Album Review: Upcdownc – Duel (Trepanation Records / Forbidden Place Records)

Duel is the new album from progressive, sludge, instrumental noise outfit Upcdownc, released on 24th February on Trepanation Records and Forbidden Place Records.



Twenty-three years of existence hasn’t dampened Upcdownc’s impact and three years after the release of their last album, Score, they return with another strong and memorable effort.

Touching the soul from the start with the opening melody of Lifequake, Upcdownc relax the senses, just so they can jolt them back to life in an instant. This album opener expanding into noisier territories; abrasive sludgy instrumentation but layered with the melody it opened with. A sudden stop makes it feel like it has ended but the hiss of the recording tells you otherwise. The rhythm builds, leading to a chaotic sounding final portion, and most will be immediately in love with this record.

With Rising of the Lights, Upcdownc are far less coy and come out swinging with some of the nastiest sounding sludge possible. The noise elements and progressive ideology making it an ever-evolving experience that drags you into the deep mire. Even the melodic outro has a cloying feel.

Whereas Lungs of Dust is a grand example of Upcdownc’s depth and detail. Not just because it is over ten minutes long, but because they pack it with an intensive amount of progressive metal twists and turns. There’s nothing predictable about this track, or anything Upcdownc do, but it’s always exciting and always interesting. This is one of the best showcases of the unique instrumental sound that Upcdownc provide and the time investment is worth every second.

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Offering up an opportunity to lean back and breathe calmly for a moment, Miasma oozes atmosphere but also begins to become more menacing, thanks to the lone guitar strum. The reverb will make your teeth-ache. Which does mean the soft twangs at the start of Exhaler are extremely welcome.

Though, of course, this is just one part of the track, and it transitions into something rockier, before descending into a section that features eccentric jabs of noise, building up in intensity to a final portion of heavy chaos. One of the wildest and most uncivilized parts of the entire album.

Finally, it’s Inhaler and here, Upcdownc deliver moody bass-heavy rhythm, starry synth, post-like progression, and an ever-expanding soundscape that fully captures the imagination. The most eclectic track on an album that is every bit an unusual experience from beginning to end. Yet, it is exceptionally appealing too. Upcdownc continue to prove that their music is necessary listening.

Upcdownc – Duel Track Listing:

1. Lifequake
2. Rising of the Lights
3. Lungs of Dust
4. Miasma
5. Exhaler
6. Inhaler


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  • Carl Fisher

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Upcdownc – Duel (Trepanation Records / Forbidden Place Records)
  • The Final Score - 9/10
User Review
9.65/10 (2 votes)