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AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR

Post Rock/Math rock • United Kingdom


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And So I Watch You From Afar picture
And So I Watch You From Afar biography
Founded in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2005

AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR, commonly shortened to just ASIWYFA, is a math rock band from Belfast, Northern Ireland. The band consists of Rory FRIERS and Tony WRIGHT on guitars, Johnny ADGER on bass and Chris WEE on drums. Billed by AU Magazine as "one of Northern Ireland's hottest properties", this band will appeal to those seeking a more brutal listening experience, a la WE ARE KNIVES or RUSSIAN CIRCLES. ASIWYFA takes pride in their interaction with fans/audiences and run very rigorous touring schedules. It should be very easy to find these fellows at a venue near you soon.

- Chris H. -

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AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR discography


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AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.77 | 41 ratings
And So I Watch You from Afar
2009
3.83 | 83 ratings
Gangs
2011
3.82 | 17 ratings
All Hail Bright Futures
2013
3.82 | 11 ratings
Heirs
2015
3.78 | 9 ratings
The Endless Shimmering
2017
3.14 | 5 ratings
Jettison
2022
0.00 | 0 ratings
Megafauna
2024

AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.86 | 5 ratings
This Is Our Machine and Nothing Can Stop It
2007
2.14 | 5 ratings
Tonight the City Burns
2007
5.00 | 1 ratings
Set Guitars to Kill
2009
4.00 | 1 ratings
Split (w/Talons)
2009
3.76 | 8 ratings
The Letters
2010
2.92 | 3 ratings
Straight Through the Sun Without a Scratch
2010
4.09 | 2 ratings
Successors
2020

AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Straight Through the Sun Without a Scratch by AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2010
2.92 | 3 ratings

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Straight Through the Sun Without a Scratch
And So I Watch You From Afar Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Always a refreshing and exciting accomplishment to get as deep as you can go with a band you love. And here, finally, after almost 10 years of knowing them, I'm onto the final single/EP and therefore will have thusly heard it all(!!!). Since I learned about this single, which I believe was the reason I went on this final hunt into their back catalog, I have loved that half the title is the first track and the other half is the second. It's the simple things, right?

And from the get-go, with "Straight Through The Sun", this is truly ASIWYFA as I first knew them, that bright, super melodic thing that can best be heard throughout their albums All Hail Bright Futures (2013) and Heirs (2015). Post-Rock ethos reveals itself fully here nearing the second minute, as much of the heaviness dissipates and their aptitude to morph their guitars into seemingly entirely different instruments is shown clearly. Pretty nice. Our so-called B-side is "Without a Fucking Scratch" (I usually barely censor myself for virgin ears, eyes and minds, but look! it's right there in the title!). This, funny enough, starts with what sounds like a well-loved (scratched up) vinyl recording. It's very lo-fi actually, but solid ideas on this'n. This is pretty classic Post-Rock and really I don't feel like a whole lot happened over the course of its 6-minute run. Decent, though, sure.

 The Letters by AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2010
3.76 | 8 ratings

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The Letters
And So I Watch You From Afar Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Initially released in 2010, with their great album Gangs on its heels, Letters EP was definitely one of the first things I had heard from ASIWYFA. This was definitely the beginning of their most golden era in my opinion (in part culminating to 2015's Heirs). Highly melodic, they mix Post-Rock with Heavy Metal, Prog and Alt to my ears.

"S is for Salamander" is a huge track. The infectious, hypnotic main riff plays crunchily over solid Rock drumming. After minute 1, we get a great shift into the next section, a mathy gallop. And with the Math Rock comparison, this section, too, morphs into something heavier, feeling as though it were an homage to some of the heavier Indie Rock of the past. Released as their contribution in a split with Talons, the next is the shredded, gargantuan blast of "D is for Django The Bastard" which offers a little jazz, a little indie, and a sh*t-ton of fun, to be unabashedly frank. I mean, this is simply iconic. One of their all-time best moments.

In a funky feel, the beginning of our second half is fittingly "B is for B Side", which has such a great rhythm. Oh, and it's another biggie. This is one, I now acknowledge, I didn't play a whole lot when I was listening to them the most, but wow does it ever have a lot to offer! Really great main riff, big performances from everyone involved, and it really will keep your interest piqued. Finally, another of their most memorable songs is the EP closer, "K is for Killing Spree", and it is just about as heavy as the name might imply. Another one with a great riff, too, including these weird slides and choppy lines. The section nearing the second minute is quite hefty and the hits on the hi-hat are just wild. Though significantly longer than the rest, I feel that it's compositionally wanting in comparison. Not bad by any stretch of my imagination, but I can just see them doing even more with this. It's more a showcase of the vast array of sonic elements And So I Watch You From Afar has to offer collectively. But yeah, still great.

True Rate: 4.5/5.0

 Split (w/Talons) by AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2009
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Split (w/Talons)
And So I Watch You From Afar Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars Utterly unfamiliar with Talons, by all accounts a more progressive, post-hardcore-slanted Post-Rock band (Spotify "Fans also like" Three Trapped Tigers and Brontide most notably). (At least) Here, they have classical strings in addition to the traditional Rock formulation (also, definitionally speaking, as any Post-Rock band tends to have). Their track here, "Bethlehem", was a pretty solid introduction to them, I must say. Just a cool sound in general. Eventually released on And So I Watch You From Afar's better beloved, better known EP, Letters (2009), their contribution to the split is "D is for Django The Bastard". This is a booming, bombastic number, much like the material on that would-be EP and stylistically similar to what they would do shortly thereafter on Gangs specifically. Something I totally forgot was this jazzy bridge section. Fantastic. I look forward to delving into that EP proper (and properly). It's been a long time.
 Tonight the City Burns by AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2007
2.14 | 5 ratings

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Tonight the City Burns
And So I Watch You From Afar Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

2 stars As with their other EP from this time, This Is Our Machine and Nothing Can Stop It and the inclusion of "I Capture Castles" therein, 2007's Tonight the City Burns had one track that would eventually end up on their self-titled debut LP (released 2009), "These Riots are Just the Beginning", which is this EP's opener. Crazy guitar and, toward the end, bass tone here. This is classic ASIWYFA, for sure. Next was "The Torch", a haunting, short interlude of sorts (or is it "secretly" the opener?) and... it honestly feels like this was very nearly scrubbed from the internet. Whatever www.eruce.com is, thanks for having it available to simply listen to it. Then we have a very of the time number, "Tonight the City Burns", which has a feeling of early-00s Garage Rock Revival and "3rd-Wave" Emo (or latter-day 2nd-Wave, if that's appropriate). And this is a rare ASIWYFA track with vocals [and not the only one on the album, too]! Apparently said vocalist is Cahir O'Doherty of the band Fighting With Wire. Amazing. Maybe this would appeal to fans of... Delta Sleep? But like, with a more Post-Hardcore flavor. Overall, very uncharacteristic of this band... The middle section is honestly very cool, but hard to say how much this will appeal to the average audience of this site [or of this specific sub-genre]. And it's in the bridge section that we are reminded that this is in fact still Post-Rock. Really not bad. And I would say another solid example of a young band with vision.

"Marching Over the Coals" brings us back to a more traditional Post-Rock reality. Very spacious. But then featuring some... 808 kick drums? I'm off-base, I know it. Anyways, did nothing for me. I'm bored already with the start of "Something More than Power", too, to be honest. I mean, when am I not honest? haha. More vocals, but like... in a Jeff Buckley style? Maybe that will track with someone. The song turned out pretty alright, but I don't need to hear it again haha. Also, couldn't figure out who Neil Hughes was, likely the vocal feature here. More feature mystery ensues on the track with Geoff Topley, "La Plata es el Asesino". Very open track. And a very static, boring track, at that... Hmmm... whatever.

True Rate: 2.5/5.0

 This Is Our Machine and Nothing Can Stop It by AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2007
2.86 | 5 ratings

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This Is Our Machine and Nothing Can Stop It
And So I Watch You From Afar Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Released in 2007, the we're-a-post-rock-band-and-here's-a-long-title'd This Is Our Machine and Nothing Can Stop It was North Irish And So I Watch You From Afar's (apparent) debut. [I'm not going to dispute it, but you'll notice my tracklisting was a bit different than what's posted here.] As with many bands I'd consider myself a fan of, I was very ignorant of their EPs and non-album material until now. This Is Our Machine starts off with the memorable and wonderfully named "I Capture Castles", a track I've known for a long while, eventually re-released on their first, self-titled LP in 2009. I think this is a great example of a track early on in their discography that shows their penchant toward Prog whilst still obviously, primarily being set in the world of Post-Rock. In this, they are heads-and-shoulders above 99% of all in the genre (even if that means inconsistently so in more recent years). This track is a stellar opener and a tastefully progressive track. Up next is the (at first) softer, twinkling and reverberating "Holylands, 4am", with a steady beat and trilling guitars. Pretty good Post-Rock, heavy and booming, as was their custom in their earliest days. I know others in the community here may not have the same relationship to this band as I do, yet even so I'm surprised how solid this is thus far.

Up next is "The Voiceless". A more classic (and classically boring) Post-Rock number, this one flows in and out over the same consistent chordal theme. Next is "Pt. 1" to the two-part near-title-track "The Machine". Buzzing, echoing guitars here actually reminded me in part of Spaghetti Westerns. Naturally, this picks up into a more solid theme on "Pt. 2", joined by straight-ahead bass and heavy drumming. Big song. This new, beefy riff is introduced after minute 2 and then a new section entirely. They definitely had fun with this one, I'd think. But this is only a foretaste of what they would accomplish only 2 years later. Finally, we have "WPB, 6am". We love a Post-Rock band that is wont to keep track of time haha. This one is a very, as is Post-Rock custom (and no, I will not be apologizing for this), derivative sort of chill number... Again, as is custom, boredom-inducing.

Just barely a 3/5.

 Jettison by AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.14 | 5 ratings

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Jettison
And So I Watch You From Afar Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

3 stars [Welp... I'm kind of totally f*cking pissed that this happened again... I got logged off for apparently no reason and I couldn't retrieve the near-800-word review that I just typed up for this album that is, unfortunately, as a fan, just okay... So, here is a sh*tty half-assed reworked review of an album I kind of don't (and didn't) need to hear ever again. Sorry, mates...]

Jettison, apparently released not through Sargent House, but through Velocity Records (I'm not sure what Equal Vision is)--the same label for Thursday and Scary Kids Scaring Kids--is the sixth full-length studio album by this North Irish Progressive Post-Rock band. A follow-up to The Endless Shimmering (2017), this is a song cycle, a "Full Score" (as suggested by what would otherwise be the tenth track), just one piece of music throughout the whole.

I guess I'll get this feeling out of the way and out into the open, because I couldn't shut the f*ck up about it last time I typed this all out: I don't like Post-Rock. That's as simply as I can put it. I think it's boring, static and especially now, existing for, what, 30-odd years(?), has nothing new to offer listeners anymore. It very nearly never was and certainly rapidly ceased to be anything that I would consider 'progressive' or experimental. And unfortunately, the wide majority of this album, save, say, two tracks for sure (personally, in my as-humble-as-possible opinion), that is all this album has to offer. It's artfully done in general scope, sure, with the inclusion of spoken monologues (and one dialogue) and a string ensemble (which I think at one point or another is sampled) interacting with the otherwise normal input from the band, but... they have done so much better.

"I Dive Pt 1" is our first monologue, simplicity atop the aforementioned string ensemble. It gives way to "II Dive Pt 2" (of course) with something at least familiar. Simple drums, singular guitar strums; it's got a pretty nice riff. The guitar effects and the rhythm section are them. This is it, right? [I'm getting drunk, if possible.] Finally we have something that is awesome, the surefire highlight of the whole, "III Lung". The rhythm section is strong and the riffs are super cool. This is ASIWYFA. Praise be. We get our second monologue from a second party on "IV In Air". Light build to the end, which is a pretty lovely noise and drone. It then builds to... nothing at all on "V Hold". Not a monologue, but the short dialogue I alluded to. The rhythm is steady. Super static track. Not a whole lot here.

The sharpest juxtaposition happens here, only because we aren't bridging two tracks together for once on "VI Submerge". Pretty cool lead guitar here. I'd say check it out, if anyone felt like reading this haha. It all falls away to simplicity and then builds once more (What the f*ck is this? Post-Rock? /s). What it builds into is its sister song, "VII Emerge", the other surefire highlight on the album. Despite the fact that this feels more like what they had done nearly 10 years ago, that's actually what makes it worth hearing and actually interesting [To clarify, I mean sonically, not because it sounds like the old Kany-- er, I mean, like the old ASIWYFA]. Again, sorry, mates. Just surprised I didn't hear a "Hoo!" on this one haha. This gives way to our title track, "VIII Jettison", with a solid backbeat and the return of the string ensemble. A pretty strong number, really. It falls away to ambience, eventually opening up to the final track, "IX A.D. Poet", the true, singular return of the string ensemble. Very pretty, very wanting, almost melancholic.

That's it... I'm just praying to God above that they do something a little more interesting next time haha. I'm so jaded... I thought they were going in a great, interesting, even unique direction (a continued uniqueness), but... God, this made me have so many doubts about that. Peace!

 Set Guitars to Kill by AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2009
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Set Guitars to Kill
And So I Watch You From Afar Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
5 stars With the memorable and by now relatively well known "Set Guitars to Kill", we are introduced to the singles off their debut LP, And So I Watch You From Afar and the band's darker beginnings (when compared to their middle period starting with All Hail...). This track is also evidence to their unique, on-brand fusion of Math Rock, Post-Rock and Prog elements. This'n's big, with droning bass, heavy guitar and straight-ahead drums. Great, again memorable riffage and an excellent performance, I think it's a great introduction to the band [though, admittedly, I'm still ignorant of their first 2 EPs that preceded this and the aforementioned LP].

Though still dark and moody, we get glints of light on the flipside, the beautiful and epic "A Little Bit of Solidarity goes a Long Way". Awesome main riff and compositionally highly appealing and striking right off the bat. More recognizably Post-Rock in structure on this, it's big and loud, falling away to a sizeable swelling, emotive section to end things out. Post-Rock is, I would say, their general genre of origin. They utilize Rock instrumentation to great effect, compositionally other and texturally grand. Perhaps, in the grand scheme of things, an even better intro to ASIWYFA, capturing elements of their early and middle periods.

 Successors by AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2020
4.09 | 2 ratings

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Successors
And So I Watch You From Afar Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

4 stars An album I altogether missed when it came out, Successors, the follow-up to their 2017 LP The Endless Shimmering [an album I should really revisit, and I shall, as I've all but forgotten it], is a 3-song EP. Of lesser significance to me, this is their first extended play release in 10 years! Their would-be quarantine drop, Successors came out through Sargent House in July 2020. Hard to believe how rapidly these past 2 years have flown... I really wonder now if each of these tracks are supposed to capture familiar themes and feelings of albums past; see below.

From the first notes of "Apanoid", this is indeed And So I Watch You From Afar, from the twinkling, dazzling electro-guitar arpeggios to the boisterous, unmistakable drumming and percussion of Chris Wee to their spacious drones. An at once huge song, it morphs and falls away to ambience. Perhaps, as I suggest above (and am more confidently with the following track), a callback to the Gangs era here.

"Odd Seal" is something that hearkens back to, to me, their golden era, of All Hail Bright Futures (2013) and Heirs (2015). Super bright indeed, this track honestly feels like it must have been left off from back then. I mean, it sonically sounds like "Wasps" or "A Beacon, A Compass, An Anchor" from that second album mentioned. Even if it, therefore, feels like old hat, I love this sound. It's so triumphant and fun. I'm assuming these callbacks and familiarities is why it's the EP's current 'Plays' breadwinner. There's something about that era that not only holds up, but is when many of their fans finally climbed aboard.

If indeed we are 'Succeeding' and calling back to prior eras and albums, then the 'bright' and gleaming "Radaghast" is of All Hail's 'bright' flavors haha. Very fun track. The guitar effects are huge, spacy, even heavenly.

Overall, a fun release. Not sorry I missed it, as I'm happy to be experiencing it now.

 And So I Watch You from Afar by AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.77 | 41 ratings

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And So I Watch You from Afar
And So I Watch You From Afar Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DangHeck
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I am excited as this is my first stop in revisiting this great band, and I'll be reviewing and rating accordingly, from release to release. I first came across ASIWYFA around 2015, following the evidently very fresh drop of their latest at the time, Heirs, released that year and put on repeat by me throughout that whole year [One of the few albums that I turned my now ex-girlfriend onto. You're so welcome, Sarah hahaha]. I loved that album. I recall it taking not a lot of time until I delved deeper and deeper into their discography. I'm realizing now that I have a severe enough blind spot: I, a purported fan, am yet to hear their two EPs that preceded this and at least one other minor release just after. This can and will be resolved to the best of my ability.

With the memorable and by now relatively well known "Set Guitars to Kill", we are introduced to And So I Watch You From Afar's darker beginnings: compare their self-titled and Gangs (2011) to what they do on All Hail Bright Futures (2013) and Heirs (2015). This first track is also evidence to their unique, on-brand fusion of Math Rock, Post-Rock and Prog elements.

Certainly in the midst of darkness and moodiness, we get glints of light and optimism, as on the next [where we get a lot of brightness], the beautiful and [very-mini-]epic "A Little Bit of Solidarity goes a Long Way". Awesome main riff and compositionally highly appealing and striking. More recognizably Post-Rock in structure on this one: Very big and loud, falling away to a sizeable swelling, emotive section to end things out. Starkly juxtaposed is another that I remember very well from first tom roll, "Clench Fists, Grit Teeth...Go!" This song features stronger Math Rock elements, calling back to The Redneck Manifesto to my ears. Then it's much more inherently themselves, using a recognizable heaviness that will continue on through The Letters EP to Gangs. Anyways, very good song.

"I Capture Castles", ever an interesting title, is also one that just takes me back. The echoing guitar riffs cascade over each other and over rolling drums. This is a big'n; heavy and intense. It's compositionally somewhat static compared to some others and in classic Post-Rock fashion (I'm not really a fan of the genre). One I loved back then; not so much now. "Start a Band" is one that in title and in sound does not ring a bell at all... I started to wonder why [/s], but then nearing minute 2 we have some interest. Cool coalescing riffs, often on the upbeat, over very cool drums.

One that I didn't recognize title-wise, but was very familiar sonically was "Tip of the Hat, Punch in the Face", a very upbeat [to use the word in a different way] song. Fun! And it certainly is holding my attention much more successfully than "I Capture Castles". I should have listened to this one even more back in the day haha. Midway hits and shifts yet again, as if not a lot had already happened here in the first two minutes. Immediately (apparently) just as awesome as the last, "If it ain't Broke... Break It" (har-har) is heavy. Pretty good.

And indeed, we were warned ~13 years ago, because indeed "These Riots are just the Beginning" haha. It starts off low and slow enough, but then builds to a "Hah!", the signature exclamation that things are about to go down. Once again, pretty good. Heavy but fun. If we haven't gotten enough suggestions and council, now it's "Don't Waste Time Doing Things You Hate". As a hedonist myself, I must say it's a great idea. And so, like I'm doing here, listen to albums from your past love and appreciation and enjoy. And indeed, this track has plenty to offer me, all these years later. Some of their earliest vocal parts occur here as well. We get a lot of that on All Hail and Heirs. Great song. Not their most progressive, but again having a lot to offer. Especially those with happy, joyful ears. :)

"The Voiceless" starts off with huge drums, like blasts of artillery shot right into our ears. Another with which I'm less enthusiastic, as we're back into the static of Post-Rockin' territory. And so finally, we have "Eat the City, Eat it Whole". This feels so classic somehow. Very satisfactory melody builds and eventually swells harder than they've gone on the entire release. As I like to put it, welcome to Frisson country... I'm feelin' this one. When it couldn't get any bigger and better, it shifts and morphs and we are in a fast jog. Hurried and then rushed. I don't remember this song being so good. Yet another big'n and therefore an excellent closer.

 Gangs by AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.83 | 83 ratings

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Gangs
And So I Watch You From Afar Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Even though some speculate that we're getting close to an end of another progressive rock era, this notion doesn't seem to come across when looking at all the new talent that we've got rounded up just outside our door. This metaphorical door is meant to represent the comfort zone of an average prog fan since they generally base their opinion of a prog movement based on the regressive prog bands and artists.

Gangs is another one of this year's biggest album surprises but please don't let terms like instrumental math rock deceive you since this is far from an experience that only fans of the genre will enjoy. The music is filled with memorable hooks and melodies while still remaining complex and mathematical.

One thing that might not come across from this album experience is that And So I Watch You From Afar is a magnificent live band. Their live performances of these compositions has more than improved on the sophomore album originals and has pushed my enjoyment of the material even further. I'm not sure if there is really any point of dissecting this release into it's individual compositions and performances since this is really a continuous stream of music that is comprised of pure joy to both the ears and mind.

I really hope that more people would be able to leave their preconceptions of this music outside the door and just give Gangs a go based on nothing more than their passion for discovering new music. Just imagine yourself being a brave explorer on the great sea of undiscovered progressive rock music setting a course for the new frontier. The worst case scenario is that you gain a better understanding of the term math rock!

***** star songs: BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION (5:52) Search:Party:Animal (5:18)

**** star songs: Gang (Starting Never Stopping) (5:26) 7 Billion People All Alive At Once (5:44) Think:Breathe:Destroy (4:43) Homes - Ghost Parlor KA -6 To... (2:46) Homes - ...Samara To Belfast (9:50) Lifeproof (5:05)

Thanks to atavachron for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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