All The Above is a band comprised of Simon Fillis (guitar/backing vocals), Bruce Thomas-Pickett (guitar), James Lant (bass), Paul Russell (drums) and Simon Taylor (vocals). On their recent self-titled release All The Above the band makes music that sounds like various cornerstones of ‘90s rock. You hear fragments of bands like Filter, Alice N Chains, Tool, System Of A Down, Soundgarden and even Rage Against The Machine. In fact their music borrows so much from that decade there is little that points to why I shouldn’t be listening to my old ‘90s CDs rather than All The Above.
The music is always heavy and cathartic. It’s well written but still follows all the tropes and clichés you would expect from this style of music. From the occasionally exaggerated vocal delivery to the song structure itself the band has a hard time deviating from a formula that feels all too familiar.
The band opens with “Enemies Closer.” Within the first moments you can tell this is a song that is intense. The verse has a distinct grunge feel but when the chorus comes along the comparison to Rage Against The Machine is undisputable. Around the three-minute mark the band goes into a classic System Of A Down style breakdown and emergence. There is no denying this is the finest moment of the song.
The second song is classic post grunge rock. It is the kind of rock you heard in the late nineties after Nirvana was considered passé. It’s a powerful song but fairly simple as it revolves around basic chords. The next song “Runaway” is of a similar essence.
Taylor sings about being in a “Private Cell” and “Being stuck in room by himself” which seems like a natural extension of the music they are playing. He’s tortured, in pain and well you get it. Perhaps the lyrics are a metaphor or perhaps he is talking about solitary confinement in an actual prison.
They close with “Better Days” which is arguably the best-written and most visceral song of the batch. This also happens to have the best vocal performance. Taylor is all over the place and pretty relentless throughout the song. Suffice it to say he probably just about collapses after the live performance.
After spending some time with All The Above the biggest issue was that there wasn’t much I could point that really defined the original and unique aspects of the music. I felt like their influences were too obvious at points. The good news is this EP was their debut and they are currently working on new material. It’s a fact that it’s hard to come out of the gates with even a somewhat original style. All The Above have the talent and can deliver but we will have to see if the band really comes into their own with their next release.
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