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BATTLESTATIONS

Post Rock/Math rock • Belgium


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Battlestations biography
Formed in Brussels, Belgium in 2009

They currently have one album (out June 2011), consisting of material developed between 2009 and 2011.

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

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

Bio by Alex (harmonium.ro)

See also: HERE

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BATTLESTATIONS discography


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

3.77 | 27 ratings
Battlestations
2011
4.03 | 137 ratings
In A Cold Embrace
2012
4.06 | 82 ratings
The Extent of Damage
2015
4.14 | 36 ratings
Vixit
2017

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

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

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

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

4.20 | 6 ratings
Return / Mr. Abject
2011
4.23 | 11 ratings
The Death Of The Day
2013

BATTLESTATIONS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Battlestations by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.77 | 27 ratings

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Battlestations
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

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

4 stars The Brussels, Belgium based post-rock act BATTLESTATIONS is one of those shy bands that chooses to remain mysterious and work behind closed doors to bring the artistic visions to the world. Little is known about the band except that they formed in 2009 and that they are from Brussels. While i've seen the name Reivilo Enoignor floating around as keyboardist and this very well could be a solo project, i've yet never seen any other names attached to actually play in this band and all the better since BATTLESTATIONS' mysterious demeanor has created a dark brooding and constantly shapeshifting form of post-rock that takes more than clue from the enigmatic sounds of Godspeed! You Black Emperor and teases them out into new atmospheric objectivity.

The band has released so far four full-length albums but it all began with this 2011 eponymously titled debut album that contains three tracks with a running time of nearly 46 minutes. This one so far has only available as a digital download. The three tracks are beautifully complex which sprawl out into epic journeys with two tracks exceeding the 18 minute run and one just shy of 8. The tracks all have proper titles but are broken down into sub-titles which delineate the shapeshifting effects into completely new musical motifs. In fact, these tracks are more like stitched together assemblages of sounds rather than actual songs and included various instrumental sections punctuated by field samplings and spoken word vocals.

This BATTLESTATIONS debut exhibits an icy cold ethereal post-rock style that mixes classical piano runs with dirty guitar distortion that provides an ever changing instrumental narrative that symbolizes the struggle between dystopia and hope. Cheerful piano melodies give way to apocalyptic bleakness created by a slow to mid-tempo beat with layers of guitar and what sounds like a string section only muddied into an extension of the sonic brume that persists while weaving a startling tapestry of the placidity with the dramatic and the textural sublime with the climatic. The album succeeds in the mission of the post-rock paradigm by taking the listener on a sonic journey that is utterly alien and exclusively focused on the emotional reactions rather than technicality.

I would say that BATTLESTATIONS closest musical relative is without a doubt Godspeed! The tempestuous tones and timbres resonate to rouse the living and portend a future that is ruled by the dead but finds resolution in the ultimate cosmic dance between the polarization. The difference between this band and others is that it takes a more liberal approach to creating a patchwork effect of musical motifs rather than the simple subtleties of ratcheting up the tension of a repetitive cyclical loop that accrues ever more variations and effects. While the dramatic atmospheric gloominess clearly emulates the great Godspeed!, the approach is quite different and for that BATTLESTATIONS succeeds in creating a dynamic display of post-rock prowess. Each work that this band crafts is different from the previous so this is defiantly a recommended band to explore beyond a mere release.

Track listing and breakdowns:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Segment 1: No Survivors (18:57)

Segment 1 No Survivors - Life In The 21st Century - ADX Florence 23/24 Lullaby - This Empty Crowd - Caterpillar Strategy - The Useless Space - Dead End - After You Were Here - Fragile Failure - Dead End Reprise - The Autumnal Context

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Segment 2: The Taste Of The Kill (7:56)

Segment 2 The Tast Of The Kill - Harmful Layers - Memories Of Silent Response

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Segment 3: Accidents Of Ideals (18:36)

Segment 3 Accidents Of Ideals / Marked Passenger - Gone Passenger - Uninvited Memorial - The Needle In Your Eye - Death In The 21st Century

 Vixit by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.14 | 36 ratings

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Vixit
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Cylli Kat (0fficial)

5 stars Obviously, Battlestations is not necessarily going to be palatable to everyone's tastes. (What is?!?!?)

Post Rock/Math Rock is not normally a genre that I'm super incredibly familiar with and is a bit "outside of the wheelhouse" in regards to my own playing and writing.

But from my first exposure to Return/Mr. Abject, I've been in absolute awe of this project. The phenomenal level of craftsmanship evidenced on all their releases is certainly impressive. To me, there are some certain touchpoints to some of the more ambient portions of David Sylvian's music, but Battlestations most certainly have their own thing going on here...

As an aside, there are moments that I'm thoroughly convinced that this is some mystery project from Kevin Moore and Jim Matheos, and then I'm equally, absolutely convinced that it's not... (TNK: Tomorrow Never Knows) [If this turns out to be Steven Wilson, won't I be embarrassed?!?!?]

VIXIT:

This is indescribably beautiful, almost unearthly music. Layer upon layer of ideas executed flawlessly, engineered and produced magnificently. The playing and writing, the music theory formulas of the melodic/harmonic sections and the chord structures, specifically with regard to their movement(s) both complementary and contrapuntal are exceptional.

And that CHOIR!!! Whether these are synthetic or real voices (or some combination thereof), the choral portions of this release are so well written, constructed and performed, so movingly beautiful, and startlingly original. I've never heard anything quite like it. (And as with fellow PA reviewer Mellotron Storm, I also hear "Holy, Holy, Holy" repeated throughout the choral sections).

With Battlestations, (to my ears) there always seems to be an undercurrent of menace running throughout their compositions, sometimes overt, other times so incredibly subtle. And this remains true on Vixit. However, to me this is a positive thing as it keeps me engaged with what I'm hearing.

For some, this would be nothing more than background music, and it's okay if you hear it like that. But I've found whether through speakers or headphones, Battlestations will keep you very interested if you give the music the chance to unfold at its own pace, and allow yourself to become a part of it by your listening (somewhat akin to a variation of the Observer Effect: In physics, the observer effect is the theory that simply observing a situation or phenomenon necessarily changes that phenomenon).

I really am impressed with and genuinely love this. So wonderfully interesting and unique.

For its sheer originality and ingenuity in its writing, performance, engineering & production, Vixit is a 5 star release.

As always, your actual mileage may vary.

Grace and peace, Cylli (Jim)

 Vixit by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.14 | 36 ratings

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Vixit
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars BATTLESTATIONS are a mysterious band out of Belgium who purposely keep a lot of information to themselves about the music. I'm pretty sure they are fans of Horror movies judging from the album covers of "In A Cold Embrace" and "The Extent Of Damage" and this is especially true of that video link that some got with "The Extent Of Damage". I am so not into disturbing images or videos. Anyway the music on both of those albums didn't come across as being as creepy or evil as the album covers and video would suggest.

So they really threw me a curve with this their latest album 'Vixit". The music sounds like something you'd hear in a centuries old church in Europe somewhere. We get mostly synths and orchestration(usually in the form of strings) plus real choirs. There's also some piano, percussion and maybe electronics at one point and maybe some guitar. The Latin word "Vixit" means "lived" and the Romans often used this when referring to someone who died not wanting to focus on the loss but on the fact the person did live. Of course the album cover shows a person who is clearly dead floating upwards to the sky and the music here would seem to be the soundtrack to this event. Yes this record comes across heavily as being a soundtrack album in my opinion.

The album is divided into three passages or songs ranging from the 24 minute opener to the 3 1/2 middle section to the 14 minute closer. The music sounds samey so it could easily have been one seamless piece but the divisions are there for a reason. There's so much atmosphere usually in the form of synths or strings and the choirs I swear at some points cry "Holy" over and over. This is pretty cool but maybe for me it's just me and my beliefs that when I die it will be all about light and love with no darkness to be found.

I have played this many times and it's just not appealing to me at all even though I think it should. Two reviewers on here who I respect gave it 5 stars but I can't even give it 4 stars as I really have no desire to spin this again. I was glad of course to hear this and this new direction they have taken. Clearly I'm in the minority looking around the internet at some other reviews. Check it out!

 Vixit by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.14 | 36 ratings

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Vixit
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars These guys have come so far! From the almost-cheezy computer sounds and mis-timed instrumental performances of their flawed (but brilliant) debut, In a Cold Embrance, in 2012, the band has developed a stronghold in cinematic music-making far beyond anyone that I know of who is not doing film or television scores. Seriously, this may be the best "score"-that's-not-a-score or liturgical-piece-that's-not-meant-for-church (or maybe it is meant for church--a requiem or elegy) that I've ever heard. Period. James Newton Howard, Howard Shore, Hans Zimmer, Ennio Morricone, John Williams, James Horner, Rachel Portman, Danny Elfman, Alexandre Desplat have got nothing on these guys. Don't know if you still want to consider this prog since there are no drums or seering electric guitars, but it is definitely musical perfection, musical

1. "Vixit I" (24:02) As majestic and beautiful as the most beautiful Beethoven, Górecki, or Samuel Barber work. Broad washes of slowly moving strings with big choral sounds make this truly a spiritually moving experience. (10/10)

2. "Vixit II (3:21) piano, sparse, distant synth sounds, occasional noise from some kind of unidentified stringed instrument (the same one used in the first song of their debut album, "Prologue: Nature Morte / You're Not Welcome Here"), floating, panning synth washes. This must be Heaven. (9.5/10)

3. "Vixit III" (14:05) opens with the most electronica sounding passages on the album: panning synth, poppy voice choir, Mellotron and other synth washes, Very New Age-like--though the synths in the sixth and seventh minute sound like I'm YES heaven (the end section of "Awaken"). Love the return to old themes at 7:20! And then church choir rejoins with a FOCUS (Tommy Barlage) "Tommy" melody until the eleventh minute when it shifts dominant notes with the strings, bass, and tuned percussives giving it a little The Gathering If_then_else feel and sound to it. The final vocal section has an individual-sounding female alto voice carrying the lead--though this is still heavily mixed within the thick syrupy walls of synthesized sounds. This one is far more nostalgic and segmented yet it flows as well as any symphonic piece. (9.5/10)

Five stars; a shining masterpiece of progressive electronic music.

 The Extent of Damage by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.06 | 82 ratings

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The Extent of Damage
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Belgium band BATTLESTATIONS first appeared as recording artists back in 2011, and the project was apparently instigated two years prior to that. They are also one of those bands that prefer the names of the people involved to be unknown, presumably due to a philosophy about the music being main point and the creators of it not all that important. "The Extent of Damage" is their third studio production, and was released in 2015.

While I regard this album by Battlestations to be a well made and rather strong production in it's own right, my main impression is also that this is an album with something of a niche audience. This is music that demands patience and immersion for it's qualities to be revealed, as well as a taste for music exploring what one might describe as your inner darkness. For those who find such a description alluring in general, or otherwise know that post-rock of this kind tends to appeal, this is a CD that should be found to be a rewarding experience.

 Vixit by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.14 | 36 ratings

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Vixit
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars A needed overdose of tranquility and introspection!

Battlestations is a Belgian act that has given me so many precious moments since 2011, when I was lucky enough to be introduced by themselves to their wonderful music. Since then, I've been a huge fan of their style, a style that might be labeled as post/atmospheric/melancholic/experimental-rock, but that has a sound that at least to me, is near to unique.

In this 2017 they have just released a new and beautiful record entitled "Vixit", a 3-song album that has touched me every single time I listened to it. It is impressive how Battlestations manage to create profound music, atmospheres that hit you in your most hidden emotions and that will make you see things in a different way. Sorry If it seems that I am exaggerating a little bit, but Vixit has been with me in these past two months when I needed music the most. The experience while I listen to it is beyond words, very special and moving, so it is like a therapy when I want to see a new dawn in my daily basis.

The first part is the longest of them all. Entitled simply "I", this 24-minute piece seems to have only black and white colors, but while the time pass you will realize it is a colorful theme that creates countless images, it depends on the listener, but man, I sort of have times of introspection while listen to it, and better, I foresee a bright future in my life. When music hits you like this, it means it has succeeded. I love the use of the multi-layered synths and of course, the wonderful addition of the choirs, so in moments it seems to be taking us to a blend of Mediaeval with current technological times. It is impressive that every time I listen to it, the 24 minutes pass naturally and fast, it doesn't happen that often, I mean, with some other music the 15, even 10 minute-tracks can be tedious or difficult to enjoy, but this one flows and produces on me a high feeling of satisfaction. Beautiful and disarming!

"II" is the short song, a 3-minute piece based on piano that produces a melancholic sound in a classical way, surrounded by those atmospheric backgrounds made by synths. It leads to "III", the final track that is another long one, a 14-minute piece that is like the reborn of new hopes, is like witnessing a new life, a brand new day. Ambient music combined with some beautiful orchestrations and electronic sounds that might even remind us of some older musicians/bands such as Brian Eno or Popol Vuh. Be careful because this track might also give you lots of emotions, you will feel at peace but maybe, you will cry before reaching peace. Its depth can be better appreciated with decent headphones but most of all, with an open mind and the will to receive a solid musical concept, a extremely beautiful whole.

Thank you for this music, it has come to my life in the perfect moment. Enjoy it!

 The Extent of Damage by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.06 | 82 ratings

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The Extent of Damage
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Battlestations continue their sad, melancholy, and hauntingly beautiful style of post-rock on this latest album of theirs. Generously made available on a pay-what-you-want basis via their bandcamp, it is structurally extremely similar to their previous albums, with a marked tendency towards longer compositions with one briefer piece rounding things out, but if (like many post-rock bands) Battlestations could be accused of following a formula, at least they seem to have put together a reasonably compelling formula, and the coldly pessimistic atmosphere they evoke beats out even the legendarily mopey Godspeed You Black Emperor! for sheer hopelessness. Those averse to post-rock in general probably won't be won over by it, but those who like a little Silver Mt. Zion in their step would be well-advised to look into this one.
 The Extent of Damage by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.06 | 82 ratings

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The Extent of Damage
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Andy Webb
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

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

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

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

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

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

 The Extent of Damage by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.06 | 82 ratings

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The Extent of Damage
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

5 stars A brilliant construction, the latest album from Battlestations finds the band plumbing ever darker and more interesting depths than ever before. The structure is calm, dour, and yet subtly taut, subverting some of the usual post rock cliches in favour of a more unique longform churn. The rock instruments are further joined by electronic sounds and beats at certain points to climactic effect, and features plenty of plaintive strings. It all comes together wonderfully, creating a whole world of beautiful despair for forty five minutes, made so by excellent compositional and production choices and the band's visual aesthetic. It is simply a highly refined chunk of a mood that plays with musical tropes and is altogether an all-encompassing experience worth savouring.
 The Extent of Damage by BATTLESTATIONS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.06 | 82 ratings

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The Extent of Damage
Battlestations Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

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

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

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

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

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

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