Upheld – Moral Compass
Released: 2nd September 2020
Jacob // Guitar
Clint // Bass
Shaun // Guitar
Steven // Vocals
Stella // Drums/Vocals
Well, Perth’s been coming with the goods lately, and the metalcore mayhem continues with the birth of a new band called Upheld. With some of these band member names floating through the scene for a while now, it’s great to see these individuals come together and pull together a monster five-track EP. There’s some incredible variation and exceptional production on the release, so let’s suss it out.
Moral Compass commences with the sharp track ‘Cash Flow Game Show’, a track that immediately draws you into the seething roaring vocal effort. The opening number has some really groovy riffs, with that sort-of signature metalcore rhythm. With a good set of cups on, you’ll catch that immense production quality – highly notably for a new band like this!
‘Lunacy’ takes a different angle, as the band fuses vocal influences from I Killed The Prom Queen with crunchy instrumental sections reminiscent of some of the material released by underdogs Currents this year. Drummer Stella is working overtime as she smashes the kit and takes charge of the clean vocals. If you listen carefully to the consistent rhythm, it slows down drastically after the mid-point with an echoey drone before the bass builds and everything ferments into a delicious breakdown, and it’s not all noise – but rather a carefully kept and considered medley – really nice touch. So far, this EP is proving impressive.
The mid-point track ‘Male Extinction’ certainly draws you in with curiosity. A set of melodic riffs get you introduced as front-man Steven‘s growls and enters the rest of the band. Steven delivers something really different for this track, something about it lends references to an earlier Asking Alexandria sound. There’s a grunting rhythm that switches from filthy growls, but not quite the level of angelic cleans that Stella delivers. Once again, the guitars produce an incredibly crisp sound, enhancing the carefully written chords. It’s so worth it for bands to invest in higher recording production equipment – it makes releases like this, sound so much better! The song ends with a groovy feel, and the vocals step up with Archer singing on top of them, a really nice vocal tangle between the two.
Stella steps us into ‘Transcend’, another delicious metalcore track, heavy from the get-go, with all sorts of colours and flavours. That I Killed The Prom Queen vocal style returns, but behind a refreshingly different band, who are producing way higher tuned riffs, with some bouncy drums. The final thirty-seconds is a nice rhythm section as the band breaks down into something less-than-heavy but still a bit of a head-bang.
Finally, the band package up this EP with the incredible single they released ‘Waves’, coupled with a music video. There is absolutely no doubt as to why this was chosen as a single. It is simply massive. Some isolated heavy strumming leads to a belching vocal effort as the whole band step in and become engrossed in their own melodic instruments. The crescendo hits with Stella hitting all of the high notes for a gorgeous chorus that the band have adapted to effortlessly. Immediately after, Steven steps in again and Stella switches her focus back to drums and the band enters blistering chaos. There’s one final tasty breakdown at the end, it’s got licks and all of the heavy, even Ohrion Reacts seems to think so, eh? And you know what, after seeing this guy’s reaction video, we agree that pretty much everything metalcore coming out of Australia, is fire.
Upheld – Moral Compass track-listing:
1. Cash Flow Game Show
3. Male Extinction
Moral Compass is out on your fave streaming service from this Wednesday.
Review by Ricky Aarons @rickysaul90