Building Up to the Breakdown is the promising debut from Cleveland punk quintet Heads Held High. Apparently, the group spent its money on great cover art and skimped on production. Tracked at Lakewood's Strangelove Studios, the EP sounds like it was recorded in a cardboard box lined with aluminum foil. But sometimes you have to work the bad stuff out of your system before you can leave your mark on the scene. And Heads Held High has what it takes to leave a lasting impression.
Bassist Rob Schultz and drummer David Breda previously played in the "heavy-hop" combo BiastFear and recruited former bandmate Ron Brinker (currently with Suspect) to lay down rallying guitar parts -- a cover of Dramarama's "Anything Anything" is ready for the pit. Through the tinny sound, the band's metal roots remain obscure, and it plays the kind of post-hardcore that involves punk tempos, gang vocals wherever possible, and a lot of accusatory rhetorical questions. It's a good start, as this bunch begins Building Up to something bigger.