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Battlestations - In A Cold Embrace CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

4.04 | 131 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars For anybody familiar with the 2011 self-titled debut offering from Belgian post rock act Battlestations, it should've been made immediately clear that this was a band with a lot of potential. Their sound came across as strikingly original and mysterious on their first observation, especially in comparison to the stagnant nature of most post rock acts in recent years, and the group's strong sense of atmosphere made their debut one of last year's most notable releases. Less than a year has passed, and this anonymous collective already has another album up their sleeves in the form of In a Cold Embrace. The band's chilling grasp on post-apocalyptic despair has been fully maintained on this album, and this time Battlestations has also improved upon their sound from almost all fronts. In a Cold Embrace is a stunning refinement on an already chilling formula; the end result is an observation that every atmospheric rock fan should experience.

While In a Cold Embrace could simply be characterized as 'post-rock' (and, don't get me wrong - there are plenty of nods in the direction of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, or Sigur Ros), I think that wouldn't really be doing Battlestations very much justice. The band's sound borrows a great deal of inspiration from dark ambient textures, and although the instrumentation may often align itself more with post rock than ambient, the compositions are much more atmospheric than your average post rock song. I think this is largely due to the meticulous attention to detail and subtlety that Battlestations exhibits on In a Cold Embrace - most of the album stays at a calm, quiet, and soothing level, yet still manages to display extremely detailed arrangements and subtle atmospheric builds. It's these calm, yet elaborate textures that makes In a Cold Embrace such a great listen, and while the album contains very few climatic crescendos, these few moments are even more powerful in comparison to the general restraint shown throughout the rest of the observation.

In a Cold Embrace flows like a single song rather than a collection of tunes, and while it may take a number of listens for most listeners to 'get it', I found each listen of this album to be extremely rewarding and exciting. Battlestations have moved into the top-tier of ambient/post rock acts with this release, and In a Cold Embrace is quite obviously the result of professional musicianship, remarkable attention to detail, and high compositional craftsmanship. Those who prefer their music to be upbeat and energetic may find little to enjoy on In a Cold Embrace, but listeners who crave something dark (yet strangely uplifting), soothing (yet strangely dynamic), and challenging (yet strangely accessible) owe it to themselves to check out this magnificent effort.

J-Man | 4/5 |


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