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Battlestations - In a Cold Embrace CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

3.97 | 140 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The black and white cover - as well as the similarily dark and sad photography inside - makes one expect something much harsher and disturbing music, metal perhaps. But thank god (since I'm not a metal fan!), that's not the case with Battlestations, a new band from Brussels, Belgium, whose line-up chooses to remain unnamed. The music speaks for itself.

First, it's not music to be easily categorized. I'm very satisfied with the choice of Post Rock though. This instrumental and abstract-natured music has some similarities with SIGUR ROS for example, without sounding the same at all. Battlestation has found a voice of their own. Other connotations I got are linked to the term Dream Pop, COCTEAU TWINS and the PA addition DEAD CAN DANCE, with one notable difference: as Sigur Ros, also these bands have vocals (Elisabeth Frazer and Lisa Gerrard, respectively) as an important part of the overall sound even if recognizable lyrics and song-form are less used. The total absence of vocals helps Battlestations to avoid many comparisons.

Also I felt this music to be very cinematic, in a way that your own imagination can paint scenes. And I believe the musicians have attempted to receive this effect, leaving all the explaining, informative words out of the package (except that the music's recorded at night-time). Even the title tracks leave a lot of space and openness. 'You're Not Welcome Here', The Way We Grieve', The Faces We Remember', 'The Semblance of Fate', etc. If this was a film, it would be very artistic and atmospheric with minimal dialogue, emphasizing on (sad) emotions. Maybe some conflict on the background that costs lives. But the major difference with film music is that here we have long tracks whereas film music usually has short segments.

Another term that must be mentioned is Dark Ambient. The mood is somber but not disturbing or aggressive. There's surely beauty in this music. The sound is very organic, the separate instruments are usually not getting a visible role. Often this kind of instrumental ambient music is done by a sole musician (such as Robert Rich, Roger Eno, Harold Budd or Vangelis) and it would be interesting to know the exact line-up here. If this music is done in a collective way as a band, they have a wonderful spiritual unity! Easily worth 4 stars, almost five from me too.

Matti | 4/5 |


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