Beaten by Them

Inevitably, this band gets lumped into the post-rock category thanks to that whole notion that any epic instrumental music with energy and drive must be post-rock. But San Francisco's Beaten by Them has more in common with modern classical music and minimalist German bands like Kraftwerk and Neu! than it does with Godspeed! You Black Emperor. With sprawling song structures and languidly inexorable forward momentum, like a river that breaks a mountain, Beaten invokes the grandeur of eternity. The act's 2007 offering, Signs of Life — not unlike the deceptively slow-paced Werner Herzog movie of the same name — doesn't hit the listener over the head with its power. Rather, like a Fifth Column, the music infiltrates your consciousness and subverts expectations of what atmospheric music has to be.

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