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Battlestations - Battlestations CD (album) cover

BATTLESTATIONS

Battlestations

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.74 | 20 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group
Site and Forum Admin
4 stars The battle of sound

Battlestations is a young Belgian atmospheric rock band formed in 2009 who released their debut self-titled album in June of 2011. The music present on the album seems to eternally dance upon the fringes of rock and ambient, with psychedelic and Eno-esque synth-laden passages permeating the atmosphere of the album, and sparse but well placed bouts of more traditional ambient "post-rock" appearing on the album. However, it would be insulting to slap the cliché "post-rock" title on this band; the music truly transgresses all concrete tags and genre classifications. It would be near impossible to list the huge amount of influences that are fused into a distinct sound on this album, with styles ranging from ambient electronic music to black metal to psychedelic rock and near every conceivable style wedged in between.

The album is a lengthy song cycle broken into 3 sections, each with numerous movements within. Conceptually, the album is a bleak and dystopian view of our current society, and although the music is melodically instrumental, numerous sound clips of mysterious speakers critiquing 21st century society pepper the music with their depressed tale of "life in the 21st century." The music matches the mood of the concept, with bleak, near black metal and industrial metal atmospheres surrounding the more austere moments of spoken word. The "demented" vocals (as the band calls them) match this dismal and eerie feeling and add an even more dynamic side to the mysterious and eclectic blend of post-rock. Although more "desolate" emotions seem to dominate this album, the band seems to touch both sides across the album, with especially Segment 2 having a much more uplifting atmosphere, due much to the creative use of subtle orchestral instrumentation.

Musically the band crafts their album in a very creative way. The music is atmospheric and synth laden, with subtle and powerful bass lines complimenting the guitar work, which switches between a more passive ambient role and a forefront "riffing" or more accurately "strumming" role in the music. Underneath it all is a very subtle percussive element, which is only truly "present" in a few sections of the music. Overall the music has a very powerful atmosphere, which is truly what dictates the overall emotion that is portrayed in the music. This atmospheric tendency really sent me on a joy ride across the ambient music, riding the waves of the band's battle with traditional sound. The dark chasm of their music is well crafted, haunting, and at the same time satisfying in numerous ways.

Overall, Battlestations is a wonderful debut from this small, mysterious Belgian post rock band. The music itself is bleak and austere, yet has moments of beauty and uplifting moods as well. The production is clean and yet rough as to give the music a more organic feeling. The instrumentation is sparse, emotive, and atmospheric, giving rise to a strong, dominating feeling of desolation in much of the music, which seems to run parallel to the theme of the music. Although post-rock may not be the best descriptor of the album, the band has done a great job at really making it near impossible to describe the music, which is fantastic in the quest to truly "progress" in the music world. I am certainly looking forward to hearing more from this band. 4 stars.

Andy Webb | 4/5 |

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