Review: Atlases – Upbringing [EP]

“Holy smokes Batman, we sure have some killer metalcore here!” That was the first thought that entered my head upon listening to Upbringing, the debut EP from Atlases. The Berkshire hardcore quintet are releasing their debut on January 20th and it is sure to break the hold any winter blues have on you and wipe away those cobwebs. Their music is loud with heavy and straight forward yet incredibly effective riffs. The aggressive vocal performance also packs a hell of an attitude! Every track on the EP shares in a common goal: to make your headbang!

Atlases’ claim to live and play like Parkway Drive gives them a hell of a lot to prove and while we can’t honestly say that they come close to matching Parkway with Winston’s growls, who does? It is obvious that they derive a lot of their inspiration from the likes of Parkway and BMTH, but in the form of a debut EP, it would be totally out of order to expect them to match their idols with a near perfect release.

So it’s not perfect, big surprise, but what have Atlases got? Their music is perfect for merciless headbanging and heavy boozing. ‘Betrayer’ opens the EP with a fast-heavy riffing, pounding kick-drumming and angry screamed vocals from Jack Parsons. The release carries on this theme from beginning to end, an unstoppable barrage of metalcore, but perhaps a touch lacking in artistic variation. Personally I’d like a bit more rhythmic variation in the growls as they’re spat from the vocal chords of Parsons – I’m not asking for clean singing, but more growled singing. You know what I mean; if you don’t, just think of Architects, or BMTH’s second album. A few melodic hooks could really drag a wider audience in and swell the fanbase. Having said that, I admit I do like my metalcore with a pinch of sugar, so I won’t hold that against Atlases.

A nice touch to refresh the music in your ears is the British twang that Parsons holds onto in his screams and growls. It isn’t as strong and noticeable as the thick Yorkshire accent that billows out of Oli Sykes, but the British inflection adds something that is different. As they progress as a band and get a few more releases under their belts, more variation (and hopefully melodies) will come out, but for now at least the vocals set them aside from the generic North-American screams that are pedalled out on the other side of the pond.

What conclusions can we make about Atlases from Upbringing? Well, if the title and music is reflective of the band members own upbringings, them they must have been pretty brutal! The riffs are heavy, the drums pound and the screams are as throaty as you’d like. It’s a good debut and it holds a lot of promise for the future. If these boys use it as the stepping stone it could be, there will be nothing stopping them from jumping up to bigger circuits and supporting those bands that have influenced them so greatly. Whether or not they take that step remains to be seen.

4 out of 5 high fives!