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The California hardcore/noisecore/grindcore quartet Uphill Battle got its start in 1999, at which time they were going by the name Crawlspace. Their original lineup consisted of guitarist/lead vocalist Adi Tejada (formerly of the band Somnambulist), drummer/backing vocalist Danny Walker (Destroy Babylon), bassist/backing vocalist Graham Clise (Eat S**t & Die), and lead guitarist Eric Gormley. This lineup recorded the band's first demo in May of 1999 shortly before changing its name from Crawlspace to Uphill Battle. This lineup also recorded a split 7" with the band Quest for Quintana Roo, which came out on Lo Pan Records.
Several lineup changes occurred within the band in 2000: Clise left the band and was replaced by Jehf Jones, while Gormley departed soon after and was replaced by Jeff Capra (also of Holier Than Thou). Uphill Battle recorded its debut full-length in March of 2001, after which they were picked up by Relapse Records. This self-titled album eventually came out in mid-2002, by which point the band's lineup had temporarily settled to include Tejada on guitar and lead vocals, Walker on drums and backing vocals, Capra on lead guitar, and newcomer Joe Gonzalez on bass and backing vocals.