September 22, 2017

Upcdownc - I, Awake

By Calen Henry. Upcdownc's I, Awake blends a weirdly anachronistic mix of mid 00's art metal into a cohesive modern sounding whole. Mixing massive riffs, samples, and synths they present as Stranger Things
By Calen Henry.


Upcdownc's I, Awake blends a weirdly anachronistic mix of mid 00's art metal into a cohesive modern sounding whole. Mixing massive riffs, samples, and synths they present as Stranger Things meets Pelican filtered through Fantômas to take the listener on an instrumental journey through the concept of sleep.

On the surface it sounds like a road well traveled. Sleep has been well explored in music but Upcdownc manage to justify themselves primarily through excellent composition, flow and the resulting mood. The different multi-track movements build in a classic post-metal mode but shy away from guitars shifting from synths, through clean guitars, into crescendos of crushing riffs. The build manages to sound natural and always manages to cling to a riff or a motif, never devolving into experimental noise.

In this way they manage to stave off one of the pitfalls of both instrumental music and post-metal; tedium. Bits and pieces fly by at almost the speed of Fantômas, but with a lot more groove. The riffs are killer. The band could easily get by playing straight up post-metal or stoner metal based on their riff composition and are to be commended for going out on a more experimental limb. The sparing use of riffs makes the eventual crescendos all the more satisfying.

The production, too, sets the band apart. They've gone for a kind of lo-fi vibe with a pronounced Rickenbacker bass thump, aggressive fuzz, keys that would be at home on a Perturbator album and a bit of treble bias to the mix. It might be too much for some in the louder parts but it certainly gives the album a unique timbre and keeps them our of the "Ameridoom" melting pot sound that many bands fall into by using the same group of producers.

Upcdownc, despite being new to me, are not a new band. They've been releasing music for around seventeen years (originally as Up C Down C Left C Right C ABC Start) and it shows on this I, Awake. It's a confident outing into well trodden territory that's something unique and and uniquely excellent.

Tagged with 2017, Calen Henry, post-metal, post-rock, Upcdownc
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