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TRACK LIST: 1. Necro 12:40 2. The Lies We Share 9:46 3. The Great Divide 9:26 4. They Sleep While We Burn 9:32 5. The Extent of Damage 3:55 LINEUP: Not stated
Prolusion. 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.
Analysis. Among the many subsets and varieties of progressive rock, Battlestations is a venture easy to place into a defined context. This is a project that fits perfectly into the category known as post-rock. The material is all instrumental, and textured instrument motifs are core and central elements throughout. In this case without any exceptions whatsoever. Describing the music on this album can be done in an easy manner, and focusing on details can be a bit troublesome at times, as so many of the effects used are of a similar nature where the differences tend to be of a more subtle nature. That the band opts for contrasting features to create and maintain tension, that the compositions ebb and flow in intensity and tend to have a dream-laden, cinematic nature to them are as revealing as confusing I guess, but for those who know this variety of progressive rock these descriptions rather comes with the territory. More specific of this band is that they are fond of creating atmospheres of a more unnerving nature. Dream-laden in the context of this band is one hovering much closer to the realm of the nightmare than the daydream, a well suited soundtrack to the kind of dreams where you see shadows at the outer edges of your field of vision yet where nothing is there when you turn around to see what is there. Dark and haunting music in other words, occasionally drifting towards a more melancholic or mournful expression but more often than not returning to landscapes with more of a haunting atmosphere. The underlying noise effects on title track The Extent of Damage a good example, sounds that for me gave associations to the sounds of war as heard from a distance. Otherwise I note that the compositions tends to ebb and flow between gentler, ambient tinged atmospheres to more powerful and majestic arrangements, where dark, mid-toned and light toned textures are used to good effect to grow and decrease the majestic impact. Plucked guitar notes and occasionally singular light toned piano notes are used to good effect for contrasts, the electric guitar is used to good effect for the darker and more unnerving sounds, and keyboard arrangements with something of a slight classical symphonic orchestra orientation are used to create a more dramatic feel. Fluctuating textures and circulating motifs that glide in and out of the arrangements another effective and recurring detail in these soundscapes.
Conclusion. 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.
Progmessor: August 27, 2017
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