Up and at Them are four kids playing hardcore music. No frills, no fashion, no hideous lyrics about suicide or emotions. Just straight-up hardcore; it recalls Sick of it All and Comeback Kid and is delivered with a distinct lack of irony that is strongly welcome in a music world where "irony" is so often used to excuse poor musicianship or general lack of talent. Up and at Them are just about as un-ironic as they come.
They play to their strengths - good, strong riffing and chaotic drum fills build a solid backbone that so many more experienced bands still lack. It sounds tight. It sounds together and that, in itself, is achievement enough. Tuneful and brash at the same time, the vocal melodies clash well with their delivery to create a sound that remains easy enough on the ear without sacrificing any of its ruggedness.
"Demons to Some" blasts to life through a riff that isn't too far off a beefed up version of Good Riddance's "Fire Engine Red" that delves into the ground of Shut Your Mouth & Open Your Eyes-era A.F.I.. That A.F.I. influence carries through "By Any Means Necessary" and into "Anchors", with the bridges almost lifted straight from The Art of Drowning.
Sure, sometimes the rhythms break down a little bit and the inexperienced vocals can only improve with time, but the basis of the band is strong and, after all, that's what makes a good first demo. With a band so young, it seems needless to focus on the specifics of what can be improved, especially when there are so many positives to mention. In a UK hardcore scene that is slowly beginning to flourish, Up and at Them are another young band to keep an eye on. The room for improvement and evolution is obvious, but their 2006 demo is certainly a strong platform from which to build.
7.3 / 10
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