Above All – Decade (2013)


We all have at least one of those bands that we hold dear to us that we love and the reason we love them so much is because they’re so obscure in their respective genres that finding them is like finding a little musical gold nugget. They’ll release new music, they’ll update their statuses and they’ll play shows, but you feel like it’s all for you – just for you because they’re your special little band. We all have that band (don’t act like you don’t), and mine goes by the name of Above All.

Above All is a five-piece metal/hardcore act hailing from Baltimore, MD. Above All was founded back in 2010 and released the first EP in February of the same year, titled The Dynasty. Soon after the release of The Dynasty, my friend and I came upon it and it soon became one of our favorite and most played EPs at the time. Above All had – and still has – such a grimy mix of hardcore that is blended with elements of beatdown, and even have some sweet melodies in a couple of their songs. A lot of the band’s sound can be compared to Sworn In, Barrier, Endeavors, The Ghost Inside and No Bragging Rights.

Enough of the past. It’s 2013 and Above All has just released its second EP, Decade. The five-track release clocks in at fifteen minutes, so it’s short, but it’s definitely sweet. The first EP was more on the negative side lyrically, but the band took more of a positive with hints of negativity stance when it comes to Decade. There was more of an Endeavors vibe on The Dynasty, while the band harnessed its inner The Ghost Inside on this new release. Like I said before, it’s neither metal or hardcore, but a blend of both that gives us the best of both genres in two simple and short EP’s.

Considering the band has less than three thousand “likes” on Facebook, it was really awesome to see Chad Ruhlig (Legend and For the Fallen Dreams) to be featured on the first track of the EP. It opens with an in-your-face attitude and monicker. It may not be as noticeable in the first track or two, but once the other three set in, it’s insane how similar vocalist J.T. Cavey and The Ghost Inside’s Johnathon Vigil’s vocals sound alike. I’m not sure if Cavey was going for this or not, but it’s an impeccable match that makes the band just that more likeable.

One of the negative things about the release that I should note is obvious: the length. It just sucks that in a three-year span, Above All has only released two EPs, and both of them have been so darn short. If you’re a fan of the band like myself, it’s a bummer to wait so long for something and only get so little. In the band’s defense, they went on hiatus for about two years. With that being said, it would’ve been so much better if one or two more tracks were added to the release, or maybe even a full length was created. Aside from the length, the instrumentals are a little typical for a metal/hardcore-infused release; it’s nothing different aside from the beatdown parts in the songs, though the melodic parts are a little bit of a bonus, and like I said before, make Above All sound so similar to The Ghost Inside. The Dynasty started off with a Jay-Z sound clip and transitioned so well into Above All’s own theme, but Decade fell short of anything spectacular in my mind. It was typical Above All – which is something I seriously enjoy listening to – but I just want something more out of this band. Each song was done well, but was nothing spectacular and that’s mainly the reason why I can’t give this release a majorly high rating.

If you like heavier metal-infused hardcore with some beatdown parts and some melodies here and there, be sure to give this EP a listen. Decade may fall short of being superior to the band’s prior release, but it’s definitely enough to keep continued interest from me and hopefully some from some hopeful new fans. It’s pretty cut and dry what this release has to offer, but if it’s something that looks like it can peak your interest, be sure to give it a chance.