Toundra – Vortex

Toundra have an interesting career. This Spanish post rock/metal band have been operating in the same semantic fields as bands like If These Trees Could Talk, Sleeping Bear or Afformance  making their way through the uncertain and, sometimes, downright disastrous, genre of heavy post rock. They were making music way before the current resurgence of the genre and, in Heavy Blog circles at least, were often cited as a light in the darkness, something original and fresh in a genre which seems to have lived out its welcome. Their second album, aptly titled II is a masterpiece, one of the best groovy/heavy post rock releases around. But now, when plenty of other bands are making fantastic music in the same vein, are Toundra still relevant? Following up on some releases that weren’t as powerful as the all-mighty II, are Toundra still up there with the best of them when it comes to making expansive, instrumental music?

Post Rock Post – Echotide

You might be wondering why there have been so many of these lately. Some of it has to do with backlog; post rock is a notoriously hard genre to parse, sparse as it is, requiring more time from my ears to translate into words. But some of it is also to do with the sheer amount of interesting post rock that has been released this year. The true beauty of the volume of releases is its quality and variety. There have been great releases from more “classical” post rock bands, like Heron or Ranges, as well as releases doing new and interesting things with the formula, like Afformance or This Patch of Sky. Alongside these younger bands, we’ve also seen the successful return of massively important bands like sleepmakeswaves and Mogwai who have continued to grow their sound and solidify their legacy.

We’ll cover these trends more in depth as we near the year’s end but, for now, it’s safe to say that there’s a spirit of revival running through the oft-beleaguered genre. Adding to this revivification which, if we’re being honest, properly started last year or even a year before that, are Australian Echotide.

Post Rock Post – Afformance (Again, again!)

Yes, I know I’ve just written one of these posts where I said I rarely dedicate one to the same band but it’s really not my fault that bands we’ve already covered here keep releasing amazing music. It probably is my fault, however, that the format of these posts didn’t really take that into account. I’ll say a few prayers to a delay pedal in penance. For now, let’s talk about Afformance again. These guys, based in Athens, Greece, peddle in the most cinematic and expansive kind of post rock. Thing is, they make it work, standing high above the cut in the sea of mediocrity that has unfortunately come to categorize this brand of post rock in the past few years. Just last month, they released two albums: Pop Nihilism and Music For Imaginary Film #1 and while the former is just fine the latter is where I’d like to focus today.

Love Of Cartography: A Taxonomy Of Post Rock

The goal of these taxonomy posts is not to provide an exhaustive and accurate list or definition of a certain genre or genres. Quite the opposite in fact: attempting to make such a complete list would only replace one stagnated image-object with another, creating an equally irrelevant definition, whether it can be considered currently accurate or not. Therefore, we want to keep some of that fuzz, to leave ends untied and room for further articles and discussion among our readers. We’re not saying that this is going to be a series; these posts take far too much time and energy to commit to something like that. We are saying however that there’s plenty more to discuss, within and without the progressive metal genre and we’ll try and do that when we can.

So, post rock. Post rock is a perfect candidate for such an examination. On the one hand, there’s a very strong and often negative image of what post rock is. Seminal bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, God Is An Astronaut and Explosions In The Sky have enjoyed widespread, cultural popularity, solidifying the image of post rock in the eyes of the public. Pretentious, long-winded, dreamy, beautiful, cinematic, instrumental and rarified are all adjectives which were born from this image. Post rock was, and still is, perceived as a genre for the few, starry eyed and sentimental. Perhaps owing to just how good the afore-mentioned bands really are, their music also overpowered the conceptual space for the genre, leading people to expect certain things from the music that fell under the moniker.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – Playlist Swap – 10/23/15

Even a cursory glance of our biweekly “What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To” posts (last week’s update here) will reveal that there is a great deal of variety among our staff’s musical tastes. Due to this, we brainstormed the idea of “Playlist Swap,” another biweekly segment that takes place between…