Upon Wings
Afterlife


2.7
average

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
February 22nd, 2013 | 62 replies


Release Date: 03/05/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The fine line that is female-fronted Symphonic Rock.

It may seem like a strange analogy, but I've always thought that the social equivalent of any form of symphonic rock or metal would be a person who would always steer conversations to suit their own talent or needs. Do it subtly & skillfully, and objectives will be met... Do it clumsily & unnaturally, and you probably end up looking like a tool. While bands such as Evanescence and Nightwish have occasionally had success melding classical and heavy influences, it’s a fine line to walk with only a confined space to successfully operate within. Moreover, when it isn’t performed with precision, the whole sound feels forced and artificial; a concern which Michigan based outfit Upon Wings experience on their debut EP ‘Afterlife’.

Comprising four tracks with sufficient – if subtle – variation, those searching for the kind of female-fronted power-metal which Nightwish has previously specialized in, need probably look elsewhere. Upon Wings’ style is more akin to alternative-rock, with an emphasis on infusing some form of gothic atmospheric quality to add distinction. The opening title track is most symbolic of the band’s sound, while ‘Take Away’ delivers more of the same in slightly poppier fashion. Sandwiched in between, ‘You Are My Weapon’ is the heaviest track of these fourteen minutes, leaning into post-grunge and nu-metal territory, as well as including a half-decent solo courtesy of Slaves on Dope guitarist Kevin Jardine (the Canadian nu-metallers also providing drummer Peter Tzaferis).

A novice to the genre would suggest that discussion concerning the competent – but far from extraordinary – musicianship is ultimately of secondary importance. Front and center to all things Upon Wings is classically trained vocalist Anne Autumn Erickson (just Anne Erickson wouldn’t sound anywhere near as ethereal). Armed with a dramatic mezzo-soprano vocal range, Erickson’s performance here varies from impressively controlled to annoyingly ill-fitting over-enunciation. For better or worse, celestial closer ‘The Dream’ is the most unique tune, delivering little in the way of instrumentation, and instead relying on angelic vocal layering to emphasize its haunting nature. At the very least, 'The Dream' suggests future soundtrack or theatrical work would not be out of the equation.

While it may be the odd track out, it is this closing piece which essentially typifies both Upon Words as a band, and ‘Afterlife’ as an EP. A love-or-hate proposition which rests almost entirely on Erickson’s operatic vocals, even those in the latter camp should recognize the potential apparent on this debut release that has been produced by (ex-Creed bassist and current Dark New Day vocalist) Brett Hestla. The room for improvement appears to be there in spades, but one has to wonder if Erickson has the range to pull off symphonic rock without a total overhaul of Upon Wings’ sound. At a minimum, some expert guidance will be required to direct her, while settling the band’s line-up will undoubtedly assist cohesion and consistency, since Erickson appears to currently be the only full-time member.

Recommended Tracks: Afterlife & Take Away.



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user ratings (3)
Chart.
2.5
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2013


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

'Afterlife': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91OoUIBveHk

Music Video for 'The Dream': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_hLOn_P0HM


DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2013


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

1st review in over 4 months, so please excuse the ring rust.

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
February 22nd 2013


21964 Comments


You give a 2.7 but you recommend half the EP
mmmm,,,

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2013


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

2.7 is approximately half of the maximum rating of 5.

And when I recommend tracks, it's not so much saying they are better than the 10th best track on some other album... It's just that they're the best here.

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
February 22nd 2013


21964 Comments


gotcha

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2013


7282 Comments


I can't seem to recall ever reading a metal review of yours, DaveyBoy. Haha =)

Digging: U2 - Songs of Innocence

Tyrael
February 22nd 2013


20876 Comments


'I can't seem to recall ever reading a metal review of yours, DaveyBoy. Haha =)'

Speaking of this, I have a few power/symphonic metal recs that you might enjoy Davey, if you want to write your first metal review any time soon :]

Digging: Darkspace - Dark Space III I

Fugue
February 22nd 2013


7353 Comments


Since when can you 2.7? I've been gone too long.

Willie
Moderator
February 22nd 2013


15976 Comments

Album Rating: 2.3

This was boring... nice review, though.

Digging: Necropoli - I

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
February 22nd 2013


21964 Comments


Since when can you 2.7? I've been gone too long.

about a month

only staff though

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
February 22nd 2013


7996 Comments


No subgenre has less interest to me than this one. Great review as always Davey, I always enjoy reading your reviews for stuff I don't care about listening to ;)

BallsToTheWall
February 22nd 2013


44373 Comments


Used to be huge into this kinda of stuff. Can't hurt to sample a song or two.

Digging: Pharmakon - Abandon

Acanthus
February 22nd 2013


9543 Comments


Nice review Davey, thought this was going to be a Willie review when I clicked on it.

Checking this out now, some of the rec's are favorites.

Edit: Agree with your closing statements, her range could definitely be a deciding factor on whether
the band sinks or floats.

Digging: Falls of Rauros - The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood

klap
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2013


10421 Comments


he lives!

Digging: Tennis - Ritual In Repeat

ProjectFreak
February 22nd 2013


1350 Comments


davey's back!

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2013


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

Guess who's back, back again. Let's call it a summer holiday... Whileyou're all caught under a 20 feet of snow.

Irving, this isn't metal. The not too dissimilar In This Moment might be the closest I've got. I can do classic, speed, thrash & power... But not death, black, etc...

I'll pass for the time being Thomas. I know where to come calling if I change my mind though.

Rosco is out of hibernation.

Anything to add Trey. I'm sure I missed something obvious.

Thanks Curse... I think that's 51% a compliment.

2 links in the 1st comment Balls. Let us know what you think.

Thanks Acanthus. I thought I'd fill in for Trey while he is traveling at the speed of sound & making us all jealous. There's definitely potential here, but it's difficult to tell whether it will ever be realized.

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
February 22nd 2013


7996 Comments


It is at least 70% a compliment

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2013


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

Well, if I save some people some time from listening to average stuff, then I think I'm serving the community.

KjSwantko
February 24th 2013


9277 Comments


Nice review, Davey. Might check this out.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 24th 2013


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 2.7

Muchos gracias KJ. EP isn't out for another week, but links to half of it in 1st comment.



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