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BATTLESTATIONS

Post Rock/Math rock • Belgium


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Battlestations biography
BATTLESTATIONS is a new band hailing from Brussels, Belgium. They currently have one album (out June 2011), consisting of material developed between 2009 and 2011.

BATTLESTATIONS play a very eclectic and original music that could be called atmospheric rock for convenience purposes. Space rock sonic-scapes create a playground for ambiental / industrial-ambient explorations, beautiful piano lines, eerie spoken samples or noises, sensible guitar playing that reminds of Robert Fripp and Steve Hackett, and even orchestral/chamber music hints. The moods developed in the process are always warm and melancholic, conveying a particular sense of redeeming aesthetic beauty.

Some of the bands and artists that could be referenced to pin down a few of the music's many facets are PINK FLOYD, FRIPP & ENO, MIKE OLDFIELD, SIGUR ROS, ALCEST, ANATHEMA or early PORCUPINE TREE. Progressive electronic, shoegaze and post-rock are genres touched in passing, but overall BATTLESTATIONS do not sound like any of them and have rather created a category of their own.

Bio by Alex (harmonium.ro)

Battlestations official website

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BATTLESTATIONS discography


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BATTLESTATIONS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 24 ratings
Battlestations
2011
4.07 | 123 ratings
In A Cold Embrace
2012
4.14 | 64 ratings
The Extent of Damage
2015

BATTLESTATIONS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BATTLESTATIONS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

BATTLESTATIONS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BATTLESTATIONS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.21 | 5 ratings
Return / Mr. Abject
2011
4.27 | 9 ratings
The Death Of The Day
2013

BATTLESTATIONS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Extent of Damage by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.14 | 64 ratings

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The Extent of Damage
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Battlestations continue their sad, melancholy, and hauntingly beautiful style of post-rock on this latest album of theirs. Generously made available on a pay-what-you-want basis via their bandcamp, it is structurally extremely similar to their previous albums, with a marked tendency towards longer compositions with one briefer piece rounding things out, but if (like many post-rock bands) Battlestations could be accused of following a formula, at least they seem to have put together a reasonably compelling formula, and the coldly pessimistic atmosphere they evoke beats out even the legendarily mopey Godspeed You Black Emperor! for sheer hopelessness. Those averse to post-rock in general probably won't be won over by it, but those who like a little Silver Mt. Zion in their step would be well-advised to look into this one.
 The Extent of Damage by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.14 | 64 ratings

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The Extent of Damage
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Andy Webb
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars I've had the luxury of being able to follow a particular Belgian post rock outfit, Battlestations, since their inception four years ago now, in 2011. Their first self-titled album, released back in 2011, came to me as a promotional copy and I was skeptical at first. The gloomy, dark art of the album; the misty, ominous aura of the song titles and band origin, and the entire atmosphere of the whole package seemed slightly off as I first peeled off the shrink wrap of their first album. Upon listening, however, I was pleasantly surprised ? this band's music was just as ominous as the album presentation made it seem, but this was a good thing. Battlestations, from the very beginning, have been experts at weaving intricate, ominous, and perfectly atmospheric soundscapes that can put a chill in even the warmest room.

When the band reached out to me to see if I was interested in reviewing their work for the third time, I excitedly accepted. Their third album, The Extent of Damage, seemed as ominous as the first two, and when the package arrived, this assumption was solidified in fact. The album's artwork, titles, and packaging was full of mist and mystery and I could tell, even before sliding the CD into a player, that this album would full of brooding and atmosphere. Boy was I right. The album opens with a slow, lumbering beast of a song - "Necro" - which opens the album slowly and darkly into the atmospheric trip that the album is. This first song paints a very gloomy landscape ? an almost Transylvanian landscape, it seems ? of the location this album takes in the soundscape. The 12-minute opener is a slow and steady beast that builds over its play time, finally crescendoing into an intense, noisy conclusion that can send shivers down the listener's spine.

The entire album seems to follow the cues of the opener. The album's remaining tracks roll over the listener's ears like mist on a foggy morning on a dark, hilly field - the music is dark and insidious, yet beautiful at the same time. It's clear that the artist has put time and care into each and every soundscape as the album moves forward, as every sound and space seems to fit together. While I believe the sound could be a bit more 'full' in its production, as at times I felt as though the sound lacked power where it needed it or was a bit overbearing where it needed to be calm, the entire album was very well put together in its placement of themes and parts.

The album's dark, multivaried nature is likely exemplified by my favorite track of the album, "They Sleep While We Burn." The song, which opens with a creeping, haunting synth rhythm, flows effortlessly into a sweeping soundscape full of drums and synths, painting a voluminous picture of horror and beauty woven into one. The almost industrial nature of the song gives the song a particularly cold atmosphere, but the washes of synths and soundscapes fill out the song's atmosphere with a wintery cool feeling. Personally, I feel as though this song is the absolute best display of the band's prowess in shifting atmospheres and themes, and the band showed an expertise in transitions that has grown immensely since their first two albums.

Overall, this is easily one of the stronger releases from the band. Cold and ominous, the album very much so follows suit with the rest of the band's material, but this album focuses strongly on long, drawn out soundscapes. The band really tried to paint vivid pictures with their music, and throughout the album it's clear that they succeeded in this endeavor. While I wish they perhaps put some more drive in some parts where more bass or rhythmic power could be used, there were very few parts that I thought needed anything extra added. The album, altogether, was phenomenally put together and is an excellent choice for the listener that is a fan of atmospheric music, especially those in the more artistic film scores of dystopian films or of older horror films. I am continually being impressed by this band, and this album is no exception. 4+ stars.

 The Extent of Damage by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.14 | 64 ratings

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The Extent of Damage
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

5 stars A brilliant construction, the latest album from Battlestations finds the band plumbing ever darker and more interesting depths than ever before. The structure is calm, dour, and yet subtly taut, subverting some of the usual post rock cliches in favour of a more unique longform churn. The rock instruments are further joined by electronic sounds and beats at certain points to climactic effect, and features plenty of plaintive strings. It all comes together wonderfully, creating a whole world of beautiful despair for forty five minutes, made so by excellent compositional and production choices and the band's visual aesthetic. It is simply a highly refined chunk of a mood that plays with musical tropes and is altogether an all-encompassing experience worth savouring.
 The Extent of Damage by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.14 | 64 ratings

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The Extent of Damage
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The third album by the Belgian post-rockers BATTLESTATIONS won't let down any of those who have enjoyed their previous albums. - Know what? I wish I hadn't just viewed - partly fast-forward - the video for 'Necro' (12:41), which is for you all to see in a Forum page. Until that I was able to ignore the disturbing imagery of the band, including the arty but deeply depressing b&w photography in the leaflet, while listening to the music. Now it's going to take some time again before the track won't be associated in my mind with the rather disgusting video, which is visually related to "Un Chien Andalou" by Bunuel & Dali, or to the mysterious videotape film in "The Ring" movie. Except that it's much bleaker than either of them and doesn't have equally captivating surrealistic stream of various images and motifs. But I'll try to concentrate to the music now.

The music is sad, slow, abstract, cinematic, and in a way it resembles 20st century orchestral music (a requiem perhaps), only with the possibility to hear the electric rock instruments and drums from the majestic wall of sound. All the preceding reviews are very detailed and some of them take the track-by-track approach. I won't do that, instead I just say that this album can be played as a soundtrack to one's own stream of consciousness, and the 45 minutes can pass in an instant that way.

As said, it's deeply sad and dark, but not disturbingly so. I think a skillful film maker could do a silent film of almost any serious-enough subject and use this music to increase the emotional impact. In other words, I do find beauty in it. One especially effective moment is around the 8th minute of 'The Great Divide', with the arrival of a solid rhythm.

I don't know how they create their music (still the musicians and instruments are left unnamed) and how they themselves feel the world - hopefully not as black & white as their imagery is - but their musical language is genuinely balanced and deep. Music for the mind in the best possible sense. Four stars deserved again.

 The Extent of Damage by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.14 | 64 ratings

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The Extent of Damage
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The band certainly likes their black and white album covers, and like the previous album I feel the album cover doesn't represent the music very well, but that's just me. The album cover is disturbing in my opinion but thankfully it's the music that's important and it's excellent. I do feel this is their best release yet and while I would describe it as melancholic and dark it's far from creepy and disturbing as the cover would suggest. By the way the music on this album is very cinematic and it certainly is enhanced when headphones are in use.

"Necro" opens with a dark atmosphere that seems to hover. It turns fuller and even brightens just before 2 minutes. Sweeping string-like sounds come over the top. It calms right down 4 1/2 minutes in and when it builds it has a surprisingly feel-good vibe to it. Another calm before 8 minutes but this one is more haunting. It's building again 9 1/2 minutes in with outbursts of guitar and sound as the thick atmosphere continues. Percussion sounds come in loudly a minute later then sounds pulse and wash over the dark soundscape.

"The Lies We Share" is dark with guitar expressions and more. The mood changes 2 1/2 minutes in as the atmosphere subsides and eerie sounds dominate before the guitar expressions return. A beat arrives at 4 minutes as does the thick atmosphere. Back to those eerie sounds after 5 1/2 minutes. There's a beauty to the sound here at 6 minutes as we get a soft sound with strings and more. Bass joins in then we get a calm 8 minutes in and it's haunting with eerie sounds again but then that beauty over-takes it all to the end.

"The Great Divide" is dark as various intricate sounds come and go. Waves of atmosphere as well join in, then a disturbing mood arrives after a minute and builds. A calm before 3 1/2 minutes but there's lots of atmosphere. A beat just before 7 minutes as it starts to brighten somewhat to the end. "They Sleep While We Burn" is dark with a rhythm and plenty of atmosphere. This continues on for some time then we get a change after 6 minutes and it turns into that Post-Rock style. Beautiful stuff as it winds down to the end. "The Extent Of Damage" ends it all and I love the waves of sound in this one.

Another fantastic release by this band from Belgium. And yes Post-Rock does seem to fit their style more than any other sub-genre in my opinion even if this is far from being typical Post-Rock.

 The Extent of Damage by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.14 | 64 ratings

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The Extent of Damage
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team

5 stars With The extent of damage, Battlestations have put on display the fact that they have become masters of painting pictures--moving pictures--adventures!--with music.

1. 'Necro' (12:38) The first five minutes of slow, ominous music sounds like a soundtrack to a French mystery film of the 70s or 60s. Then the music shifts into atmospherics and odd eerie background noises and voices until at 6:35 things kick back in with heavier synth washes, lead electric guitar and loud eerie wind/voice noises. At 7:39 everything cuts out again only this time we are presented with some different deeper synth 'voices'. It's like the sounds our imaginations would play upon as we're walking alone through a large wooded cemetery in the middle of the night! At 9:35 you'd think we were just accosted by someone or something jumping out from behind a tree. The ensuing 'battle' or 'flight' does not end well, methinks! At first listen I did not think much of this song, but as I think of it as a soundtrack--and such vivd imagery passes within my consciousness--I am convinced that the band did their work admirably! Scared me through and through! (8/10)

2. 'The Lies We Share' (9:46) the introduction of the VANGELIS-like synth wash minor chord at 3:30 is awesome! Then heavily treated guitar power chords. And the choice of percussion sounds that soon join in are equally great. The chord progression that takes over at 5:55 is absolutely heart-breaking! You've won me over, boys! I am at your mercy! But then you let it fade away at the eight minute mark and then we slowly shift and drift into a more somber, almost sad chord progression--equally gut-wrenching but sad! Amazing song! You have mastered the art of toying with your human listeners! (10/10)

3. 'The Great Divide' (9:27) opens like a sunrise on an empty parking lot. But then at 1:40 the city seems to come to life: cars and traffic trickle onto the streets, begin flowing with early morning rush hour regularity. At 3:10 the view shifts, and we are suddenly looking skyward--at cloud, wind, and air traffic. Is this the last day? The end of life as we know it? The sky view is so ominous and confusing. What are we seeing? 5:10. What? What was that? Is there something to give us hope? Something to give us strength and resolve? Cuz that's what the new key and chord changes are making me feel. Until at 6:38 reality bursts our bubble. It is the end. We are all going to die today. The slow but insidious devastation of the surface of the planet is in progress. We can only watch in total helplessness--we can choose to revel in the glory of the cleansing that Mother Earth is receiving as its parasitic humans are scoured from her skin by the consequences of their own hubris. Awesome journey. Awesome song. (10/10)

4. 'They Sleep While We Burn' (9:33) opens with some industrial sounds creating percussive rhythms upon which other incidentals flit in and out. The first four minutes kind of build, kind of take me nowhere, but then a shift to an unusual (for Battlestations) chord sequence (kind of a Blade Runner theme sequence and sound) brings us to the private home and research offices of Tyrell Corp--oops! Misdirection! At 6:10 we are halted in mid-air turned around to look at a more beautiful version of what is possible--perhaps some of Roy's memories from his off-world adventures--while we are numbly, humbly forced to watch. AT 8:10 a new chord and sound sequence segues us into a remorseful, conciliatory mood. Perhaps we can live in peace and harmony, after all! (9/10)

5. 'The Extent of the Damage' (3:56) feels kind of like a medium for re-entry, re-integration into the normal human life that we were used to before entering the soundscapes of this album. And boy is it appreciated! It's like the walk out of the theater while the credits are rolling--getting used to light, one's body, movement, and negotiating through the 'real' world again. But, What a show!

The key to the stunning success of this album is in the band's growth in engineering/mixing as well as in timing. The mastery of knowing when and where to shift the song's themes and sounds is so difficult to achieve but boy have you guys found it! I love the visual stories I'm sucked into as I listen to these songs! This is exemplary of some of the most magical potential that music contains! The power to transport! Mega kudos, Boys from Bruxelles!

 The Extent of Damage by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.14 | 64 ratings

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The Extent of Damage
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars This is the third full-length album from this instrumental Belgian outfit whose members are unknown. Compared to the first two this one has no vocal samples and almost no crescendos. The music seems more symphonic and the bass playing is less noticeable. Here everything is more 'dark ambient' and less 'post-rock'. Very cinematic sounding and like the first two albums, it sounds like they use electronic percussion sounds only. The album is released on October 8 (2015) and along with my promotional copy received a USB thingy with a video for the first track. Lots of disturbing images to go with the music. Some of it looks like actual footage taken somewhere where people are tortured and experimented on; some of it is certainly actors trying to be scary. Weird.

"Necro" opens the album and is divided into two fragments. A melody on acoustic guitar and tremoloed guitar appears out of a doomy beginning. Things get more atmospheric and symphonic as it goes along, almost hinting at a crescendo but never quite getting there. Everything dies down with a heartbeat-like pulse from electronic beats. A symphonic crescendo appears and dies down then the remainder seems more chaotic. "The Lies We Share" starts out very cinematic sounding. Eventually violins and distorted guitar strums show up and lighten the mood somewhat. Returns to cinematic soundscapes.

"The Great Divide" begins rather noisy and avant-garde before quickly moving into atmospheric sparseness. Electronic pulses and chord changes on guitars eventually lead to another cinematic section. Towards the end an almost hip-hop style beat appears with some symphonic lushness on top; drumkit and guitar soloing join them. "They Sleep While We Burn" begins in an almost industrial sounding way. Turns into an ambient soundscape with a metronomic electronic beat.

Afterwards drumkit joins in and things get more symphonic, eventually turns more cinematic. You hear some muffled talking near the end. The title track is also the shortest but probably the least gloomy and most 'hopeful' sounding. Very atmospheric and symphonic. Overall a really good album which takes a few listens to understand and appreciate. Basically similar to the group's previous music, if you are a fan of dark ambient or post-rock at its most cinematic sounding this may be for you. I will give this 4 stars.

 The Extent of Damage by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.14 | 64 ratings

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The Extent of Damage
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator Symphonic Prog Specialist

5 stars Impressive release

Last week received a promotional copy of BATTLESTATION'S third studio album The Extent of Damage, normally when I see the words Post Rock/Math Rock, I run because most of it is like Sanscrit for me, but being familiar with the work of this Belgium band, was impatient to play it'.And wasn't disappointed at all.

The first thing I noticed was the impeccable presentation, which included not only a booklet with excellent photos reminiscent of Edvard Munch's work that complement the dark mysterious music, but also a bonus memory card with a shocking video that enhances Necro and places the listener in the correct mood for the album.

The album is opened precisely with Necro, a 12 minutes epic that somehow made me think in some passages of Voivode Dracula by KARDA ESTRA, but much more aggressive with emphasis in the atmospheres rather than in orchestration.

This time I won't review each track, because the album is like a musical journey through nostalgia with rich textures and different sonic layers, all surrounded by a dramatic melodic background that has to be listened from start to end in order to make sense.

What I must say is that these guys really know their business, because despite the shocking nature of the music, there's a relaxing substratum that brings relief to an otherwise too distressing album without losing the claustrophobic atmosphere that I enjoyed so much.

I'm not a fan of Post Rock/Math Rock, but and I loved In A Cold Embrace and The Extent of Damage even more, so being an advance from the already brilliant previous record, I have no alternative than to go with 5 solid stars.

I'm sure many listeners will place this release as one of the best albums of the year.

 The Death Of The Day by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2013
4.27 | 9 ratings

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The Death Of The Day
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Battlestations is one of the best post-rock bands I've discovered in the last two years, their two studio albums are wonderful, well crafted, with long songs that caught my attention in every single minute and made me feel a lot of things, that's why I have recommended them to my friends, and that's also why I was happy when I saw they released a new EP. This is a 30-minute EP entitled "The Death of the Day", which contains 3 songs, being the first one the longest, and the one that shows the path of Battlestation's style. Curious to see a band from Belgium making this kind of music, but believe me, they are terrific.

The first one is the longest, covering half the EP's length, its name is "Dawn Of A Forgotten | The Adverse Reaction | There's Only So Much You Can Hear In A Sigh | While We're Still Here | Fractured", a track that I am sure you will easily remember due to its exquisite sound; here the band shows they are no longer beginners, they are musicians that can reach the highest post-rock standards, a band that is not praised as one of the best of the genre, but I dare say they are one of the top nowadays, you can tell it by their compositions, their well- crafted passages, the arrangements they implement in each part, and of course, the emotion needed they bring.

What I love the most (and ironically hate), is that the song finishes sooo quickly in spite its length, meaning I truly enjoy it and want to have more of it. The atmosphere might be somber, but it shows peace and calm, I like how it is divided in passages and how each of them has something to tell, I love the guitar game (both, acoustic and electric) and the soft electronic effects they implement. This song is like a short story divided in 5 fragments, my recommendation is to close your eyes and let the music do the rest, you will be transported to another place, I assure you.

"Scar|Breakdown" is the following track. It starts even more somber than the first one, the ambient might be a bit obscure in the first seconds, but later with the addition of guitars seems there is hope, the light is coming out little by little until the dark days are far behind. The drumming are always on good time, in the right place and right moment, the keyboards nuances let us feel things, feel like we are flying, relaxing our souls and thinking in the future. Every person has a different lecture of the music, it provokes endless things, but with me it really successes due to how well crafted the compositions are, and how the passages and its emotions appear just when they have to.

Finally, "Vise|Release" which is, as you can imagine, the shorter track. In spite of its short six minutes, it is a well composed track in which at first I felt like a robot in space, the tension and nervousness are present here, so hold tight and be prepared for the next. After two minutes new sounds are added, but the tension finishes, now the calm appears. You can now smile, feel free, you can let your spirit fly, you will have a smile on your face and a sense of satisfaction in the final three minutes of this song. This is a great way to finish this wonderful EP.

Since I listened to their two full-length albums I knew I would feel something for this band, now I can say they have touched me a lot, and I consider them to be monsters of the current post-rock scene, they have everything I could ask. This EP is wonderful, almost perfect, though I still prefer their "In A Cold Embrace", I can highly recommend this one, which is free to download, by the way. My final grade will be 4.5 stars, but it will stay at 4.

Enjoy it!

 The Death Of The Day by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2013
4.27 | 9 ratings

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The Death Of The Day
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by pianoman

5 stars The Death Of The Day - (2013) *****

This is the best, the darkest, the most graceful, the most emotional, and even the most complete Battlestations record yet despite it's play time. By taking the best of the sonic textures that made A Cold Embrace so brilliant and condensing them into just under 30 minutes, The Death Of The Day is a masterful EP.

The sound, melody, and texture here does not deviate too far from where In A Cold Embrace left us, but if the previous release was the sound of the apocalypse by day, than this is the sound of the apocalypse by night. While keyboards and other electronics have never been a stranger to Battlestations music in the past, they have never made such a strong appearance as they do in The Death Of The Day. Imagine the pacing and overall feel of Slow Riot For Zero Canada by GY!BE mixed with some of the soundscapes, ambience, and occasional sequencing from Tangerine Dream's Rubycon.

The first track Dawn Of A Forgotten | The Adverse Reaction | There's Only So Much You Can Hear In A Sigh | While We're Still Here | Fractured is, in my opinion the best track the band has created so far. While it is segmented wildly into different sections like the tracks on the debut record, the flow and pacing here is much more mature and done masterfully. Each section reaches an emotional peak that outdoes the previous, a skill that many post rock bands cannot do. The guitar melodies here made the hairs stand up on my arms, and as the track came to it's piano/strings finale, I had to pause the album for a moment of solace; after 13 minutes of darkness and onslaught, Battlestations leaves us with a gleam of melancholic hope.

Scar | Breakdown is a scattered track, like fragments of an old reel of tape. It rolls along in its ambience and drones in the first half over some very nice jazzy brushes on the drums. This track is a wonderful juxtaposition to the first track. While Dawn Of A Forgotten feels like it had a definite destination, Scar | Breakdown feels like it's exploring the war torn landscape in which it was born. The second section Breakdown sounds exactly the way it needs to: the controlled chaos and fragments of the first part disintegrates into this soup of guitars, electronics, bells/chimes, strings, and percussion. The track slowly fizzles out without a definite feeling of closure...but...

Vise | Release gives us the satisfaction. It's the best way a Battlestations album has ended yet. The previous releases felt like they just stopped without a feeling of total completion. Vise | Release is perfectly named: Vise builds ominous tension with so many unsettling textures, volume swells, psychedelic guitars. The sound finally frees the listener from the dissonance and returns to a grand, beautiful strings/guitar melody ("the dust finally settles, the sun finally rises"). It almost feels as if it's the spiritual successor to the ending of the first track, but there is no darkness here, only joy and satisfaction.

In conclusion The Death Of The Day is an extremely fresh addition to the post-rock/electronic genre. This is definitely an exciting release to say the least, and I cannot wait to hear what the minds behind this band create next.

***** tracks: The first track Dawn Of A Forgotten | The Adverse Reaction | There's Only So Much You Can Hear In A Sigh | While We're Still Here | Fractured, Vise | Release

**** tracks: Scar | Breakdown

Thanks to harmonium.ro for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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