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POST ROCK/MATH ROCK

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Post Rock/Math rock definition

POST-ROCK:

The term post-rock was coined by Simon Reynolds in issue 123 of The Wire (May 1994) to describe a sort of music "using rock instrumentation for non-rock purposes, using guitars as facilitators of timbres and textures rather than riffs and powerchords."

Originally used to describe the music of such bands as Stereolab, Disco Inferno, Seefeel, Bark Psychosis and Pram, it spread out to be frequently used for all sorts of jazz- and Krautrock-influenced, instrumental, electronica-added music made after 1994. Bands from the early 1990s such as Slint, or earlier, such as Talk Talk were influential on this genre. As with many musical genres, the term is arguably inadequate: it is used for the music of Tortoise as well as that of Mogwai, two bands who have very little in common besides the fact that their music is largely instrumental.

The aforementioned Tortoise was among the founders of the movement. After the second Tortoise LP Millions Now Living Will Never Die, the band became a post-rock icon. After Millions... many bands (e.g., Do Make Say Think) began to record, inspired by the "Tortoise-sound" and were often described as post-rock.

In the late nineties, Chicago, Illinois, became the home base of many different groups. John McEntire (of Tortoise) became an important producer for lots of them, as well as Jim O'Rourke (of Brice-Glace, Gastr del Sol and many more). Post-rock began to range from the slow, guitar-based ambience of Boxhead Ensemble to the up-tempo electronica of Stereolab.

Montreal, Quebec band Godspeed You Black Emperor! - later renamed 'Godspeed You! Black Emperor' - brought a political element with anti-globalization movement leanings.

By the early 2000s, the term had started to fall out of favor, while the major artists kept on making high quality recordings. The wide range of styles covered by the term had robbed it of its usefulness almost from the moment it was coined.

Closely related to post-rock is the genre known as Math rock, characterized by more percussive timbres, and more dissonant harmonic gestures.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Post-rock".



MATH ROCK:

Math Rock is a genre that emerged in the late 80's and that was influenced by both the intricacies of progressive and avant-garde rock - King Crimson, Frank Zappa, Henry Cow - and 20th century composers such as Steve Reich and John Cage. The music is characterized by complex structures, angular melodies and constant abrupt changes in tempo and time signature. The name Math Rock is a term that grew out of the Chicago scene and the artists working with engineer Steve Albini in an effort to describe the new style.

The basic building blocks of Math Rock can be traced back to the late 60's and 70's where Progressive Rock artists were making more elaborate compositions than the standard rock bands and were experimenting with song structures. Early Avant-garde groups like Massacre, and artists such as Captain Beefheart and John Zorn were highly influential to Math Rock bands and traces of their music can still be heard throughout the genre. Another big influence to the Math Rock approach was Slint with their album "Spiderland" which showcased many techniques that Math Rock bands will follow in the future. Punk also had significant impact on the sound of Math Rock bands. Other notable influences are: Post-Rock, Heavy Metal, and Jazz.

Although there are Math Rock bands in different countries around the world, most reside in the United States, the Midwest in particular, and tend to be divided by regions: Pittsburgh bands (Don Caballero, Six Horse) Chicago bands (Shellac, U.S. Maple), Ohio bands (Keelhaul, Craw) Louisville bands (June 44, Rodan, The For Carnation, Crain), and San Diego bands (Drive Like Jehu, Tristeza) among others on both coasts. Japan was also an important country in the Math Rock genre with bands like Ruins and Zeni Geva.

POST/MATH ROCK TEAM MEMBERS:
Angelmk (Angel)
Zravkapt (Darryl)
The Truth (Tanner)
Austin (Horizons)
Jason (Second Life Syndrome)

Post Rock/Math rock Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Post Rock/Math rock | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.62 | 33 ratings
CHILDREN OF GOD
Swans
4.32 | 41 ratings
RANDOM AVENGER
Magyar Posse
4.43 | 24 ratings
THE COLLIBRO
Lis Er Stille
4.12 | 444 ratings
ÁGĆTIS BYRJUN
Sigur Rós
4.15 | 154 ratings
ENTER
Russian Circles
4.11 | 418 ratings
LIFT YOUR SKINNY FISTS LIKE ANTENNAS TO HEAVEN
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
4.26 | 34 ratings
SOUNDTRACKS FOR THE BLIND
Swans
4.06 | 321 ratings
F# A# ∞
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
4.24 | 31 ratings
FOR LONG TOMORROW
Toe.
4.22 | 34 ratings
PHANTASIA
Lite
4.35 | 19 ratings
BEAUTIFUL
About Tess
4.07 | 86 ratings
THE SEER
Swans
4.07 | 86 ratings
ONE TIME FOR ALL TIME
65DaysOfStatic
4.05 | 106 ratings
IN A COLD EMBRACE
Battlestations
4.55 | 10 ratings
DREAMS THAT COME A THING (PT I) ...NEVER THOUGHT IT MAY SEEM…
Bosch's With You
4.34 | 15 ratings
HOW LONELY SITS THE CITY
Ascent Of Everest, The
4.14 | 31 ratings
GIVE ME BEAUTY... OR GIVE ME DEATH!
Ef
3.98 | 254 ratings
YANQUI U.X.O.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
4.02 | 80 ratings
AMERICAN DON
Don Caballero
4.36 | 13 ratings
KING NINE
Blueneck

Post Rock/Math rock overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Post Rock/Math rock experts team

I AM YOUR BASTARD WINGS
Eksi Ekso
ACTUAL MUSIC QUARTET RSM
Actual Music Quartet RSM
RECORDING A TAPE THE COLOUR OF THE LIGHT
Bell Orchestre
JINX
Kammerflimmer Kollektief

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Latest Post Rock/Math rock Music Reviews


 Holy Money by SWANS album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.91 | 15 ratings

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Holy Money
Swans Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is the last full album in the Swans dollar sign series. This, just like all the previous albums, is very dirge-like and brutal throughout. It takes you down into the depths of the muddiest swamps of depression and darkness. Early Swans music is known for being the most brutal music out there, and this album is no exception to that. But you also begin to hear a little more experimentation in the music in this album, and you also get a short interlude sung by Jarboe ("You Need Me"), who would from this point forward have more of an influence in the overall sound of the music in the subsequent albums. This acts as a quick break in the otherwise extreme sound of this album.

But in the tracks like "A Hanging" and "Fool #2", you also hear a break away from the constant rhythm that usually would establish itself in previous Swans tracks and would remain mostly unchanging throughout each track. In this album, the rhythm, ground line and guitar follows a repetitive pattern as before, but now the sound will suddenly change mid-track, showing the band's new penchant for exploring sounds and possibilities in their music.

The album still features unrelenting heavy and depressing music and was considered post-punk at the time. At this point though, you will start hearing experimentation into post and math rock, and this works to this albums advantage and at even greater levels in future albums. As for now, most people will still find this music too heavy, but it is better than previous efforts as some variety and experimentation starts to show through. The music is better quality and the band shows interest in exploring new musical avenues. Of all the heavy, industrial sounding post punk albums from Swans, this one is the one I consider the best. This is a good introduction to the earlier discography, if you are inclined to explore this music that lives in the depths of dark human souls. 4 stars.

 Third by PERHAPS album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.49 | 9 ratings

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Third
Perhaps Post Rock/Math rock

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars The latest release from this Boston band. The first two albums were one-song albums but this is divided into separate tracks although sometimes they are segued together. Originally they were an instrumental trio of guitar-bass-drums but have expanded their line-up to include an extra guitarist, keyboardist, vocalist and a saxophone player. Before this album they had toured and recorded an EP with former Can vocalist Damo Suzuki. Their music is a mix of space rock, post/math, fusion and heavy rock. Here the music is very spacey and loose sounding. The lyrics are sometimes hard to make out and sometimes there is just wordless vocals. The production is lo-fi which complements the music well.

"Master Destroyer I" is based around a nine note arpeggio on guitar. The bass is busy but repetitive. Some guitar soloing after halfway. This runs right into "Master Destroyer II" which starts to mellow out a bit with some speed-altered vocals. The guitar playing seems to be more improvised and solo-like. The drumming gets a little looser as some spacey synths appear. Here there is a catchy vocal part you can make out which goes "I can't believe my eyes..." Some rockin' guitar chords at the end.

"Butterfly Mirror" changes things a bit with some jazzy bass playing, harmonized vocals and all kinds of spaciness in the background. A catchy wordless vocal melody towards the end. "Dreamland I" starts in psych-punk territory. Features some boogie-rock guitar soloing. Some riffs which turn into shredding before "Dreamland II" starts with altered talking and echoed sax playing. The guitar soloing is bluesy and the bass is once again in jazz mode. Organ appears towards the end before the vocals get very Mars Volta sounding.

"Donzo's Montreux" has some spacey synth soloing, busy bass, jazzy drums and improvised guitar plucking. A killer guitar solo is joined by another one at the same time! Some start/stop playing over a guitar freak-out leads to the very 'post-rock' sounding finale "Sleepwalker". More laid-back than the rest of the album. Post-punk bass playing with picked guitar playing (mostly arpeggios). Some spacey wordless vocals and cymbals as well. The sax starts soloing as everything builds up but falls away to leave just the bass. Then a noisy crescendo which increases in tempo.

Perhaps the greatest release yet from Perhaps. Their sound has certainly evolved without straying too far from their original sound. Although not completely improvised and structureless, the music here is very loose and free. Very little that could be considered mainstream but at the same time not too experimental or weird. A very good release from 2015. 4 stars.

 He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms by SILVER MT. ZION, A album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.95 | 80 ratings

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He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms
A Silver Mt. Zion Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars While touring with Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Efrim Menuck's dog died, and this was the first step in A Silver Mt. Zion's birth. Efrim wanted to create this sad music and dedicate it to his dog, but the music was too sad and quiet for the typical sound of GY!BE, so, with the help of two other band members, he wrote and created this record as a single album project which ended up turning into his main project after the temporary breakup of GY!BE. Through the years and albums released as ASMZ, there were a few minor name changes and extensions, but the band grew larger and the music became more expansive and at times, experimental.

This first album however, is very sad and quiet with very few vocals. There is a heavy reliance on violin and very little percussion on this album, it is very pensive and reminiscent. Though not a minimalistic album, it definitely moved away from the dynamic and sometimes loud sounds of GY! BE, but retained a lot of the exploration that was present in that band.

Some reviewers consider this album too slow moving, and it is true to some extent. But the music is haunting and beautiful. The use of piano and strings give it a chamber feel, but the occasional use of guitar and a few stronger passages help the listener to have a little foresight into where the sound was going to develop.

"Broken Chord Can Sing a Little" starts off with a lovely piano introduction with a little build and addition of a few other sounds, then in true GYBE fashion, there is a field recording introduced which seems to be a discussion about death and religion. The sound is a bit apocalyptic, which is not really a surprise, but instead of brashness, we get beauty, though there is a degree of harshness here. "Sit in the Middle..." segues from the field recording and starts to build on a repetitive sound, again some build happens, but not to any extent of the usual post rock climax. Repetition is again used in the lovely "Stumble then Rise..." but this time the motif is expanded into variations as the music continues and this improves the song as it goes on. This is an excellent track and very lovely.

On the next track, we get to hear Efrim sing for the first time. At first listen, his voice is a little brash, but that is what you can expect through the discography to come. The nice thing about his voice to me is it's vulnerability which makes this music so believable and organic. It all works well and if you are familiar with the other works by ASMZ, then the appearance of vocals is actually quite welcome. This is a short piece, yet quite nice. "13 Angels..." is the bright light of the album mentioned in the album title, and is a more positive sound, the music at this point and through most of the rest of the album is more developed and not so repetitive. This carries through "Blown Out Joy", the overall quietness of the album persists with a little build here and there, but to me, it never really gets boring, it is thought inspiring and pensive.

The last track is "For Wanda" which is the final cap to the dedication and the final good-bye to his companion. It is a return to the sadness that was present in the first part of the album, but this time it seems like it is acting as a release, a final release to his dog. It might sound somewhat silly to some people, but his heart is definitely in this music and it is quite a moving tribute.

Though not as developed or as well constructed as later albums, this is still an excellent album. Maybe it's not a masterpiece, but if you are looking for sad and emotional music without a lot of rhythm, then this is a great example of that. Reminders of GYBE are scattered throughout the album and foresight into what was to come are also throughout the album, but it definitely isn't lively, just slow and beautiful. Like I said, the composer's heart is in the music and you can't go wrong when that happens.

 Third by PERHAPS album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.49 | 9 ratings

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Third
Perhaps Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is an interesting mix of mathcore, space rock, psychedelia krautrock and avant-prog music. For the most part, the music is very busy and builds a chaotic wall of sound between instruments, lyrics and wordless vocals. The sound is built off of heavy psychedelic guitars that range freely around a moving bass, frantic drumming and heavy synth with some brass added in for that Kayo Dot type feel. Indeed, you can hear some influence of that band and the music also reminds me of early Mercury Rev material also. This music is very experimental, but is by no means ambient. It is usually harsh and heavy, sometimes going way over the top with noise and dissonance.

The album follows this style throughout with only a few breaks in the chaos at the beginning of "Dreamland II" and the lovely "Sleepwalker". This is great neo-psychedelia music, but at times it is weakened by the production, but not enough to be a major issue. The vocals are not very decipherable, but that is what you would expect from this style of music. At times, the vocals can get very chaotic just like the music, and in this way they become part of the entire picture instead of being the centerpiece of the music. In fact, the vocals never really become a centerpiece, but then, neither do any of the sounds or instruments.

This is a pretty good attempt at stretching the boundaries of rock and works well alongside the early music of Mercury Rev. If you appreciate that style of music, then you will love this. I find it a little too chaotic at times and there are too many passages that continue on without any real change for too long. I do admit I enjoy the last 3 tracks better than the rest of the album because there is at least a breakdown of the thick layered sound in those tracks to some extent. This is the saving grace of the music. I have to say that there are sections of the music that I am really impressed with the musicality and the sound, but there are too many places where I just feel buried by the sound. The music is good, but I can't really consider it essential, though I do hear some leanings to much greater explorations in the future. Not bad, but not great either except for some instances. 3 stars.

 Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.79 | 114 ratings

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Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This has to be Mogwai's best output to date in my opinion. Even though I have enjoyed most every thing the band has done, this album is so full of drama, emotion and dynamic beauty that it out does everything else that the band has done so far, and that should be expected from a truly progressive band. While it is true that the album leans somewhat to the alternative side more than other albums, it still keeps it's post rock edge and merges the two sounds quite well. The album is more up beat than a lot of their albums with more fast tempo tracks than normal with a steady beat, hence the feeling of being more straightforward than in the past, but the heavy guitar is still there giving the fans the post rock sound they love and cementing the bands position as post rock leaders. There is very little reliance on the use of post rock formulas of soft-crescendo-climax and more of a rock-oriented feel. There is still the use of electronics as there has been in the most recent albums, but there is also more of a return to post-rock guitar sensibilities without resorting to the predictable formula. It's quite an amazing mix.

Most of the songs are surprisingly upbeat with a consistent tempo. There are a few beautiful slower tracks like "Letters to the Metro" and "Too Raging to Cheers" that are extraordinarily emotional and lovely tracks. It's also quite nice to hear the band not rely on so many mid-tempo tracks here too, but when they do, the sound is not as worn out by the time you get to the end of the album, in fact, you come to the end of the album and want more. By the way, if you get the Japanese version, you get 2 more excellent bonus tracks. There is also a special edition of the album that has a 2nd disc that contains the 23 minute epic track "Music for a Forgotten Future (The Singing Mountain)" which is well worth seeking.

Even with the alternative influence here, this is a very strong album. Some may not consider it progressive because of the more consistent tempos of the songs, but in my opinion, it still stays true to the progressive genre in that it very successfully merges the genres and stays true to the post-rock sound ending up with a better overall album in the end. Most people seem to consider "Happy Music for Happy People" their favorite album and the band's highlight, but, even though I love that album, this one is so much more dramatic and varied, with less reliance on the old predictable formulas. It also contains one of my favorite tracks, the very expressive and progressive piece "Too Raging to Cheers" which I cannot say enough about. What an amazing track...I only wish it was longer. I can't help but give this album less than 5 stars, because in my mind, it is a masterpiece and one that should be considered a high standard for any post-rock band to reach. It's up there with the great post-rock albums including "F#A (infinity)" by GY!BE and "Ágćtis Byrjun" by Sigur Ros. 5 brilliant stars.

 Happy Songs For Happy People by MOGWAI album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.91 | 152 ratings

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Happy Songs For Happy People
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars For the most part, this is a more mellow sounding album, yet with a lot of emotion. There are still a few louder tracks like "Stop Coming to My House" and "Ratts of the Capital" that feature the basic Post-Rock formula of starting out soft and crescendo-ing to a climax and then repeating and these have the louder wall of sound build ups, but the other tracks here are more mellow and keyboard oriented with less guitar lead than before. This makes for an enjoyable album with more variety and dynamic variation than previously and thus makes for a better album. The album can be easily enjoyed as background music or as music to concentrate on and still have a great impact on the listener. There are a few shorter songs, including "Boring Machine Disturbs Sleep" that ventures into experimental territory, but as for the rest of the music, it is quite straightforward and mid-tempo, yet still remains very emotional and meaningful. There are also vocals, but they are heavily processed and mixed deep into the overall sound so that they become almost part of the background to the song, and the lyrics are very undecipherable. But this style of vocalization does not take away from the song and fits the mood well. The music is quite accessible and surprisingly not as repetitive as you would expect. There are a lot of layers of sound present and each listen leaves a lot to be discovered each time you hear it.

The album is close to a 5 star album, but not quite. I don't hear anything that I would call groundbreaking here, but it is still full of variety and dynamism to make it an album that I find it enjoyable each time I hear it. I highly recommend the album for anyone wanting to explore post rock that doesn't necessarily have to follow the same formula to be effective. This is an excellent addition to my music collection and would be to yours also. 4 strong stars.

 After the Winter by HIBERNAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.97 | 11 ratings

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After the Winter
Hibernal Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Back in 2013, I ran into Mark Healy over at progarchives.com. He was busy creating his own unique take on progressive rock: an audio theater experience set against the backdrop of progressive post-rock. Needless to say, "The Machine" floored me. The next year, "Replacements", his second album, made me fall in love even further. And now, after authoring a trilogy of novels, Mark has released his third album, "After the Winter". Does it live up to the rest of his discography?

Mark is a genius. His love for sci-fi, especially Blade Runner, is apparent. Like me, he is fascinated with the idea of sentient androids: the delicate image of human life intertwined with the raw mechanics of a machine. "After the Winter" is no different, though the setting has changed somewhat. Instead of the bustling future city of the first two albums, this record takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting where all humans have eradicated from the earth. The story follows a pair of androids who were created to be carriers for the souls and minds of human beings: a way of safeguarding humanity until the world would be more hospitable. This pair, Brant and Arsha, is searching for the key to rejuvenating their real bodies, obviously with hopes of beginning something new. In the course of events; failed ventures, surprising twists, and emotional moments abound. Mark has certainly done an amazing job of sucking his listeners in once again.

On the music side of things, I find that the tracks are a bit more subdued. In fact, I feel like there are moments with no music at all, and the result is a mixed bag. Sometimes, it heightens the drama, and other times I feel that it creates a vacuum that needs filled. Mark does an awesome job on guitars once again. This time around, I feel like his writing skills and especially his leads are stronger and have more presence. The solos present are extremely good, too. One of the best representations of this is "Worn", a really special track both lyrically and musically. Rowan Salt on bass also does an even better job than last time, as his presence and real impact on the song structures cannot be ignored. Ethereal, satisfying, and familiar, "After the Winter" might be Hibernal's strongest outing on the musical front overall.

There is something, however, that has been nagging me about this album. As good as it is, I just can't seem to like the voice acting for Brant's character done by Brad Everett. One of the hallmarks of the previous two albums was the unique voice cast, especially the main character. They were perfectly directed and just very easy to relate to as I listened. Brad, however, has a very generic slant to his voice that makes me wince. This is too bad, as Arsha's actress, played by Hibernal alumni Faleena Hopkins, is emotionally pungent and spot on with her delivery. Ultimately, Brad's performance has lessened my enjoyment of what is otherwise another perfect entry from Hibernal.

I must mention my love for the two track song "Displacement". Within this track, the greatest mysteries are revealed and possibly the best instrumental appears. In addition, I am in love with the ending of the album (for reasons that will probably wait until a spotlight on The PROG Mind). It is filled with something very different from the last two albums: hope and rejuvenation of spirit. Indeed, "After the Winter" has a different sort of progression and tone, and so I can't wait to see where Mark will take this story next. Cheers, Mark. You have a fan for life.

Originally written for progulator.com

 After the Winter by HIBERNAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.97 | 11 ratings

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After the Winter
Hibernal Post Rock/Math rock

Review by saulman

4 stars As far as I'm aware, Hibernal is unique. What are we listening to here? An album? A play? An audio book? I think the best description I have heard to date is an audio movie. Stick the headphones on, shut your eyes, immerse yourself in sound, and let your mind fill in the visuals. I love it!!

Once again, Mark Healy expands on the world he has created, exploring the complex issues surrounding synthetic humans. Voice actors take you through the story by the use of acting and narration and the whole thing is meshed together by a dark, moody and wonderfully atmospheric soundscape. From the moment you close your eyes, you really do get taken on a journey.

I have no doubt that this is a fledgling genre which will only grow and grow. Perhaps with its roots in Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds and other musical adaptations or various stories, but this use of voice actors and replacing traditional vocals is an excellent and very welcome experience.

Highly recommended.

 How Strange, Innocence by EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY album cover Studio Album, 2000
2.82 | 44 ratings

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How Strange, Innocence
Explosions In The Sky Post Rock/Math rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

2 stars EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY started out under the name Breaker Morant in Austin, TX in 1999 but soon changed their name and wasted no time in releasing their first album HOW STRANGE, INNOCENCE in 2000. Originally only with 300 copies released in the form of CD-Rs, the album has since been remastered and released as a full-fledged album. I have this newer version and it even dons a much prettier album cover of a nice blue landscape with a little edifice and strange looking clouds hovering above.

While i love post-rock, i am quite underwhelmed by this debut. EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY implies some kind of explosive excitement in its band name but there seems to lack any such thing on this debut. In fact this is pretty much post-rock by the numbers and to me sounds like Mogwai light. The album incorporates a lot of the post but seems to leave out the rock on this one unlike their future releases. What we get are some nice and pleasant guitar riffs that play on and on and reach a climax but nothing on this one really satisfies.

This album was released in 2000 well after other post-rock greats like Godspeed! You Black Emperor and Tortoise were doing much more interesting things. If you are a fan of minimalism then you may like this one but i just find it a tad underwhelming. The variety is almost nil and the mood building episodes notorious of post-rock doesn't build many mountains, but considering this music comes from the moderately hilly landscape of central Texas, then i guess it perfectly suits the band's surroundings. A pretty average album in my book. 2.5 rounded down

 Greed by SWANS album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.08 | 14 ratings

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Greed
Swans Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars So after 2 full length albums and several E.P.s, Swans had established themselves as a loud, churning, dark and sludgy industrial punk sound with primitive rhythms and sounds and very hard to understand lyrics. Swans was a big underground hit and the fans knew what to expect, simple, repetitive tunes that made you feel like you were not just in a funeral dirge, but were being dragged behind the procession in the mud face down. Imagine their surprise when they heard the first track on this album "Greed".

Immediately, they knew a something had changed. What is this....a piano? And this sounds like Gira singing, but I can actually understand what he is chanting/singing. With this album, the slow change had started in Swans overall sound. Though it sounded quite drastic on the first track, even though it is still dark and repetitive, the band was ready to explore new ground.

Like I said, the album starts out with the song "Fool", a dissonant and heavy piano leading the way with the guitar providing background sounds, no hammering percussion and there are lyrics that you can understand. Yes they are still depressing and bleak and the vocals are dissonant and heavy, but there is an obvious change. After that, the sound turns back to the industrial slow dirge- like beat that the fans were used to, but the sound is not a full return to the overall sound from before. The lyrics are easier to decipher and the music isn't as unrelenting. The repetition follows throughout the album, but the lyrics are so much more hard hitting now that you can understand them.

There are some new things the band is trying here too. This is the first album to feature vocals from Jarboe, even though she is a background singer on the 2 tracks she sings on. The title track plods on for almost 3 and a half minutes with wordless vocals, more like a moan/gasp sound from Jarboe, before Gira starts to sing. The closest thing to the previous sound is on the track "Heaven" which, even though it isn't as loud as before, it is the slowest grind of the album with Gira doing his groaning/moaning/singing/droning as before. He's singing about "This is Heaven" like he is pissed about being there. Quite frankly, this is the most evil sounding of all of the tracks, but it is also the most progressive. You will get the odd looks if you play this in public, so yes, it is reminiscent of their previous material. The last track on the original album is "Money is Flesh" which uses a synthesizer playing the main riff instead of the guitar, but other than that, it still pounds it's way into your a brain like a sledgehammer.

So, it's repetitive and overall still quite loud and grinding. But there have been some levers inserted into the music and you see a band starting to develop and pull itself out of the muck of their previous punk-ish version of industrial music. The music would continue to develop with each album after this and things would get better. As the band approaches more of a post-punk, mathcore sound, the music slowly gets better until they actually and surprisingly begin to produce some very innovative music. But as far as this album, it's still a long way from where they would end up. But it is interesting to hear where they came from and how they developed. This is better than previous albums, but not by much. I have to give them props though for having the courage to develop their music and their talents. This is progression, but not yet progressive. I will give this 3 stars simply because it is an attempt to try new things for the band. But it's still not easy to listen to too often.

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Post Rock/Math rock bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
*ANCIENTS Multi-National
100 ONCES United States
1099 Norway
12TWELVE Spain
33.3 United States
37500 YENS France
3ND Japan
417.3 Russia
52 COMMERCIAL ROAD United Kingdom
65DAYSOFSTATIC United Kingdom
A. ARMADA United States
ABOUT TESS Japan
ACTARUS Luxembourg
ACTIVITIES OF DUST United States
ACTUAL MUSIC QUARTET RSM Russia
ADEBISI SHANK Ireland
AERIAL Sweden
AESTHESYS Russia
AFFORMANCE Greece
AIUA United States
AL SABO United States
ALBINOBEACH South Africa
THE ALBUM LEAF United States
ALFHEIMR United States
ALL ANGELS GONE France
ALL WILL BE QUIET Finland
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