In Through the Outro
In Through the Outro, Released 07.17.2015
Recorded by Jack Endino at Soundhouse Studios, Seattle, WA
Additional recording by Upwell
Mixed and Mastered by Martin Feveyear at Jupiter Studios, Seattle, WA
Produced by Upwell
Artwork by Gene Fleury
Review - Doomed and Stoned
Shredding & Swagger: Upwell's 'In Through the Outro'
All of these songs kick ass, seriously. So, instead of doing my usual song by song breakdown, I thought I would change it up a bit and just write a mix of impressions, memories and facts. Each song has its own version of the swagger of both fast and slow tempo dynamics matched perfectly with unique and powerful vocals that are interspersed amongst inspired instrumental rock that is closer to post-rock at times and straight up Joe Satriani blues shred at others. Upwell does a fantastic job of straddling styles within hard rock, progressive, post, stoner, desert, grunge, metal, whatever. It’s fucking good and you should listen to this album and appreciate its awesomeness. The album art is deceptively cool as well, featuring panels that unravel in two different ways for a multi-universe symbolism. Interpretations and variations are very important when discussing art and music as neither can be pinned down with absolute logical precision, doing so leads to lifeless programming with no room for nuance. Therefor it is cool to see that utilized for cover art, absolutely conveying the duality amongst the binary vision of option A or option B.
This music has a bridge straddling advantage amongst the balance of musicianship and melodic accessibility, at one moment getting close to Evanescence style slick catchy pop metal while in the same song creating a maze of guitar riffs and unorthodox arrangements with blazing guitar acrobatics that pay homage to the shred guitar lexicon. It succeeds in what many strive for, achieving prog-rock excellence and artistic integrity while also completely mastering the rock radio format of good riffs and melodies that the average rock fan would enjoy. Jack Endino should get quite a bit of credit for the production on this album as he has seen and heard Upwell evolve for the past few decades and is still a part of the creative process. One could only hope to see a fusion of Skin Yard and Upwell as things stay the course for this poetically angelic band.
Review - Exposé Online
In Through the Outro
Upwell manages the trick of being progressive and heavy without being progressive metal. And given the multitude of by-the-numbers prog metal out there, hearing something outside that stream is welcome. There’s undeniable power in rock music, but simply riding clichés into the ground dilutes that power regardless of the volume. Singer Michelle Pavcovich is strong and expressive without falling into either the screamer or belter category. Her delivery might be called simple, strong rock singing: she’s not a blues singer thrown into a rock context. Instrumentally, the band owes more to grunge than NWOBHM — they’re tight, navigating time signature changes effortlessly, but there’s a lot of grit in the sound rather than polished, calculated metal. Guitarist “Stevenflo” Rosenstengel tosses off some really unexpected riffs and (to a lesser extent) solos, though they never sound calculated. Some of the standard heavy guitar things are here, the dropped tuning, the ringing major thirds, and so on, but they are recontextualized, and the music is refreshingly free of shredding solos. Sometimes the bass and guitar parts seem to be going in different directions, not in the same time signature, until they mesh up again and all is well. Seattle has long been known for heavy rock, and Upwell both honors and extends that tradition.