In the varied and magisterial realms of post-rock, there exists a set of sub-classifications which help us parse and understand the range of sounds. Cinematic, post-black, mathy and others are adjectives which help indicate what we can expect from an album or band at hand. One of those classes is groove post rock, injecting distortion where delay is usually found and thick bass/drum lines where one would expect ambiance. As such, it tends to sound more like classic rock n’ roll but with a modern and electronic tinge to it.
Exxasens are a band which most people wouldn’t recognize by name (this writer included) but which market this kind of approach. Hailing from Barcelona, the band have an impressive back catalogue, including numerous iterations and additions to that sound. Specifically, their 2015 release Back To Earth is a masterful rendition of that kind of stuff: it punches, kicks and bucks with a range of distortion influenced riffs and rock n’ roll sensibilities, somehow made modern and elevated into new heights.
The album is best listened to as one creation, even though it is divided into tracks. These flow together into close to forty minutes of expansive, original and sometimes challenging progressions. These echo Steven Wilson at times but often have a more stoner/post rock influenced sound similar to the likes of The Egocentrics, If These Trees Could Talk or sleepmakeswaves. This is mostly due to the metallic yet scattered tone of the guitars but is not limited to that: something about the energy and dynamism of album screams of that movement within the genre.
When push comes to shove, that’s why this album is great. It sparkles, screams and breathes energy, bounce and verve. It can be all over the place, even utilizing vocals and choirs at some point, but yet it manages to focus its delivery long enough to speak loud and clear. It continues the tradition of the more rocky post rock, relying on punch instead of thought, on brilliance instead of melancholy. By the way, these guys will be playing their local festival this year, Be Prog! My Friend. We plan to attend it this year, more on that as it unfolds!