Underwing and The Debut ‘Kaela Upsweep’.

Underwing – Arendal, Norway.

Cover photo credit: Jasmin Moriko.

‘Progressive Grunge’ is a term I hadn’t heard until I received a review request from Norway’s Underwing. To understand this I would say try to envision a concoction of vintage Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden, Audioslave, Pearl Jam and Tool.

This was at least the feeling I got after the first few verses and groove-laden leads and bass-lines of opener ‘Sunless Seed’. The band flip between this incredible playful stylistic into classic Grunge vocals and melodic guitar overlays that elude a more contemporary Punk or Alternative Rock sound just because.

The opening notes of the ‘Reaper’ are foreboding and full of anticipation. You expect a huge and earth-shaking riff but you are actually left with is simplistic slow-Funk riff that is still as heaped with Blues reverb as the previous track. I will confess to feeling some disappointment but similarly I feel satisfied that the EP has seemingly chosen its path. Notably the melodic lead in the chorus rears its head again leaving you in hope of what is yet to come.

‘Reaper’ completely changes its stripes and ends on such a sombre tone that the tones of the record are changed again ready for the Classic Rock of ‘Pay In Silver’. Now, I say “Classic Rock” but don’t fret, as I simply mean the sound of the melancholic and almost Psychedelic opening strings and its companion in the verses.

The semi-eponymous ‘Kaela’ shows vocalist Enyeto Kotori at his best and is as close to a “power ballad” as the band get albeit cut with their mature and infectious gloom. However, the biggest surprise and notable part of this title-track is the unexpected an sheer aggressive riffage in the latter parts of the song. Underwing become a Metal band briefly and its fantastic.

For ‘Paragon’ this metallic edge hasn’t faded but the progressive Grunge time signatures have returned. Overall the track is standalone very well written and produced but within the continuity of the EP it is the “good” track rather anything as notable as its contemporaries.

Now that is the case for a portion of the songs duration but in what seems to be true Underwing style, the band allow the track to progress into something more and by the 5:38 mark, melancholic and emotive guitar work lead us to more riff-laden refrains and soaring vocals in complete redemption.

‘Pay In Silver’ is shows a darker band and more stripped down Underwing except for the sharp plucking within the chorus. The band are unable to stay simple for long however, as although their subdued almost Stoner Rock sound very much works, the intermittent releases of instrumental energy are barely confined and very well timed.

If you’re simply one for gloomy and moody rock – Sample some Underwing. If you are one for infectious Funk and groove added in with the Stoner-Grunge bluesy gloom – Indulge in Underwing and finally if you really need some new and well written underground Rock in your life – why are you still here? Go!

Kaela Upsweep is out now via Pinecone Records.

Find the band below:


Matthew Speer

Matt has 2.1 BA in History and is most likely somewhere in his twenties. He enjoys a wide range of music, but has a strong penchant for Punk-Rock. Originally he hails from the Isle Of Wight off the South Coast of England, UK and spends most of his time around England's South-West.

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