20 January 2014
by Gavin Lloyd
We may all cringe now at teenagers who write “MUSIC IS MY LIFE!!!!!!!!1!!1!” in their twitter bios, but we all felt like that at one point. At some time in your life some piece of music has meant something to you. The fact that we’re bombarded with more music than ever, and that most of it is merely OK, means that bands should really be striving to really connect with their audience. If you’re a new metalcore band then it should be of paramount importance.
Given that modern-day living is rubbish, we need music that makes us feel something more than ever. Your average twenty-something is in student debt, working unreasonable hours at a job they hate just so they have a bit of cash to spend on WKDs at the weekend. Nobody has time to fall in love; relationships have an expiry date of about three years and we now rely on a mobile app to get us some human contact. It’s either that, or spending a shameful 8 minutes and 47 seconds on Pornhub.
With this in mind the lyrics of ‘Betrayer’ the opening track on Upbringing make frontman Jack Parsons sound like a bit of a cry baby. His awful metaphors about being scorned by an ex-lover are exasperating and make it hard to feel sorry for him. When I was at school I wrote the lyrics “driven by hate, consumed by fear” from Drowning Pool’s ‘Bodies’ on my pencil case and I was fucking cool. I can’t imagine many people wanting to scribble “I’m barely treading water in the ocean of your lies” in biro. A song for the Tinder generation would have been much easier to identify with. They could have called it ‘You swiped left over my heart’.
Parsons’s lyrics may leave a lot to be desired, but his vocal performance is superb. You can question his words, but you can’t question his conviction. His screams are gloriously belligerent, and intensity drips from every spit-covered word that is pushed from his lips. His palpable discontent is fantastically matched by the rest of the band; killer riffs come packed with melody, while huge choruses wrap themselves around you and provide the sort of therapeutic aggression that make you feel OK about headbutting the Tesco self-service machine.
In many ways Atlases are simply fulfilling the metalcore essential criteria, and while they haven’t yet mastered their craft as well as some of their peers (While She Sleeps), they are in many ways doing it a lot better than certain bigger bands (Heights). It may have it’s cringey moments lyrically, but Upbringing is an assured debut and hints at enough promise that when a debut full length rolls around they could mean an awful lot to an awful lot of people.
Sounds Like: The lads who got decent marks at Metalcore High looking to get a glowing report when parents’ evening rolls round.
Standout Tracks: My Testament, Consume Deny