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Battlestations - In A Cold Embrace CD (album) cover




Post Rock/Math rock

4.04 | 131 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Brilliant!

Last year (2011) I was introduced to the music of Battlestations with their debut album, a very good example of the atmospheric side post rock with three long songs full of nuances, changes and progressions that made me have a great time; since then I was caught by the band's magic, so now this 2012 I knew they were releasing a new album I really wanted to own a copy soon, and fortunately I have it now. With such a positive debut, I was expecting an album with the same quality at least, and now I can say the quality is the same yeah, but the music here passed my expectations and I am really happy with it.

For those who don't know them, Battlestations is a young band from Belgium whose music belongs to the progressive rock realm, but more particularly to the post rock one. This is their second studio album which is entitled "In A Cold Embrace", it features five songs that together make a total time of 44 minutes, of an hour full of brilliance, beauty, calm and tension at the same time, offered in this conceptual album with a great and somber booklet.

The first track is the longest one with almost 14 minutes of music, "Prologue: Nature morte / You're not Welcome Here". It opens softly, with the inherent atmospheric sound, then little by little new elements are being added, we can listen to electric drums, guitars and keyboards making the background. The music flows, there are several changes but they come perfectly without making so much noise, I mean, they are not forced at all, they simply come and everything is ok. After six minutes there is a part I really like, the structure is repetitive but here the role of the acoustic guitars is more important, it produces beautiful nuances that perfectly complete the atmospheric base.

The music continues with that calm sound until minute 9:30 when drums appear for the first time, so the intensity increases and the rock element is more present than ever. I really like this part because it is still soft, beautiful and ambitions, but with a touch of tension and nervousness provoked by keyboards and the electric guitar. The last minutes are slowing down little by little until the guitars disappear, the music is vanishing and just a distant noise can be heard.

Some five seconds later "Comrade / The Way we Grieve" starts with a guitar noise that sounds far at first, but later it is becoming closer, then it disappears and a new structure is being built. A minute later a repetitive but really intense and emotional sound begins with clear reminiscences of GY!BE but with a very personal touch. This moment really moves me, my senses are open, receiving feedback but at the same time spreading the pain. I don't know if I can explain myself, but what I feel with the music of this particular passage is really touching, an example that the music can understand you better than the humans. Five minutes later it changes and calms down, so I calm down as well, now I am in a more relaxing moment, recovering and finding peace. The guitar is beautiful, and the textures created are full of nostalgia. Great!

"Interlude: Time Stands still" is the shortest track of the album with only three minutes. It is like a moment of change, like the transition of a life, leaving this world and entering to a new one, it is like giving a new opportunity that we have to take. I recommend you listening to this album with good headphones, so you can truly appreciate everything it offers.

"Breaking Bad News / The Faces we remember" continues with that soft and atmospheric side of post rock, with slow structures that flow and progress while new elements are being added. The strings are essential in this track (as in the whole album), they bring images and colors, one is responsible of its destiny. At minute four the rhythm changes a little bit, the electronic side appears as a distant background. The last couple of minutes are more dynamic, the intensity increases and the song becomes a puzzle with countless pieces that are essential to complete its form.

The last song is "Epilogue: Citizen Creep / The End" whose eleven minutes bring diversity of atmospheres that goes from somber and desolated, to mellow and disarming ones. The first three minutes are composed by delicate strings around dark synth background; later the music slows down and becomes totally atmospheric and relaxing for a minute, until drums appear a minute later and the rhythm changes. Here, in moments, the guitar reminds me of Talk Talk's Laughing Stock. More intensity is implemented later for a brief time, and then the music slows down again adding a beautiful piano that makes a dreamy sound. Wonderful. Minute nine is darker and somber; later the music vanishes and everything is quiet for at least three seconds. The music appears again, first with the same dark touch but later is calmer and nostalgic. And so the album finishes like this.

What a wonderful album, I am really pleased with it because it provokes several things on me, it is impossible not to feel moved when I listen to it, and that's its charm. Big time for Battlestations, hope they keep this high level which to my ears (and heartstrings), deserves a five-star rating.

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 5/5 |


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