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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.

Current team members:
as at 1/3/2020

Luca (octopus-4)
Keishiro (DamoXt7942)

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

4.31 | 84 ratings
RANDOM AVENGER
Magyar Posse
4.28 | 100 ratings
CHILDREN OF GOD
Swans
4.13 | 589 ratings
LIFT YOUR SKINNY FISTS LIKE ANTENNAS TO HEAVEN
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
4.79 | 10 ratings
ATLAS
American Dollar, The
4.12 | 568 ratings
ÁGĆTIS BYRJUN
Sigur Rós
4.43 | 20 ratings
SILENCIA
Hammock
4.09 | 419 ratings
F# A# ∞
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
4.13 | 84 ratings
SOUNDTRACKS FOR THE BLIND
Swans
4.76 | 8 ratings
SMALL YEARS
Ana Never
4.07 | 195 ratings
ENTER
Russian Circles
4.06 | 268 ratings
SHADOWS OF THE SUN
Ulver
4.33 | 18 ratings
PIEONEAR
Silence Kit
4.24 | 24 ratings
HOW LONELY SITS THE CITY
Ascent Of Everest, The
4.06 | 111 ratings
ONE TIME FOR ALL TIME
65DaysOfStatic
4.11 | 48 ratings
VIXIT
Battlestations
4.02 | 156 ratings
BERGTATT - ET EEVENTYR I 5 CAPITLER
Ulver
4.05 | 88 ratings
THE EXTENT OF DAMAGE
Battlestations
4.09 | 50 ratings
PHANTASIA
Lite
4.50 | 9 ratings
NEW LEVELS NEW DEVILS
Polyphia
4.45 | 10 ratings
LABRADFORD
Labradford

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
IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS
Tenebre
TREE, SWALLOW, HOUSES
Maps & Atlases
WIDOW
Day For Airstrikes

Latest Post Rock/Math rock Music Reviews


 How Do We Want To Live? by LONG DISTANCE CALLING album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 37 ratings

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How Do We Want To Live?
Long Distance Calling Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Devolvator

5 stars It is still gloomy, aspiring and powerful! In spite of very slight softening of the sound, the listeners still have the same incredible Long Distance Calling as 10 years ago. Everything is in the best canons, well, almost everything. The auxiliary two-part composition is very reminiscent of the refined early Porcupine Tree of the "Up The Downstairs" era with its long "walking" rhythms and monotonous urban guitar chords. The strings are still "crunchy minor", and this has been unchanged since the beginning of the band's existence. Hazard with her sci-fi color and changing tempo. Immunity is the most impressive thing on the album as reflects both the characteristic scale and the classic "acceleration uphill" for the band, seasoned with hopelessly depressive syncopations and repetitive riffs. In general, we have an excellent recording, not inferior to the previous opuses of the group, if not for one thing. The disc is very much reminiscent of the Porcupine Tree of the early 90s: the albums "Up the Downstairs" and "Sky Moves Sideways". Feeling like you've heard it all before. But this is not a flaw in the album, but rather a direct reference to the legislators of the genre. It's just that until today, Long Distance Calling had a more unique vector. Now they have maximized and modernized the style set by the records that existed long before LDC. This can hardly be considered an omission, perhaps a kind of suppression of the lack of fresh ideas by the resurrection of old traditions. Moreover, the recording material is still at its best.
 Metempsychosis by HUBRIS. album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.39 | 3 ratings

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Metempsychosis
hubris. Post Rock/Math rock

Review by nick_h_nz

4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

One of the best things about following a label is being introduced to new bands. Metempsychosis is not the first album hubris. have released, but it is the first I have heard ? and I'd likely never have heard it were it not released on Art As Catharsis. That was its first tick of my boxes. The second was the gorgeous cover art, the third was the track titles, as I've always loved classical history and mythology. So I've not even listened to a single note of the music, and I'm already in a terrific state of mind.

The first hurdle is to find out just what "metempsychosis" is. Turns out it's a term from Ancient Greek philosophy, referring to the transmigration of the soul, especially its reincarnation after death, first coined in the set of religious beliefs and practices known as 'Orphism' (after its legendary founder, Orpheus). In a way, then, it's interesting that hubris. have not given us a piece under that name.

Instead, we begin with Hepius, which may seem an oddity, but so wonderfully sequenced is this album that I am in no doubt it is deliberate. Hepius is a hero who became a god of medicine, better known by his later name of Asclepius. The twin snake-entwined staff of Asclepius remains a symbol of medicine today. In these days of the novel coronavirus, Hepius would be a handy person to have around!

In one of many links to other tracks (by name, if not always by music), Hepius/Asclepius was tutored by the centaur Chiron (Dionysus and Heracles were also tutored by Chiron, and Heracles ultimately was responsible for Chiron's death). I can't help but imagine the introductory beat to be Chiron's hooves, as the music magically rises over it. The music is as peaceful and relaxing as you might expect from a healer, and continues to quietly build in power ? just as Asclepius did.

Indeed, Asclepius became so proficient as a healer that he surpassed his father, the god Apollo. Ultimately he was able to evade death for himself and others, and also to bring the dead back to life. This wasn't as great a thing as it might seem, as suddenly there was a huge influx of people, and Zeus resorted to killing Asclepius to restore balance. In my mind, this killing blow takes part approximately five and a half minutes into the track, and after this crescendo, we return to the initial calm to see out the track.

Next up is Dionysus, and just as Asclepius had his staff, so too did Dionysus ? although his was of fennel, wrapped in vine leaves. Dionysus is a much more upbeat number than Hepius, as I guess you might expect from a god of revelry. It's almost disco-like for the first two minutes, before the first of several changes, and I can't help but think this is a reference to the Mysteries of Dionysus (if we head back to Orphism for a moment, Orphics revered Dionysus, and it was Orpheus who was said to have invented the Mysteries of Dionysus ? rituals using dance, music and alcohol, to remove inhibitions and social constraints. Certainly the music here encourages the body to dance ? or at the very least, the toes to tap).

Similar to Hepius, there is a dramatic change in intensity about halfway through Dionysus, and just as in Hepius, in my mind, this is down to Zeus, for just as Asclepius was first known as Hepius, Dionysus was first known as Zagreus ? although a key difference is that Hepius and Asclepius were the same incarnation, while Zagreus was the previous incarnation of Dionysus. Zagreus was the product of one of Zeus's many infidelities, and as usual Hera wasn't too happy. She was responsible for his demise, and Zeus retaliated in a fury.

And then we're back to Apollo, because just as he was the father of Hepius/Asclepius, he was responsible for the reincarnation of Zagreus as Dionysus. After the fury, we have the calm, because as much as Dionysus has been characterised as a god of drunkenness in the post-Classical era, contemporaneously Dionysus was associated with only a moderate consumption of wine, which could ease suffering and bring joy. Even the "divine madness" of the Mysteries of Dionysus are quite distinct from drunkenness.

Now, I realise that I could be entirely wrong in my imaginings of what the music symbolises, but such is the power of instrumental music that imagery can be quite clear in a listener's ear, even when it is not that which was intended. I have often believed that instrumental concept albums can convey a story far better than one with vocals. Rivendel's recent Sisyfos album is another with a classical concept where I was able to easily envisage the story being told, even though there were no vocals. I was amazed by Rivendel's accomplishment, and hubris. have provoked a similar reaction. I honestly do wonder how much difference it makes to listen to these pieces of music, fitting knowledge to the music, than if one knows nothing of the mythology?

I also wonder how I can be writing what is probably my most wordy review yet for an album largely without words. I would apologise, but all who were bored would have given up long ago, so I can only assume if you've read this far, you're finding my wittering at least vaguely interesting. Or perhaps, you are no longer the same incarnation you were when you began?

Adonis is next, another classical being who visited the Underworld and survived. Raised by Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, once he reached adulthood he spent one-third of each year in the Underworld. This track is the most laid-back yet, and as dreamy as one might expect from the McDreamy of the ancient world (sorry, my wife watches Grey's Anatomy, and I guess I can't help but absorb some of the references). Well, at least until the gruesome death, as Adonis is gored by a wild boar. After this suitably dramatic and heavy section, we are left with two minutes of melancholy, as the tears of Aphrodite mix with the blood of Adonis, leaving us the beauty of the anemone flower.

Boars quite often feature in classical mythology. Our friend from the first track, Asclepius was among those who took part in the Calydonian Boar hunt. The brother of Heracles, Iphicles, also took part. Heracles, of course, vanquished a boar of his own ? the Erymanthian Boar.

But before we get to Heracles, we have Icarus and Dedalus. Icarus is the only track on Metempsychosis to have vocals, though they are spoken, not sung, as the tale of Icarus and Dedalus is narrated. It's so well known that I don't think I need to retell it, however it is worth noting that Icarus' father warns him first of complacency (flying too low), and then of hubris (flying too high). I love the way the calmly narrated story matches the ambient nature of the music, each somewhat expressionless and monotonous yet beautiful.

When Icarus segues into Dedalus, it's one of the most beautiful moments of the album. The music of Dedalus chops and changes like the pathways of his labyrinth, and provides one of the most breathtaking pieces on the album. A definite highlight, even though I'm not totally sure how the story of Icarus and Dedalus fits into the overall arc of metempsychosis. For my own peace of mind, the jigsaw piece that fits them together is that it was Heracles who erected a tomb for Icarus, and Heracles who killed the Cretan Bull (father of the Minotaur).

And this is where I feel, even if it is only by my own inference, that the sequencing is amazing. Not only does every track lead perfectly into the next musically, so that the album is one whole listening experience, so does everything in terms of the classical figures the tracks are named after. Just as Asclepius held a staff entwined by two snakes, and started us on our journey, we end it with Heracles, who when he was just eight months old killed two snakes ? strangling one in each hand (the two snakes were sent by Hera to kill Heracles and Iphicles because, once again, Zeus had been up to his usual naughtiness).

As per the Bandcamp page for the album, Heracles "is divided into twelve parts alluding to both Heracles' labours and the different stages of his life, the last two being musical illustrations of his rise to Mount Olympus and his place among the gods until the end of times." This is clever in itself, as Heracles was originally given only ten tasks, and it was the additional two which not only saw him granted the immortality Asclepius was denied but also saw him have to visit the Underworld to do so. In so many ways, Heracles completes a circle for Metempsychosis (the album), just as life and death are a circle in metempsychosis (the theory). It's a glorious way to end the album, but it's not really an end, because you can go straight back to the start, and play it again?

I realise I've said less about the music than the figures named by the track titles, but that's how vivid a story the music portrays for me. hubris. remind me at times of Long Distance and Sigur Rós (both bands I love), but they paint far more colourful pictures. The artwork for Metempsychosis doesn't lie, and I can't help but close my eyes and envisage the stories I studied at school to an entirely modern soundtrack. If you're not such a classical fan as me, your experience may vary ? but I'm sure it would be impossible not to recognise the beauty of the music.

 Task by ELIZABETH THE LAST album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Task
Elizabeth The Last Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Steve Conrad

— First review of this album —
3 stars Dark Doom-filled Wrath

Gargantuan Explorations in Somber Moods

ELIZABETH the last is a German trio consisting of André Krispin - Guitar, Benjamin Oppermann - Bass, and Arnd Finke - Drums, Percussion, Piano, Synthesizer.

They've apparently been a going concern at least since 2012, when they released their debut album, then months later, an improvisational EP. ELIZABETH the last went silent then until 2018, possibly changing their bassist to the current dude Benjamin (but it's not clear who he replaced), when they released their eponymous longplay album.

Many Mysteries

I'm not sure why some bands prefer to stay hidden in the shadows, putting the reviewer in the position of hounding them for answers- or just choosing to go with what we can ferret out- which in itself is an expenditure of time that seems unnecessary.

There IS some information about this band, and some I'll just have to guess.

Tracks

The titles are suggestive of...something. Is there a theme? Not sure- this album is all instrumental, and not having heard previous albums, I can't say what the vocals did or didn't add.

Here we have five titles, most in English and one in German. Images provided in music videos and group photos seem to suggest heavy labor and agrarian life.

The Sound

Massive. Dark. Sometimes ponderous and eerie. Sometimes heavy and doom-y. Sometimes galloping then subsiding and chiming. Discordant guitar chords sometimes in the upper registers. Punchy, deep bass. Outstanding, sensitive and authoritative drumming.

The 'post-rock' world seems to prefer lots of repetition with some minor variations and minimal musical progression, and ELIZABETH the last appears to draw from this subgenre as well as the sludgy, doom-y metal well of sound too.

The band shows skill, they appear to play well together, and there is some variation in feel and texture. For me, it became tiresome, but those who love these styles may well appreciate it.

To Sum Up

There are parts I like a lot- sometimes the crushing, monster-gallop captivated me. Other parts I could do without, and I'm getting more sure than ever that those seemingly endless repetitions don't do much for me, however much they seem to speak to others.

My rating: Three crushing craters- "good, but non-essential".

 How Do We Want To Live? by LONG DISTANCE CALLING album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 37 ratings

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How Do We Want To Live?
Long Distance Calling Post Rock/Math rock

Review by nick_h_nz

4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

Some genres are quite narrow in scope, while some are so wide as to almost be boundless. Post rock veers more towards the latter, with a huge variation of sounds and styles being ascribed the tag. And yet, take almost any band described as post rock and they will be seemingly playing within their own boundaries. Long Distance Calling, however, seem to take on a different aspect of the post rock expanse for each subsequent release. Each of their albums has been quite different, and in that respect they are possibly one of the most progressive of post rock bands. For their seventh studio album in the fourteen years since their first release, Long Distance Calling look to the past and the future simultaneously.

I love the cover art, which evokes sci-fi paperbacks of years gone by, expounding theories of years to come (and some, like Back to the Future, which have now gone, without ever being as they were dreamed). It's the perfect cover art for an album that looks at humankind's perpetual curiosity about what the future might hold, and in particular the role Artificial Intelligence might play in it. Indeed, the opening pair of tracks are entitled Curiosity, and they provide an absolutely terrific introduction. I'm not entirely sure why they are presented as two tracks, as they really are one piece, with the first part being the introduction and the second the exposition. Even within this breakdown, the introduction of the first part bleeds into the second part for at least half a minute, before the main piece explodes into being. By the end of the second part, it is a reprisal of the first ? further giving the impression (to me) that this would have been better served as one single track. But it's no criticism, so much as an observation. Ultimately, when you are listening, there is no distinction between parts.

Hazard starts strongly, with delicate guitar played over powerful drumming. It's probably the most straightforward post rock song on the album, which makes it a strange choice of single to me, as it is least reflective of the prowess of the band. Like the opening pair of tracks, the use of voice samples is terrifically effective, my favourite moment in the track being when those samples stop, and the guitars simply soar and roar. The rhythm section is thunderous, with the bass rumbling, and the drums echoing. The song as a whole doesn't do a lot for me compared with others on the album, but those final minutes are an absolute joy to listen to.

Voices begins with an electronic beat and melody, reminiscent of Depeche Mode, and similarly moody. This is the song most people are likely to have come across, as it was released as a single with a quite explicit video of the sexual relationship between a man and his life-like Artificial Intelligence companion. I love the drums here, they propel it along for the first half before the guitars join in. The drums hold a commanding presence throughout this album, and Long Distance Calling's discography in general. This makes their rare absence even more noticeable than it would be otherwise, and their return more welcome. That said, it is the interplay of all the instruments that creates the magic of Long Distance Calling. They make everything sound effortless and fluid, and the last minute of this song, when they are all going for it, is amazing.

Despite its short length, Fail/Opportunity is a real beaut, with an almost jazzy trip hop vibe to the beat. Caught somewhere between ambient and orchestral, while maintaining its post rock cred, the piece provides a perfect preface to the following Immunity. Does it relate to our opportunity to react to the present pandemic sweeping the globe, and the failure of many countries to do so, or to do so quickly enough? Is Immunity even about that present pandemic? I don't actually know, and yet it ebbs and flows like the waves of the virus. Building with increasing menace, falling away, only to build again but stronger, harder, faster.

After the bombast of Immunity, the tinkling keys that introduce Sharing Thoughts are almost inaudible ? but turn the volume up at your peril, for you will know about it when the track kicks in. I love the groove of the bass in this piece, and the resonance of the drums. They almost have the gated sound of '80s Phil Collins. Once again, the inclusion of strings is a gorgeous addition to what is already a standout. This is probably my favourite track on the album.

And if Sharing Thoughts doesn't evoke the '80s for you, then surely Beyond Your Limits will, with the first appearance of vocals (rather than voice samples) on the album. I've never heard of Eric A Pulverich outside this album, but he has a voice which is, to me, reminiscent of '80s yacht and hair rock. The drums again have an '80s sound at times, even more Phil Collins than in Sharing Thoughts. I'll be honest, though. I've nearly always preferred the instrumental side of Long Distance Calling. While they have had some terrific vocal performances throughout their albums (and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Trips, which is probably their most vocal-heavy album), the attraction has always been the instrumental prowess of the band. So, this is probably my least favourite track on the album.

On the other hand, I love True/Negative, and its almost industrial nature. The drums have a definite industrial feel, that wouldn't be at all out of place in a band of that genre. True/Negative is a short interlude like Fail/Opportunity before it, and pairs neatly with the following track, as Fail/Opportunity did with Immunity. However, before Ashes begins, there is a brief introductory voice sample. This is, for me, the first time the voice sample is not particularly effective, as it disrupts the flow from True/Negative to Ashes. I'd have liked the voice sample to have come in later, after the introductory notes, rather than before ? or even at the very end of the song, to be the final thing we hear. But ultimately, within the entirety of the album, this is my only criticism, and it's a small one.

Ashes is an absolutely amazing way to end the album ? as perfect a closer as Curiosity (parts one and two) were as openers. Ashes is as dark and menacing and chilling as you could expect it to be when it's opened by a speech equating the human race to a virus. And there I was wondering if Immunity was about a novel virus, when it seems it was likely about a virus as old as humanity itself. In fact, humanity itself. Curiosity is a real bastard?.

 A Problem for Another Time / Healing Knives by DARK THIRD, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2020
4.00 | 1 ratings

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A Problem for Another Time / Healing Knives
The Dark Third Post Rock/Math rock

Review by nick_h_nz

— First review of this album —
4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

2020 has been a strange one for music. Release dates have been moved back, and back some more. Gigs to celebrate those releases have happened months afterwards, or not at all. And there has been an extraordinary amount of older material released or reworked. While a lot of people are aware that bands and artists are often not able to play live, I think they expect them to spend the time when not gigging recording new material. What this doesn't take into account is that if there is no money coming in from performing, there is no money for recording either. (The trickle down means that studios and producers, etc. are also suffering, but their plight is less visible.) It's no wonder, then, that musicians are digging into their back catalogue.

One such release is the recent single from The Dark Third ? billed as a double A-side companion to their album, Even As the Light Grows. That album came out in 2018, so I guess were it not for the strange times we find ourselves in, we might not have heard these two songs at all ? and that would be a great shame, as they are both interesting and enjoyable. There is still promise of new The Dark Third material, but in the meantime these two unexpected songs more than suffice.

With a name like The Dark Third, the first thing to come to mind for many will be Pure Reason Revolution, and although there is some of that modern prog sound in the music of The Dark Third, they are far from the first comparisons I would make. Rather, I am reminded more of bands such as Anathema or Alcest, or fellow Kiwis Mice on Stilts. I also find The Dark Third's sound quite reminiscent of Sunny Day Real Estate, and also that band's brief reign as The Fire Theft. On their Bandcamp page, The Dark Third recommends Mice on Stilts and Astronoid, and describes both as being big inspirations for their music. I've not actually heard any Astronoid, so I may have to rectify that, but obviously I agree with Mice on Stilts. The band's other recommendation is Kayo Dot, and though I'd not considered that, and though they are not described as being an inspiration, I can definitely hear some of that collective in The Dark Third, too.

I have always thought that the artwork for Even As the Light Grows is a great depiction of the band's sound. It's immense, jagged and icy, and has many peaks. The Dark Third excel in atmospheric soundscapes, often full of aggression, and with rich crescendos. As for immense, the two longest tracks on the album (both over ten minutes) certainly fit that bill. Despite coming from the North Island of New Zealand, the cover art evokes to me the Southern Alps of the South Island, the snowy peaks of which featured memorably in the Lord of the Rings films. That epic feel fits much of The Dark Third's music ? even in their shorter pieces.

But let's not dwell on the past, so much as the new songs (which actually come from that same past). The first track, A Problem for Another Time, begins with some absolutely gorgeous guitar, and a nifty bass undertone. Thea Doyle's drums, as ever, are a delight. I loved her drums on Even As the Light Grows, and I love them here, too. I get the impression that The Dark Third is whoever Daniel Hay happens to have with him at any one time, but I do hope that whatever comes next from the band does include Thea. This song is perhaps the most emo (in the original Sunny Day Real Estate vein, rather than what that term has come to mean in more recent years) I have heard from The Dark Third. It's an absolute blast.

At almost twice the length of A Problem for Another Time, Healing Knives has plenty of time to impress, and that it does. The second half is infinitely better than the first, and it just blows me away every time it hits. And it hits with a lot of force! Initially I thought I preferred Problem to Knives. It is certainly more immediate, and more immediately appealing. But Knives definitely has a way of sinking into the skin, and cuts deep. It is now easily my favourite of the two. Just, Wow! The saxophone and violin, performed by Alika Wells and Grace McKenzie, provided some delightful accents to the main collective on Even As the Light Grows, which I thought I might miss on this year's release, but I can safely say my worries were unfounded. There's more than enough going on with just the four musicians on these two tracks to need further ornamentation.

The two songs were written around the time of the album, but recorded afterward. I think I can see why they were not recorded for the album, but that doesn't mean they are lesser songs. I'm not sure that they would really have fitted within the overall sound of Even As the Light Grows, but they are just as impressive in their own right. It is definitely fitting to call this release a companion piece, then. And, two years on, hopefully these two songs might bring renewed interest in an album that could easily have been overlooked two years ago. In fact, I'm going to go back and listen to it myself now, and I can highly recommend you do so, too! As good as these two songs are, and as great as a companion piece to Even As the Light Grows as this release is, the album in all its glory is hard to beat. Check out the opening epic, The Dreams of Lesser Men, and see if it doesn't suck you in?.

 Housefly by BANGLADEAFY album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2020
4.86 | 2 ratings

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Housefly
Bangladeafy Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars Have you got a little bit of cooped up energy that needs to be let loose? Then you need to check out this album. You'll come out the other side of it feeling like you have just survived a major wind storm, messed up hair and all. Wow, what a powerful blast of energy and crazy music!

The band Bangladeafy cites both Nine Inch Nails and Skinny Puppy as a few of their influences. Well, if you take the wildest tracks from both of those artists and then condense them down into a small soup can, the power you'll receive from the blast of energy that comes out when you pop open that can will probably come close to explaining what this album is like.

It is condensed, for sure, down to less than twenty minutes, which is spread out among 13 tracks, the longest one being the last one at 2:48. But, be ready, because the power of a full 50 minute album is smooshed into those few minutes. As the album begins with a deceptively melodic and smooth "Theme from Housefly" and then suddenly moves into the noisy and chaotic "Bloom", you'll be introduced to some of the wildest industrial noise art prog rock that you've heard this year. With the growling, grungy vocals of Jon Ehlert occasionally accompanying his innovative synth and the creative and talented drumming of mad man Arif Haq, this noisy, yet extremely sequence of short, yet completely fulfilling suite of tracks will take you by pleasant surprise.

However, the overall experience is not just a wall of noise. There is so much to hear in this album that each time you put it on, you'll hear riffs and melodies that you missed before, each time the music/noise will bring new and exciting discoveries. There are short interlude style sections that quite effectively tie everything together brilliantly. In fact, the tracks are tied all together, and, unless you are paying attention, you might think of it all as one long, progressive track. That's another beauty of this album, you can listen to it both ways: as a set of short compositions, or as one 17 minute long work. Either way, it is quite an experience.

The main highlight in my opinion is the combination of the tracks "Shortcuts/Third Instar/Lifeforms/Pupa/Tar" as the tracks flow seamlessly from one style/section to another. Also, the final track "Youthanor" should not be missed as it is the final kicker for the album that actually takes time at the end to cool things down as the synth fades off into the infinite abyss and you float along with it catching your breath.

If you don't like noisy, experimental, industrial style prog, this might not be for you. But, I consider it one of the best albums I've heard in 2020, and you don't have a whole lot to lose if you decide to give it a try, only 17 minutes of your life. I understand that not everyone will like it, but you should at least give it a try. Those that appreciate noisy industrial prog will definitely appreciate this, but I think it will also appeal to others. If you appreciate great talent, the synth riffs and the drumming technique here should not be missed.

This little album just might be the kick you need to help get you through any future lock downs.

 Horte by HORTE album cover Studio Album, 2017
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Horte
Horte Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

— First review of this album —
5 stars This eponymous album veiled in a beautiful and mysterious sleeve was launched in 2017 via Svart Records by a Finnish Post rock outfit HORTE. My first HORTE was their second creation "Horte II" released in 2018 for Roadburn Festival 2018, that I'm completely immersed in because of their deeply fuzzy, heavily distorted, but mystically beautiful soundscape. There is definitely a considerable gap between loud, aggressive rhythmic basis and sensitive, fragile melody lines plus disappearing breath of voices, and we should get absorbed momentarily in this gap, which can be heard apparently also in their first album. Such a sound fantasia might be in the same vein of Godspeed You! Black Emperor or so. In any case, nothing but the word "noble" can be spoken off through my mouth.

And Side A: The first "Sekvenssi" is quite typical. The first part gets started with quiet atmosphere, and suddenly fulminant sound dissection attacks us. The melodic streams are pretty delicate and acoustic, regardless of extreme, excessive playing by the drums and bass. The core of sound is heavy and depressive, but actually we could lean upon their mellow melodic breeze. Simple lines go ahead for our relaxation. Fascinating voices and dissonant bass rumblin' are crazy addictive in the following "Taajuus", a short track full of slowtempo, acceptable musical texture. On the contrary, in "Viimeinen Linja" we can enjoy heartwarming sound dreams with brilliant psychedelic synthesizer-oriented seasoning under good mood and tempo. A pleasure really. "Konttaa, Ne Konttaa" leaning towards the following ep is a slender ambience and simultaneously a bridge over a tune river with a quiet but swift current, to the next step (and my favourite) "Helmi", another simple but vast nature of psychedelic / post rock. Yes simple, very simple indeed, but repetitive sticky hearty phrases based upon melting voices completely ring our bells.

Turning to Side B: "78" is, contrary to the persistent last track upon the backside, a superb speedy space rock filled with power and magnificence. "9" featuring echoic sensual voices sounds like a long earthquake of dissonance. Delightful beautiful graceful melody lines along with steady drumming footprints in "Koko Kalmo Pakassa" is the representative flavourful track of HORTE themselves. Not complicated nor polyrhythmic at all but quite emotional, inspirational. In the last treasure box "Saatto" are full of their splendid sound diversity especially mellowness, deepness, distortion, and unification of all essence. Wondering why they could shoot such an energetic, delightful, and evocative creation. The debut album has climbed the mountain top up, let me say.

 Morula by PICTURES FROM NADIRA album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Morula
Pictures From Nadira Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

— First review of this album —
4 stars A German Post-rock combo PICTURES FROM NADIRA has launched their second creation "Morula" in 2020 via Fluttery Records. Curious what intention they would show upon this album, but sounds like their latest opus has more of cool heavy rock and more of grunge like 90s Seattle-oriented great outfits like Pearl Jam or Alice In Chains. We can feel their melodic development via this stuff. Not simply catchy nor acceptable but also powerful and intensive their soundscape has got, let me say. The 33 minute biographical sketch of theirs gives us refined, strict heaviness.

The first "Odessa" is a supershot filled with Soundgarden-y heavy sticky grungey atmosphere. Explosive deep soundflow created by the rhythm section is very hard but simultaneously heartwarming, especially upon rich melodiousness. Psychedelic guitar theatre in the middle part is also hallucinogenic and comfortable. This track has a definite symbolic meaning above mentioned. The following andante "Katatura" is another good piece. Massive steadiness all through the song should relax us. The last sound magnification drives us into madness.

The former part of "Adatom" is veiled in slow tempo ambient psychedelia that notifies us upcoming metallic improvement. Not so weird nor eccentric but intriguing and energetic. The first part of the last suite "Messn I" is full of enthusiasm of repetition. Sounds like the topnote of grand vin. Slow, smooth authentic flavour of "Miku" the middle paragraph is kinda stabilizer. The last moment "Messin II" is drenched in extraordinary, bombastic creativity to kick us away out of this dimension.

Their 33 minute fantasy is beyond expression.

 Nadira by PICTURES FROM NADIRA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Nadira
Pictures From Nadira Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

— First review of this album —
4 stars Another fantastic debut shot from Munich, Germany. PICTURES FROM NADIRA were founded as a promising post-rock quartet for launching deeply heavy, shoegaze, addictive sound bombs. Their first album "Nadira" has definitely not only dissonance but also extraordinary precision via their distorted instrumental vibes and psychedelic intermediators, and obviously absorbs the audience into the sea bottom. From the very beginning of the titled track, we should be immersed in such a crazy hallucinogenic topnote. Incredible harmonized attacks are quite tempting. "Kawenzmann" is more and more slowtempo, alluring sound hunter for us. The following "Denebula" featuring repetitive phrases of comfort by electropsych guitars reminds us of something like Des Rallizes Denudes, one of Japanese Psych Giants. Smooth melodic texture is cool and charming. Brilliant but complicated guitar ensemble in "Riji al Awa" has mysterious attractiveness (or magic) in the entire album drenched in tranquil atmosphere. The last longest entertainment "Nautilus" possesses colourful, diverse sound solutions - long tone noises, metallic experiments, atmospheric movements, or so ... sounds like they would squeeze all of their musical essence into this song.

In conclusion, cannot deny this album is not so innovative nor creative but their strong intention for post rock should be appreciated. Cheers for wonderful soundscape and well-created debut opus.

 Central Belters by MOGWAI album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
3.87 | 6 ratings

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Central Belters
Mogwai Post Rock/Math rock

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars If you don't have any Mogwai albums, don't want to take just a short compilation and simultaneously want to collect rarities, this is the 3-CD release to go for. You have mostly lighter laid back tracks. sometimes compensated by intensive numbers like "We're no here" or "Batcat". The absence of vocals helps focus on the atmosphere. What may be surprising is quite a good proficiency and use of keyboards, preferably piano that is usually secondary on post-rock albums. Also, Mogwai aren't content to just play a song and that's it, they can add colourful arrangements, guitar decorations and suitable drum pattern so you get a first-class cake. "Rano pano" is somewhat of a hymn with its melody and cresciendo rounds. Well recommended to listeners who want to start exploring Mogwai.
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