Review Summary: A worthwhile debut EP from a pretty much unknown (post) hardcore/screamo band
Forming a band can be quite a tricky thing. First of all, there is the issue of staying together – bands constantly break up due to various problems. There’s various other issues such as funding, touring, and gaining fans, which is probably one’s ultimate goal.
Upon Beauty Rests have certainly had their share of problems. From losing a close friend of several members, to scraping by on little to no money during tours, and coming quite close to having car accidents, there’s no doubt that the band has paid their dues. Coming from Portland, Oregon, the band was formed in 2005 and slowly built up a fanbase through extensive touring. Two years later, they recorded their first debut EP.
Screamo, hardcore and emo are three words which can describe the band’s sound. They alternate between screamed and sung vocals backed by hard-hitting guitars, drums and bass. The talent of the instrumental members isn’t exactly noteworthy – both guitarists are able to come up with several good riffs and interesting leads in the six songs present, but never play anything technically impressive. The same could be said of the drummer and bassist – while both display decent skill, those looking for mind-blowing technicality should look elsewhere.
The real strength of Upon Beauty Rest’s music comes from two things: keyboards and vocals. Three members share vocal duties at various points, with lead vocalist Jacob Ashley and keyboardist Matthew Walsh pulling the biggest load. Ashley displays a pretty good singing voice throughout the album, and equally good screams. Walsh, however, is likely the more talented of the two. Our keyboard player possesses excellent growls and normal-pitched screams, belting them out on all but one track. Melody is given almost as much emphasis as aggression, and there are plenty of piano parts which perfectly accent melodic sections present in all but one song.
Now there are, of course, a couple problems. While the production and mixing sounds quite good (especially considering it comes from an indie label), it is lacking just a tiny bit. UBR’s sound is nothing really new, really, but in the end they execute their sound pretty well. Lastly, while 5 of the 6 songs present here are good or great, My Only One
drags on almost two times longer than it should, ending with (almost) pointless sampling and electronic elements. It’s safe to say, if not for said closer, the EP would get a 3.5 out of 5.
Upon Beauty Rests have yet to reinvent anything, but this first recording is a solid offering, and one that hints at great things in this young band’s future.
Two good vocalists
Melodic piano sections
“My Only One”
Another Failed Attempt to Cure the Addiction
Lines Full of Lies and a Thousand Roses