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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:
Zravkapt (Darryl)
Kelvin (LearsFool)
Audun(The Bearded Bard)
Angelmk (Angel)
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

4.31 | 65 ratings
RANDOM AVENGER
Magyar Posse
4.28 | 70 ratings
CHILDREN OF GOD
Swans
4.29 | 47 ratings
FOR LONG TOMORROW
Toe
4.13 | 513 ratings
LIFT YOUR SKINNY FISTS LIKE ANTENNAS TO HEAVEN
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
4.12 | 510 ratings
ÁGÆTIS BYRJUN
Sigur Rós
4.14 | 176 ratings
ENTER
Russian Circles
4.17 | 64 ratings
SOUNDTRACKS FOR THE BLIND
Swans
4.07 | 383 ratings
F# A# ∞
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
4.58 | 12 ratings
DREAMS THAT COME A THING (PT I) - ...NEVER THOUGHT IT MAY SEEM...
Bosch's With You
4.25 | 30 ratings
BEAUTIFUL
About Tess
4.07 | 240 ratings
SHADOWS OF THE SUN
Ulver
4.18 | 41 ratings
PHANTASIA
Lite
4.27 | 26 ratings
KING NINE
Blueneck
4.17 | 42 ratings
THE COLLIBRO
Lis Er Stille (Liserstille)
4.34 | 18 ratings
HOW LONELY SITS THE CITY
Ascent Of Everest, The
4.09 | 82 ratings
CODENAME: DUSTSUCKER
Bark Psychosis
4.07 | 95 ratings
ONE TIME FOR ALL TIME
65DaysOfStatic
4.05 | 133 ratings
ULVER & TROMSØ CHAMBER ORCHESTRA: MESSE I.X - VI.X
Ulver
4.07 | 76 ratings
THE EXTENT OF DAMAGE
Battlestations
4.04 | 131 ratings
IN A COLD EMBRACE
Battlestations

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

JINX
Kammerflimmer Kollektief
DATURAH
Daturah
REVERIE
Daturah
ACTUAL MUSIC QUARTET RSM
Actual Music Quartet RSM

Latest Post Rock/Math rock Music Reviews


 Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden by ULVER album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.11 | 95 ratings

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Nattens Madrigal - Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden
Ulver Post Rock/Math rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars While ULVER (Norwegian for "wolves") has become synonymous with eclectic genre jumping between albums like virtually no other band in history of recorded music, in the beginning they at least attempted to create a series of albums in their "Black Metal Trilogie" which began with 1994's "Bergtatt - Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler." However despite the supposed "black metal" part of the equation, even on their sophomore album, the wiley wolfy ones were pulling the old switcheroo by performing their second album in the metal- free zone of the dark Norwegian folk drenched "Kvelssanger." For their third album they make a reprise and finish out the trilogy by bringing the black metal back to the forefront and on NATTENS MADRIGAL - AATTE HYMNE TIL ULVEN I MANDEN (translated from Norwegian as "Madrigal Of The Night ? Eight Hymns To The Wolf In Man"), not only do they recapitulate the full fury of the debut but unleash the full fury of caustic black metal which races along like wolf pursued prey fleeing for its very life.

While the three albums are connected thematically, NATTENS MADRIGAL was the band's international debut and most likely the first taste of the Norwegian wolf pack by the majority of the planet. The third installment of the trilogy is a concept that revolves around tales of the dark side of humanity that uses metaphors in the form of wolves in the moonlit night as depicted by the cover art. The album was recorded immediately after "Bergtatt" with no specific timeline for release but as the band got signed by Century Media in the late 90s, vocalist Kristoffer Rygg who is credited as Garm states that the band wanted to unleash their most abrasive and venomous attempt on second wave black metal as their international debut not only as a guidepost for their involvement in the early scene but also as a final farewell before they moved out of the black metal scene entirely. There was also a little shock value involved to freak out their new label as well.

NATTENS MADRIGAL is a relentless beast despite calm surreal interludes that incorporate ambient, industrial and other pacifying sounds. While these sounds are plentiful, they merely punctuate the main compositions that exude an overall abrasive and caustic second wave metal attack with adrenaline fueled blastbeasts, searing buzzsaw guitar riffs and lo-fi production that banishes the bass into Hades. As typical for the day, the din is fortified with vile, angry raspy shouted vocals typical of Darkthrone, Mayhem, Marduk and other similar second wavers of the 90s Scandinavian black metal scene. While the lo-fi aspects of NATTENS MADRIGAL are quite similar to the majority of over-adrenalized 90s black metal, ULVER excels in composing tight melodic constructs which at times such as in "Hymn I: Of Wolf And Fear" breaks out of the super aggressive mode and converts into melodic classical guitar with modern production before descending into the lo-fi hellfire pits once again.

While on the surface NATTENS MADRIGAL seems like a typical 90s black metal release, however it is in fact an interesting closer in their "Black Metal Trilogie" as it eschews the atmospheric and folk touches that the debut "Bergtatt" utilized and opts for a more primeval raw and angry evil as [%*!#] sort of sound. While the fans of the day never could have predicted that after such an energetic and unrelenting display of black metal fury that constitutes the third and final installment of the trilogy, the clues as to where ULVER would take their next journey lay in the cracks between the caustic distortionfest. The ambient, industrial and psychedelic folk snippets between tracks would become the focus of the newer chapters of ULVER's ever-changing journey. While i can't say that i wish ULVER would have stuck to their black metal roots because so many other band's were jumping on the bandwagon, i also cannot say that i don't love the hell out of the early black metal albums that ULVER conjured up. On this one, they not only somehow managed to create beautiful melodies beneath the unbounded brutality but seeded the blueprint of their future musical adventures. NATTENS MADRIGAL is a satisfying adrenalized high octane 90s black metal release fortified with cool electronic embellishments.

 Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada E.P. by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1999
4.41 | 182 ratings

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Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada E.P.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by raigor

4 stars "Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada" is the first EP release from the Canadian experimental musical collective GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR. It was released in 1999 on vinyl by the Montreal-based record label Constellation Records and on CD by the Chicago-based Kranky Records.

The disc, clocking in at approximately 29 minutes, features two long instrumental compositions: 11-minute "Moya" and 18-minute "BBF3". The former is dedicated to the band's founding member Mike Moya who left the ensemble in 2008. In fact, this is a sort of re-working "Symphony No. 3" by Henryk Gorecki, a Polish composer of contemporary classical music (that's why it is sometimes mentioned in the concert setlists as "Gorecki"). The latter refers to the vox pop interviewee going by the name of "Blaise Bailey Finnegan III" whose eccentric ramblings form the core of the song. Finnegan recites a poem which he claims to have written himself. But in fact, the poem is mostly composed of lyrics from the song "Virus" by Iron Maiden that were written by their then-vocalist Blaze Bayley. Both tracks are just superb and can be referred as "classics" of GY!BE from their first period.

Interesting facts for collectors: The cardboard album case opens in the opposite direction of a conventional CD case; this is due to the Hebrew text being read from right to left. The front of the album contains Hebrew characters, in transliterated form, "Tohu VaVohu" (Formless and Empty). This phrase is from both Genesis 1:2 and Jeremiah 4:23, the former to describe the Earth before God separated light from dark and the latter to describe the Earth after the Lord's Day.

 As Seen Through Windows by BELL ORCHESTRE album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.00 | 10 ratings

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As Seen Through Windows
Bell Orchestre Post Rock/Math rock

Review by raigor

4 stars "As Seen Through Windows" is the second album of the Montreal based instrumental ensemble BELL ORCHESTRE. And it holds true to the local stage penchant for electroacoustic cinematic experimentation with melodic lines covered up by atonal slabs, electronics mixed with organic chamber-rock, post-jazz, and brass orchestrated neoclassic.

This album is full of inventive ideas and blends compositional, improvised, and textural music together in a very specific and imaginative soundscape. The production is top-notch punctuating every sonic aspect of the performance. BELL ORCHESTRE imbue each track with strangely beautiful surrealistic playfulness - and this is what makes their second album so enjoyable for a open minded listener.

This is rewarding and definitely recommended work for those willing to discover new deviant forms and contents of modern instrumental music.

 Inmost Dens Of Emilie by WHYOCEANS album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Inmost Dens Of Emilie
WhyOceans Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars A truly gorgeous second effort

WhyOceans have been around since 2005 and remain one of my favorite instrumental rock bands. Their second release, "Inmost Dens of Emilie," is described as "six stories from six scenes with the same origin," and was recorded primarily in Hong Kong.

While "post-rock" is often ignored by many prog rock fans for being too sleepy or one-dimensional, I've always went out of my way to notice and listen. This is a style of music that shoots down musical instant gratification, aiming instead for what I consider the more emotional receptors in our being. We cannot latch onto the vocal hook or hide in the instant thrills available with more direct rock and roll tools. Instead we are dealing with music that almost commands personal introspection. At the same time, while WhyOceans will also employ some of the narcotic dives and swells so often associated with some of the original post-rock bands, there is much more happening here in the subsets of pastoral beauty, technology, storytelling, and visuals. This is one "post-rock band" more than suitable for active, engaged listening. One should not consider it background music.

Not only is their music cinematic, but the band has mastered the art of video as well. Their video for "Transparent People" is as professional and, more importantly, as breathtaking as 90s European eye-candy films I used to enjoy. Vibrancy, confusion, youth, death, innocence, suffocation, wonder, beauty -- so many adjectives spring to mind while watching it. I'm not that big on video outside of live performance, but this one was completely enjoyable.

On to the album, I love the way piano, flute, and strings are incorporated into the album, often given their own space to shine unaccompanied by the rock instruments, including through the entire beautifully melancholic first track -- a stunning opener that draws you in. These moments, along with some ambient sounds like waves or birds, serve to give the album additional color and personality. When the full band finally arrives nearly halfway through the second number, even then they do so with a light touch at first. Then the layers start to unfold, each member building step by step with exemplary playing and attention to technique, especially noticeable in the some of the guitar warbling and drumming sustain/ring. But beyond the instrument choices and playing techniques, what matters is whether the songs connect with you emotionally and are interesting enough for repeated plays. Big slam dunk on both counts for this listener. The changes in the title track alone, from full, heavy rocking to suddenly veering to a hauntingly quiet melody on a piano are simply breathtaking. It's all so beautifully planned out, nothing sounds forced, but rather like carefully written stories.

So while in some respects, "Emilie" is not radically different from the original hallmarks of the genre they are considered, it is done with such command and beauty that it impresses from start to finish. Another reviewer commented that post-rock has been in descent recently, but that WhyOceans is one band bucking that trend because they are clearly rising. I couldn't agree more with the second part of that thought. WhyOceans have now fully realized their creative talents. "So we start our night" is what they say when they begin another evening of rehearsing, writing, and crafting their sound. This is a band that has been working very hard for many years, not only on this album but on their live sound and visual presentations as well. They have put in the long hours it takes to craft a release like this.

My suggestion is that folks forget about the post-rock label and instead, approach this recording as the fine piece of instrumental rock that it is.

 Maar by EVPATORIA REPORT, THE album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.98 | 24 ratings

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Maar
The Evpatoria Report Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars THE EVPATORIA REPORT were a Swiss band who released two studio albums and then called it a day. I do prefer the debut but this one is a very solid Post-Rock album that those who are into this sub-genre should really appreciate. They were a five piece band of two guitarists, a keyboard/ violinist, bass and drums. There are some guests mostly on the opener as we get four extra violinists and a cello player. We get four long tracks over 61 plus minutes of running time. These guys do it right.

"Eighteen Robins Road" is almost haunting the way it slowly begins with plenty of atmosphere and very slowly played piano. The violin starts to sweep across the soundscape before 2 minutes then guitars arrive a minute later. Drums follow as the violin cries out. Bass before 4 minutes, this is really good. Of course it's been slowly building in the Post-Rock tradition. It's more powerful after 5 minutes then suddenly a calm before 6 1/2 minutes with keys and atmosphere. Violin is back at 8 1/2 minutes then the sound starts to slowly build again before 9 minutes. The music suddenly stops before 11 minutes as we hear a woman whispering about death as the atmosphere rolls in. It's like it then starts over before 12 minutes with bass, a beat and picked guitar. So uplifting, and then when the violin joins in it's so beautiful. It's building once more to a powerful sound late.

"Dar Now" is a top two for me. Guitar to start and it turns powerful quickly with distorted guitars, drums and more. I love when we get a calm around 1 1/2 minutes, beautiful stuff. Post-Rock guitars over top before 2 1/2 minutes. It settles back again after 3 minutes. A guitar melody takes over before 4 1/2 minutes then another guitar joins in. Drums, bass and then violin follow as it slowly builds. It settles back after 9 1/2 minutes but then kicks in with power a minute later. It starts to slow down 12 minutes in but the power is still there although that fades quickly. Sounds like a sample of a concert before 13 1/2 minutes to pretty much end it.

"Mithridate" is my other top two track. Picked guitar to start as bass arrives then some drums. This is sparse and atmospheric. It turns spacey before 2 1/2 minutes, almost FLOYD-like surprisingly. It calms right down after 4 minutes with spacey sounds. Some narration at 5 1/2 minutes then a beat kicks in with violin and more. The music is getting louder with more prominent bass before 7 minutes as the narration ends. This is powerful stuff. Screaming violin after 10 minutes. Nice.

"Acheron" ends it and it the longest track at 19 1/2 minutes. Strummed guitar to start. Violin just before a minute starts some mournful playing. It's building before it kicks in hard before 2 1/2 minutes with Post-Rock styled guitars over top. It settles back a minute later as sounds echo in atmosphere as drums continue. They stop as it slowly settles back, beautiful sound after 4 1/2 minutes. Picked guitar a minute later as it starts to build some. Bass and drums before 6 1/2 minutes then it kicks in heavily before 8 minutes. It starts to settle back before 11 minutes but it has a powerful atmosphere that pulses until fading away at 12 1/2 minutes as a lone guitar is picked. It picks up again after 16 minutes but not a whole lot before winding down late.

Post-Rock fans should be all over the two releases by this Swiss band. They did release an EP first which I haven't heard but the two studio albums are essential listening.

 The Seer by SWANS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.72 | 151 ratings

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The Seer
Swans Post Rock/Math rock

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

1 stars In my opinion music can go wherever it wants and can have the form that the musicians choose. There are no rules. However, there are rules for me!

There are many, many listeners who follow certain publications/sites and take pride in being 'different', and they end up in an alternative world, along with several other listeners. At the end of the day all we have is a legion of alternative listeners who hear and worship the same things, not so alternative in the end...

Well, why this text 'nothing to do with anything' at the beginning of this review? Because to me Swans has always been in this category: music for people that is alternative, but it is not. Who wants to make strange and different music just for the simple fact of wanting to be different. Period.

That's what The Seer showed me.

I tried to listen to the record without preconceptions, maybe there was a good record to be discovered (finally) by me. No. Deception.

Songs that are long simply 'because yes', not because there is a purpose. Songs that come out of nowhere and get nowhere (The Seer, the song, being the perfect example of my statement). And at the end of the record we get this question in our minds: what's the purpose of this record, whyit exists?

The discography of the band is all full of hype and the alternative ones love to adore the band. Oh, and they are influence to many other modern and equally cool new bands that also fills us with the same emptiness of The Seer.

I wonder if The Seer was recorded without the pretension, without all the cool vibe around it, without the intention of being 'cool'. I imagine it would have been a good record, because there are several good moments that are simply destroyed by the pretension.

 Tortoise by TORTOISE album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.44 | 37 ratings

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Tortoise
Tortoise Post Rock/Math rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars Chicago based TORTOISE were one of the pioneers of the American style of post-rock in the early 90s where they, like others in the breakaway from indie rockers, were interested in experimenting with the hypnotic droning possibilities laid down by the Velvet Underground all the way back in the 60s. While bands like Talk Talk and Slint may have fully nudged the subgenere of rock that utilizes rock instrumentation to create varied timbres and textures outside the confines of traditional rock song structures, bands like Cut de Sac, Labradford, Bowery Electric and TORTOISE are cited as the founders of the American flavored stylistic approach which combined Krautrock with dub, jazz, electronica and minimalism. TORTOISE themselves formed in 1990 when bassist Doug McCombs (from Elventh Dream Day) hooked up with drummer John Herndon and set out to create freelance rhythm sections that took the elements of groove oriented genres such as reggae and add more complex elements.

The results of this experimental approach led to the eponymous debut album by TORTOISE which found a total of five musicians cranking out a plethora of different musical sounds from a veritable army of musical instruments including the usual rock suspects such as bass, guitar and drums alongside vibes, marimba, keyboards, sax, harpsichord and tons of synthesizers and effects. The combo effect of all these sounds delivered in an exclusive instrumental parade of sounds is indeed quite unlike many other artists of the days including other early post-rock bands. While incorporating jazzy elements into the overall hypnotic trajectory of the steady flow of rock led electronically tinged space dub, TORTOISE at this point still hadn't honed their skills to the point of such classics as "Millions Now Living Will Never Die" or my favorite "TNT."

The debut album by TORTOISE is exclusively instrumental and all ten tracks ooze by in the mid-tempo range and in retrospect doesn't come off as anything particularly brilliant since in time TORTOISE themselves would conjure up much more interesting post- rock offerings, but they did garner a lot of attention at the time of this release because of the unusual instrumentation of two bassists, three percussionists and an ample use of vibraphones and marimbas. This album also was released with two album covers, both of which i've somehow accumulated. While both are identical artistically speaking with three dots in three squares on a single colored background, one release shows alternating blue and white coloration while the other is of different shades of tan and brown.

Compared to later efforts, the debut by TORTOISE is a downright lazy affair with a steady groove that never gains very much steam or conjures up a lot of changing it up in the ole dynamics department. While they were successful in garnering the attention they needed in order to create a steady movement beyond the basics, the debut album isn't an album that really stands the test of time as does the following albums. While this is a perfectly satisfying hypnotic groovilistic parade of jazzy dub with Krautrock flavored elements simmering on a low lit pilot light, nothing really erupts into anything memorable either and granted TORTOISE were never known for epic extended jaunts that lead to crescendoes such as Godspeed! You Black Emperor, however they were known for an interesting instrumental interplay that doesn't quite muster up an ecstatic satisfaction level on this one. Not bad by any means but it only gets better from here.

 Young God by SWANS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
2.95 | 9 ratings

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Young God
Swans Post Rock/Math rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars SWANS emerged in the short-lived New York City no wave noise rock scene with their debut album "Filth" and earlier eponymous EP but in 1984 they not only released their second album "Cop" but also an extended play (EP) that didn't really have a title at the time. It consisted of only four tracks and has been referred to "Raping A Slave" and "I Crawled" (both album tracks) but is officially referred as YOUNG GOD which is the title of the longest track, therefore it has pretty much gone down in history under that title. The fourth unfortunate track that it hasn't been named after is "This Is Mine." Once again SWANS dishes out a strange concoction of punk infused energy, metal tones and timbres all parading in a drone drenched stripped-down minimalism and avant-garde outrage.

Following in the bleakness and brutal nature of the "Cop" album, YOUNG GOD takes the stylistic approach to even more extreme measures offering a glimpse into the mind of the serial killer Ed Gein. The EP takes the no wave, no frills droning percussive march into even more bombastic territories as it even utilizes a chain against a metal table offering a bleaker industrial feel than "Cop" ever dared explore. Likewise, the tempos are even slower and it genuinely sounds as if the sounds that emerge evoke the darkest, most abstract and utterly violent musical offerings possible with an abrasive surreal minimalistic barbarity unlike anything ever conceived.

YOUNG GOD contains only a mere four tracks that don't even add up to the half hour mark but in their wake leaves a barrage of emotionally bereft hypnotic parades of industrial bleakness and surreal surrender of everything familiar in musical trends of the day. Melodies are replaced by jagged torturous textures of jarring guitar distortion, arhythmic percussive drives that churn along like heart palpitations and the bleakest sewer rat perspective of sado-masochistic sonic torture sessions that incorporate downtuned dread with utter hopelessness.

While the overall effect is equivalent to "Cop," YOUNG GODS is even more surreal and hypnotic as the guitar parts are more uniform whereas the Michael Gira's vocals are much more emphatic and take on a more diverse repertoire of tortured prowess. The main effect of YOUNG GOD is one of disbelief as the grimy filth of the guitar and bass distortion churn along with the atypically timed rhythmic flow of the percussion. This one has been cited as a major influence to bands like Nirvana, Neurosis and Godflesh. The Swiss band The Young Gods even named themselves after it. This is about as subversively sinister as music can get before it totally becomes irregular formless noise.

This is the last bout with sheer musical bleakness for SWANS. After YOUNG GODS they would incorporate Jarboe into the band and her influence would forever change the band's course into more diverse arenas. While the EP was never officially released beyond the initial vinyl pressings, the four tracks that appeared on it can easily be found on modern compilations of the early works. YOUNG GODS takes the unique musical lexicon that SWANS crafted in their earlier years and fleshes out only the bleakest possibilities. So intense is this stuff that more than four tracks of it and it may have caused death. Include this on the "scariest tracks of all time" list.

 Cop by SWANS album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.48 | 29 ratings

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Cop
Swans Post Rock/Math rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars While many will claim that the 80s were one of the worst decades for music but i must disagree wholeheartedly since some of the most original thinking musical entities emerged from this period. On the aggressive side of the musical equation, the punk and metal that had been gaining steam in the late 70s and early 80s really took off during this period. While punk and post-punk had splintered into a gazillion subgenera, metal on the other hand was only starting to see the potential of different styles emerging from the hard rock that had developed it a decade before. Out of all this craziness came SWANS whose unique style to this day is unclassifiable as they exist in their own musical universe but was even more the case in their beginning days. This NYC band led by Michael Gira existed in a strange gray area between punk and metal although they were technically part of the short-lived no wave noise rock movement.

Their debut album "Filth" set the tone for their abrasive unrelenting assault on melody with undulating waves of distorted noise grinding in a jarring rhythmical fashion like a thousand jackhammers pounding the city streets in unison and only slightly deviating from each other until a true cacophonous din results. On their second album COP, the band of four continues this aggressive assault and takes it even further with even heavier bombastic drum and bass beats accompanied by screeching downtuned and dissonant guitar riffs along with Gira's tortured soul vocalizations that preceded the world of black and death metal by several years. It's no wonder that early SWANS have been cited as one of the major influences for the heavy down and dirty approach of sludge metal because the thick guitar riffs that buzz to infinity create one of the loudest albums of the early 80s as if the band recorded this in a deep industrial bunker in the darkest recesses of the cockroach filled underbellies of a post-apocalyptic world.

While many comparisons have been made with doom metal and i can honestly see those connections, i find COP is more of a unique fusion of snarling punk attitudinal posturing with heavily cranked up adrenaline inducing distortion from the guitar and bass akin to the early extreme metal of Venom and Hellhammer with a bombastic drone-like march of a souless percussive drive that hypnotizes by sheer brutal force. Part of the allure is the ambiguousness of the subject matter at hand with lyrics flirting with scenes of sexual domination in unseen corners in dimly lit dungeons. The tempo on COP is much slower than "Filth" which adds a sense of valium laden dread to the abrasiveness of the fuzzed out guitar tones grinding the eardrums into audio submission like the morbidly obese woman on the cover depicts in utter despair. COP took the art of ugliness to perfect heights as the holy trinity of audio, visual and emotional impact impaled the listener from all angles.

COP is almost universally deemed SWANS' most brutal album and i doubt anyone could disagree once encountering this seductively repulsive sonic terror. If the guitar dissonance and vocal anguish wasn't enough, the drum and bass experience a hypnotic repertoire that is jagged with off-kilter time signatures that succeed in disrupting melodic flow in every way possible. Both "Filth" and "Cop" as well as the two EPs of the same era are cited as a major influence on bands like Godflesh, The Young Gods and the 90s sludge gods Neurosis with an almost tribal rhythmic drive gone horribly wrong into arhythmic sado-masochistic sonic torture sessions. This is not one for the faint-hearted by any means. After this album, Gira would incorporate the feminine charm of Jarboe to the band's sound which would change the band's style and sound drastically. However on COP, these guys pumped out one of the most monstrous and tenebrous death marches of all the early 80s. While bleak, this stuff is morbidly beautiful in its own way as it creates its own musical lexicon.

 Dominion by JAKOB album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2004
3.96 | 8 ratings

BUY
Dominion
Jakob Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars JAKOB are a Post- Rock band out of New Zealand and this EP was released in 2004. Love the album cover of that black and white picture of that Pontiac. This is one long track at over 29 minutes and it's mostly ambient but we do get a couple of breakouts in the Post- Rock tradition.

It's so quiet to begin with that I had to turn it up the first time to see if it was playing. It turns louder around a minute as we continue to get those guitar expressions. A beat follows in this relaxed soundscape. It does build a little more and then it begins to wind down until we have almost silence before 6 minutes. That previous sound returns as it trips along slowly. Beautiful music as it stays relaxed and repetitive.

It starts to wind down again until it's very minimalistic 15 minutes in and then it starts to build slowly before 16 minutes as a beat returns and the guitar continues. It turns surprisingly powerful before 20 1/2 minutes with plenty of distortion. It then settles back 2 minutes later as the distortion stops. After 24 minutes the distortion is back and that powerful sound. Sounds echo late as it winds down to end it.

There's a lot of fans of this EP and while there's nothing new here this is some high end Post- Rock folks. An easy 4 stars.

Data cached

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Bands/Artists Country
*ANCIENTS Multi-National
[BLEU] Switzerland
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 SHELTER IN THE DESERT Mexico
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ABOUT TESS Japan
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AN ORDINARY VISION Italy
ANA NEVER Serbia
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AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR United Kingdom
AND STARS COLLIDE United Kingdom
ANOICE Japan
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ANTETHIC Russia
ANTIER Spain
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