Ferocious isn’t even the word.
Looking Up’s self-titled debut is a real blast of old-school hardcore with an extra bite courtesy of the band's vocalist. Sounding positively incensed, he cascades atop the buzzsaw riffs and recycled fills to create a frenetic feeling that keeps the energy going long after the songs themselves have stopped.
I suppose that’s a skill in his own right, to be able to create energy in the most modest of situations and have it channel through the rest of the band in such a fashion that the 20 minutes of this record seem like only five. They know only one speed -- and that speed is fast. Fast, raw, and aggressive, you’ll find no singing and no melodic interludes. Only shout-along hardcore with a serious penchant for the distortion pedal. Every single one of the 12 tracks is a raucous blast that keeps on hitting, each one more powerful and more unrelenting than the last.
After several run-throughs of the album it becomes more and more apparent that the vocals are just on an entirely different plane than the rest of the music. The basic rhythms and chord progressions are fine enough, and they suit the style of music being played, but there’s simply not as much offered as there is of the throat-searing vocals. Save sporadic moments of greatness such as the ripping guitar solo in “Eulogy,” things seem rather by the book. Maybe it’s just that the vocals make everything pale in comparison, but regardless of what seems like heavy criticism on my behalf, all of the pieces do really gel in fine fashion.
Look no further than “Second to Last.” Anchored throughout by some stellar chord progressions, Looking Up succeed in making each word delivered have an impact. Precise and well-articulated, it doesn’t take away at all from the speed or power of the delivery, only adding another dimension to what’s already there. “This Time” starts out with a rousing instrumental lead-in, before building on some machine gun drum rolls and stagnated riffs, finally exploding in a ball of rage and gang vocals right before it quits.
They just don’t make ‘em like this much anymore. Well, Panic Records seems to anyhow, as this continues the line of solid output the label has had of late, and I can only hope there’s a ton more where this came from.