drum blasting are fantastic, and if drummer Vince can pull the material off live, it’ll certainly be a sight to see.
While some fans may be a little disappointed by the inclusion of grooves, breakdowns and catchier riffs, the band is now a much stronger entity than before. Luigi’s riffs feature prominent tapping, tremolo picking and the occasional “BOW” of the 8-string guitar, whilst vocalist Stephen provides a decent variety of styles including low gutturals, high screams and hardcore shouts. Unfortunately the bass is fairly low in the mix which is a shame as, from the videos I’ve seen, Brendan seems to be doing some interesting stuff.
Make no mistake: this is still a technical deathcore album, and isn’t so accessible as to appeal to those not already into the genre. Throughout the album’s 42 minute run time, intensity is always set between 8-10, so fans of tech death and deathcore would be well advised to check it out – especially those looking for that slightly blackened middle ground between the uber-tech (Rings of Saturn) and the chuggy, more groove oriented sides of deathcore (Suicide Silence). It’s a fun and intense album; a strong debut full length, and a worthy addition to any deathcore enthusiast’s collection – but unlikely to turn heads outside the scene.
Best songs: “Our Own Salvation”, “Divine Command Theory”, “Six”