The Uprising is a four-piece punk rock band from Orange County, California. Determined not to let people forget about the `90s SoCal explosion that saw bands like Lagwagon and Good Riddance blast into the punk rock world, the Uprising released their debut album Appetite for Deception last year on Long Live Crime Records.
From just listening to the first few seconds of opening track "Enemies" blasting through your speakers, it becomes apparent that you are going to be force-fed an extremely fast-paced album, much like you would expect from Strung Out or Pennywise. Like most of the album, the song consists of extremely fast drumming matched with super fast guitars, with a result sounding like a faster version (if possible) of Pennywise’s "Time Marches On." The next song is an even faster song called "Wake Up," which certainly will do just that -- wake you up. Clocking in at just over a minute long, being the shortest song on the album, it is a quick burst of anger and energy that leads you into the following song, "I Wanna Know." This song has so much potential but falls short of being the great song it could have been; it is let down by very poor lyrics, which by this stage has become evident is not the band's strong point. Lead singer Steve "Crabby" Cabler sings about how he is sick of politics, but ironically the album's main lyrical tone is about war and politics itself. The chorus of this song is terrible; "I wanna know, I wanna know, I really wanna know, don’t tell me no, no, politics and greed are never ever gonna stop, wanna know." It really brings down an otherwise enjoyable song.
"Signs" really displays how well the band can craft a song if they put their minds to it. There's great shredding on the guitar throughout the song, only to be backed up by great harmonies and pristine backing vocals, reminiscent of Bad Religion. That band is clearly a huge influence for the Uprising; the record was even produced by Greg Hetson (Bad Religion) and Jim Monroe. If that wasn’t enough of ‘bringing the influence to the table,’ the band also enlisted the help of Pennywise vocalist Jim Lindberg for "We Don’t Belong," one of the highlight songs on the album. The two lead singers take turns doing a line in the song, swapping back from singer to singer after each line is sung. The idea definitely pays off for the band, with the song sounding superb. The two tones of the vocalists go hand in hand mixing Jim’s strong attack with the angry in-your-face tone of Steve Cabler's voice.
One problem that I find with the band, which I just can’t seem to ignore, is that they seem to recycle the same old lyrical ideas that Pennywise have used, notably from Land of the Free, over and over again, only managing to make them sound weaker and less educated about what they’re actually singing about. Hundreds of bands have pointed out what is wrong with America’s political views; we don’t need to hear them all over again -- leave that to your influences. Songs like "One Big Lie" is evidence of this; "Looking down your nose at me, I don’t care ‘cause we will never see, eye to eye with the government, they fucking lie, twist the truth or release the pain." Another drawback of the album of is that they really let you down within the chorus on a lot of songs, often repeating a few simple words to make the chorus complete; songs like "No More War" are guilty of this formula, simply shouting the words "No more war" as the chorus, making the chorus overplayed and really irritating without much lasting value.
"Everytime" starts out sounding like the album is finally going to slow down, only to be quickly snapped back into reality with immensely Bad Religion-sounding guitar work, coming over smooth yet edgy at the same time. This song is definitely a highlight of the album, along with the last song on the album, "Find the Time," a great way to finish off a relatively appealing album. Much like the rest of the album, the song is a fast, in-your-face punk rock song which, once again, calls great resemblance to classic Pennywise.
Appetite for Deception shows that the band has a huge amount of skill and that they definitely know how to play their instruments just as well as their older punk rock counterparts. But their lyrical focus and lyrical content itself really brings the band down, especially within their choruses, which have as much depth as a dried-up river. The band members have clearly thrashed their Pennywise CDs throughout the years, but fail to bring that to the table, instead making Appetite for Deception come off like a Pennywise B-sides album, only making you want to go and listen to the real deal. The band certainly has an extreme amount of potential, which makes me very eager to hear what they can produce on future albums. Definitely a band to watch out for in the future -- any fan of Pennywise/Bad Religion or skatepunk in general should definitely give this album a listen or two and see what they think.