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BATTLESTATIONS

Battlestations

Post Rock/Math rock


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Battlestations Battlestations album cover
3.74 | 20 ratings | 9 reviews | 15% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing


1. Segment 1: No Survivors (18:57)
2. Segment 2: The Taste Of The Kill (7:56)
3. Segment 3: Accidents Of Ideals (18:36)

Lyrics

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Line-up / Musicians

Not specified.

Releases information

Self-release: http://music.battlestations.ws/

Thanks to harmonium.ro for the addition
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BATTLESTATIONS Battlestations ratings distribution


3.74
(20 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
15%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
55%
Good, but non-essential (20%)
20%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)
5%

BATTLESTATIONS Battlestations reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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.

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Send comments to Andy Webb (BETA) | Report this review (#525593) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, September 17, 2011

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars And the battle's just begun!

It has just begun because this is actually the debut album from this new and promising band from Belgium, whose music will surely give much to talk about in the near future. A self-titled album divided in three compositions (or segments, as they name them) where you will find intelligent creations with beautiful structures and environments; appealing music for those who like the most atmospheric side of progressive rock. The album's length is about 45 minutes, so sit and enjoy this because (quoting them) "what is happening to you is perfectly right".

"Segment 1: No Survivors" is an 18-minute jigsaw divided in ten pieces, each one with an own message to share, and with different nuances, textures and emotions. It starts with a peaceful tune, slow and repetitive acoustic and electric guitars, complemented by a warm and relaxing keyboard sound as backgroung and a voice speaking. Then it suddenly stops and now a new and somber passage begins, with some distant noises that create a quite different atmosphere. After the sixth minute there is a part I like a lot, with nice keyboards and a fresh and charming sound that seems to be like a breeze of tranquility, here the guitars are pretty cool.

Later a new passage begins, with spoken word once again that leads to a kind of tense but romantic scene, with great keyboard background, disarming piano notes and a fantastic spacey and atmospheric sound. Then it suddenly slows down and creates a mysterious moment, which morphs into a soft but electrifying (and repetitive, but addictive) sound which lasts for a couple of minutes until a delicate piano appears, and then it fades out.

"Segment 2: The Taste of the Kill" is the shorter track, divided in two passages. Though the first time I listened to it (being completely honest) there was a moment I felt bored, now after several spins I can only say that what Battlestations offer is haunting music, and that can be proved in this second segment. No matter it slow or repetitive rhythm, what makes it great is the richness of elements and sounds that are being added while the seconds pass, creating wonderful and sad atmospheres, desolated and positive textures in one single track. The second part of this song starts a bit weaker, but then it gradually progresses and makes a solid result.

"Segment 3: Accident of Ideals" is another long composition, and the 18 last minutes of the album. This is also divided in several passages that can be noticed if you listen to it carefully (and much better with headphones, I suggest). What I really like about it is how they manage to create a mixture of emotions and atmospheres, because you can be listening to beautiful or peaceful moments that later turns into sad and desolated ones, without harming the music at all, I mean, those changes are actually for good of the music, because one you are caught, you will not escape until it ends.

There is a kind of GY!BE reminiscence which would give the obvious post rock tag, actually I would say the post-rock feeling is inherent here, however, Battlestations is not a band you could easily tag (but who wants labels nowadays?), what I suggest is to open your mind and let this mystifying, yet beautiful album take you into its realm. You will not regret. Kudos for Battlestations from Belgium, they have offered a creative and quite interesting album that I hope some of you consider to listen and buy it. My final grade will be four strong stars.

Enjoy it!

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#541094) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 03, 2011

Review by J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The debut album from Battlestations is quite interesting, to say the least. This Belgian act's self-titled entrance into the music scene often rides the border between dark ambient music and chilling atmospheric rock, resulting in an album that is both haunting and cryptic in its implications. Even though Battlestations is an instrumental album, there are frequent spoken word passages revolving around a dystopian worldview of 21st century life. A dark, dreary, and bleak album, this certainly isn't something to listen to if you're looking for a bit of music to cheer you up. The floaty atmospheres that Battlestations create are sure to appeal to listeners who enjoy the darker side of ambient music and post rock, making this a strong recommendation to fans of those genres as well as experimental rock music in general. Although not flawless, this is a highly original twenty-first century debut that promises many great things from Battlestations in the future.

Battlestations is divided into three lengthy segments, and each of them exceed seven minutes; two of them are even over 18 minutes. Considering the sheer length of the compositions, as well as the soothing soundscapes and bleak atmospheres, one can certainly imagine that the music can take a few listens to overcome the initial monotony. For me, at least, this isn't a "love at first sight" album, and it demands your full attention to be appreciated - using this as background music will not suffice. Even after multiple listens, although Battlestations creates a very convincing atmosphere, there are occasionally dull sections where I find my mind wandering in each of the tracks. Although most of the album is captivating, the hauntingly soothing nature of the music can leave the listener craving something a bit more busy from time to time. This issue may only boil down to personal preference, though, and I can definitely appreciate that the whole album is well- composed and professional. A few transitions may be a bit jagged and there is an occasional section that comes across as a tad redundant, but both of these are fairly minor flaws in the big picture.

One of the more unique features of Battlestations is the production. It has a raw, almost industrial vibe that also sounds very professional and crisp in certain areas. It's an acquired taste, and those craving for a sleek and modern production will be slightly disappointed, but I think this sound is wonderful and suits the music perfectly. Kudos to Battlestations for managing to create a production that sounds unique and original, yet still fits into the music flawlessly!

Battlestations may not be an album for everybody, but it makes for a very strong entrance into the scene for this young and adventurous post rock outfit. Battlestations are definitely an act to keep your eye on in the coming years. As for this humble debut, I'd say that it's a very strong recommendation for those who enjoy dark ambient, post rock, and experimental rock with a dash of originality. It may be a slightly challenging and monotonous journey at times, but it's one worth experiencing regardless. I'd say 3.5 stars are well-deserved in this case.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#553310) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Battlestations' - Battlestations (8/10)

Belgian instrumental act Battlestations may deserve the post-rock label, but much like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, they shirk away from the traditional soft-heavy dynamics, and conventional build-ups that define the genre. I must say that it is refreshing to hear a new band in post-rock attempt to do something a little different. Making texture and atmosphere the centerpiece of what they do, Battlestations crafts a cinematic wave of sound here, although its devotion to ambiance may turn away those listeners looking for something more immediate.

The self-titled debut of this band is broken into three pieces, two of which being nineteen minutes long. However, 'Battlestations' virtually flows as one continuous piece of music, there is enough quiet on the album to keep a listener from realizing the tracks have changed, unless they know when it's coming. The music may be best labelled as 'ambient', being that these compositions are built around creating interesting sounds, rather than melodies or rhythmic patterns. There are subtle build-ups and even climaxes, but Battlestations never quite lets completely loose. On one hand, this makes the music quite challenging to really get into unless the listener is seeking for an hour of relatively peaceful music. The sound here is brought forth mostly through the use of reverb-laden, atmospheric guitars and a wide range of electronic instruments. Despite being uneventful on the surface, there are plenty of ideas that play throughout these compositions, shyly repeating themselves and creating a sense of flow within the music. There is a definite sense of structure to this, but the point is that its subtle.

The way Battlestations crafts collages of sound is beautiful, to say the least. A perfect descriptive word would be 'vast', in the sense that there can be so many things heard all at once, without anything necessarily jumping out and vying for the listener's attention. Speaking of moods and emotions, the album is actually relatively static, taking a stance and generally developing a single sense of ambiguity, going neither for a purely optimistic, or purely dark mood. The album as a whole leaves an impression, yet there is not a moment or track that stands out. I may have like 'Battlestations' to be a little more eventful and lively at times, taken for what it is, I do believe that the band manages to accomplish what it set out to do.

While the music does not decisively strike any emotion besides a sense of curiosity and wonder, there are spoken word movements in this album that take a very pessimistic stance. The dialogue of 'Battlestations' typically revolves around qualms of a modern society; stratification, an unfair economy, and so on. Although these parts do risk getting preachy in regards to political worldview, they serve well to supplement the imagery that the music creates. While this is an ambient piece, there is a surprising lot to explore here, with details popping up to the listener's attention in the most unlikely of moments. This is a band that is not for everyone, but Battlestations shows a great deal more potential than your run- of-the-mill post-rock act. There is a wealth of beauty here for those with the patience to exploit it.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#556521) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 24, 2011

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars Battlestations' debut album heralds the type of music that the band focus on their next album, very ambient atmospheric shoegaze music to chill out too. This album however has more voice over orations than the followup, particularly in the opener 'Segment 1: No Survivors'. Immediately I was reminded of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and this music is definitely darker in tone and atmosphere than anything on "In A Cold Embrace". The anonymity of the band further cements the mystique of the music that mystifies and compels in equal measure. The music seems to fit the cover image of broken down train warning lights, and the imagery of abandoned trains on lonely railroads with the grey sky as a backdrop; images that pervade the CD booklet.

There are steam hisses to accompany the bleak keyboards and guitars. The repetitive motif is a signature style with Battlestations and it builds patiently along the lengthy running time of 19 minutes. At 9 minutes more voice intonations are heard and a new style of music chimes in with strong guitar clangs and a pulsating bass. The droning bass becomes isolated and then at 12 minutes a beautiful acoustic passage is heard. I admit that I am more taken with the strong variation than on the followup that seems to sit on one key motif for the majority of each song. The guitar and piano are joined by a strange apocalyptic voice over stating "every piece of this earth carved up and sold to the highest bidder". This segues into the next session with reverbed guitar strums and swathes of keyboards. Serene piano drives the next piece and then an echo chamber of piano fortissimo along some ambient strings to end it.

The next piece 'Segment 2: The Taste of the Kill' is the shortest at 8 minutes sandwiched in between the epics. It is dominated by an echoing piano chord and organic keys. The steady drum beat is louder and stands out as a result on the album. The guitar strums are wonderful and there are layers of other instruments creating a soundscape of tranquillity. A voice over is heard making sense of the music; "People are scared, angry, hostile, hate everything? there are cults all over the place." A chant is heard after this, like a protest march, and a pulsing drone generates a darker sound. The pulses are augmented by sonic shrieks and bleak effects; this is one of the darker tracks from Battlestations.

The last piece is another epic almost clocking 19 minutes, 'Segment 3: Accidents Of Ideals'. It begins with flickering static and a sonic heartbeat effect. This is joined by upsweeps of reversed keyboard swells. A textural passageway is created with moody bass overtones and guitar picking. A reversed voice enhances the chilling atmosphere. Otherworldly crunches of loud synths build with menace and the music becomes denser. The guitars build into an entrancing theme with backwashes of synth and some creative basslines. Later a peaceful synth line takes over with some more voices, "privatise everything, deregulate?.. hungrier than the poor?.. destroying people's future, their lives", accompanied by loud drones. Layer upon layer of keyboards, and a moderate rhythmic percussion, rounds off another excellent track.

The music on this album may well suit the soundtrack to your darkest hour, and it may take on new meanings and perspectives according to the frame of mind of the listener or the mood they are in when listening to it. The music carves out images on the conscious of dystopian worlds and social injustice. It is excellent headphone music but may have the added effect of depressing some listeners. I did not find it too depressing, although it is definitely bleak, because the music has uplifting qualities and is rather soothing to the senses. As one allows the music to soak into the emotions it has an uncanny ability to induce restfulness or calmness. This is the better album out of the 2 studio releases of Battlestations due to the variations on each track, and overall thematic content, but both albums are among the better choices if one desires to indulge in modern Post Rock.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#762932) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 03, 2012

Review by VanVanVan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars If you've already heard Battlestations' recent masterpiece "In A Cold Embrace," it shouldn't be hard for you to extrapolate what this, their self-titled debut, will sound like. Just take the same beautifully alien psychedelic-post rock from that album, make it a little dreamier and a little more jagged and you've got a pretty good approximation.

If you haven't heard "In A Cold Embrace," then your task is a bit harder. Try to imagine what Godspeed You! Black Emperor would sound like if they came from another planet, or what Pink Floyd would sound like if Delia Derbyshire had been a member - or, better yet, don't try to imagine what it will sound like at all. Just put it on and hear for yourself. Like "In A Cold Embrace," "Battlestations" is a trip: a dreamy (and at times nightmarish) journey into another world.

"Segment 1: No Survivors" begins with a crescendo of ambience that immediately sets a dreamy, slightly alien tone for the track. Some lazily strummed guitar chords are added into the mix, and some very unique and interesting synth textures keep the song sounding totally fresh and compelling. At about the 3 and a half minute mark the feel of the track changes drastically, with a minimalistic, almost dark-ambient sound serving as the backdrop against which the next section of the track is developed. A variety of synths are of course at the center of the sound, but percussion is also utilized very well, never sounding intrusive but helping to add another layer to the sonic palette nonetheless. One of the album's more melodic sections follows, providing a surprisingly hopeful theme given the track's rather bleak title. Rest assured, however; if you're looking for melancholy the track can provide that in spades as well. Especially notable in my opinion is a section around the twelve minute mark that manages to sound like a jazzy ambient, post-rock film noir soundtrack. While the track's 18 minute run-time does seem rather clearly demarcated into distinct sections, that's certainly no detriment to its quality, and it's a stellar piece of genre-bending composition.

"Segment 2: The Taste of the Kill" starts off in a more structured manner than did its predecessor, with a repeating, rhythmic pattern serving as the track's backbone. Guitar and of course synths are layered on and the track briefly takes on a kind of similarity to, believe it or not, Yes (think of the beginning of "And You And I"). Unsurprisingly, however, Battlestations goes in a completely different direction, continuing to layer the sound and eventually introducing a spoken-word monologue that highlights how cinematic this music really is. Lest the listener become too comfortable, however, the final third of the track veers hard into experimentalism, dabbling in dark ambiences and minimalistic sound collages that border at times on musique concrete. Like "Segment 1," definite "sections" can be pulled out of the track's 7 minute run-time, but it certainly can't be said that the track doesn't flow, and it should be abundantly clear by now that the group knows its stuff when it comes to putting a piece together.

If "Segment 1" started off ambient and "Segment 2" started off rhythmically, "Segment 3: Accidents of Ideals" provides the most (in my opinion) interesting opening, coming out of the gate with a section that sounds like Pink Floyd would have if they'd taken heed of the advent of trip hop. Despite this rather peaceful (and perhaps even soothing) opening, however, "Segment 3" on the whole is by far the heaviest and most intense of the three tracks. With glitchy, distorted sounds floating in the track's background for most of its 18.5 minute duration, "Segment 3" proves at times to be even more hauntingly disturbing than either of the other two segments. Reverb-heavy, disconnected wordless vocals only add to that impression, as does a near constant, ghostly droning ambience behind even the track's most melodic sections. The ending is especially incredible. The only adjective I can think to describe it with is crashing; it's noisy in all the right ways and brings an amazing sense of finality to the album. It's perhaps unsurprising, then, that out of the three "Segments" it's this one that sounds to me most like one complete piece rather than various sections. While that doesn't necessarily mean it's objectivany better or worse than the other two tracks, it does provide a very satisfying end to the album and for that reason I'd probably name it as my favorite.

Thus, while this eponymous album doesn't quite reach the flawlessness of its successor, it's not too far short. In a way, its more distinct makeup even works in its favor - certain themes stick out in a way that they probably wouldn't have otherwise, and that makes for some very dramatic moments. Overall, then, "Battlestations" is a very good album, especially considering that it was the group's debut, and it's even further confirmation that this group is certainly one to watch in the future.

4/5

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Send comments to VanVanVan (BETA) | Report this review (#777322) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars The debut album from this Belgian act whose members are unknown. Recorded at night between 2009 and 2011, unlike the followup In A Cold Embrace this one features a lot of sampled talking. The only voice I recognize is that of Noam Chomsky. His voice and all other human speech sampled on the album has been speed altered to add to the already ominous and moody nature of the music. This self-titled debut is almost completely instrumental but there sounds like some distant female vocals in places. There are only three tracks here which are further divided into other sections. The subject matter of the sampled voices concerns modern day life and the struggle through it; generally pessimistic and conspiratorial in nature. However, the music itself rarely gets too dark and bleak sounding.

Two of the tracks are almost 19 minutes long. The first is "Segment 1: No Survivors" which has 10 different sections. This begins mellow with guitar, cymbals and a bit of synth before the sampled talking enters the scene. When the bass guitar appears everything is more dark and ominous sounding. Eventually some lush New Age-y synths appear, leading to an uplifting melody that almost has a New Wave vibe to it. Drumming during this section but I think they use electronic drums and/or programmed drumming. Almost a duet (triet?) between piano, bass and acoustic guitar at one point.

"Segment 2: The Taste Of The Kill" is divided into only 2 sections, being the shortest track. It opens with some call-and-response between two echoed guitars. As a drum thud repeats the music builds up with violins and guitar chords. You hear a speed altered crowd chanting "stop police violence" before the music turns dark ambient. "Segment 3: Accidents Of Ideals" has 5 sections to it. It slowly builds up to a section with some barely audible female vocals singing what I assume are wordless sounds. This track seems to drag on in places compared to the previous two. Compared to this, In A Cold Embrace seems more consistent although it takes more listens to sink in. Overall a well recorded and good sounding album, contains different moods and instrumentation but the music sometimes is not sure where it wants to go. Good but not essential. 3 stars.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#934761) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, March 24, 2013

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