Top 10 Post-Rock Bands Of All Time

World's Top 10 Post-Rock Bands Of All Time

The post-rock genre is an experimental form of rock that has emerged within the indie and underground music scenes during the 80s and 90s. While the existence of this genre is not quite new, but it didn't lay low in the music industry until the 90s or mid-late 90s.

The concept of post-rock was coined by Simon Reynolds, an English music critic, who used the term post-rock in an album review of Bark Psychosis's album Hex, in the March 1994 edition of Mojo magazine.

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Post-rock also takes a heavy influence from the early 1960s and mid-1970s, but the solid foundation was laid in the mid-90s via bands such as Talk Talk, Slint.

As we proceeded towards the early 2000s, the genre, however, was greatly condemned by many critics for its ominous use, hence the term was falling out of favor.

There have been also some cases where bands through whom the genre was most frequently assigned, such as Tortoise, Cul de Sac, Mogwai, rejected their labels.

However, Radiohead's Kid A, and Sigur Rós' "Ágætis byrjun" made a turning point in the music style.

Top 10 Most Influential Post-Rock bands of All Time

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Often considered by critics as one of the best experimental musical groups, GY!BE is a Canadian experimental music collective that originated in Montreal, Quebec.

They’ve always been the darlings of both critics and fans. Their sheer intensity and cinematic quality are unparalleled, their album covers extremely iconic, and they are surrounded by enough mystery to always keep things interesting.

More on GY!BE

This 9 piece epic band created the stepping stone for the evolution of the genre of post-rock. They also add a different spin on the post-rock genre itself. They are not like any of their contemporaries.

Almost every post-rock fans are more than familiar with the subtle political commentary by their album and song titles and insanely lengthy track, which is why the band has arguably the biggest cult following within the realms of post-rock.


Formed in Illinois, Chicago in 1990, Tortoise is often cited as being one of the prime forces behind the popularization and categorization of the post-rock movement. The band is also viewed as one of post-rock's define makers.

Even though the group was formed in 1990, the group's true origin lied in the 1980s pairing of  Eleventh Dream Day's bassist Dough McCombs, and drummer John Herndon. 

Initially, they tried to establish their accompany into a freelance rhythm section (A rhythm section is a group of musicians within a music ensemble or band that provides the underlying rhythm, harmony, and pulse of the accompaniment, providing a rhythmic and harmonic reference and "beat" for the rest of the band).

However, the idea didn't really come to light, but their sheer recording studio knowledge and interest in grooving rhythm led them to partner up with Bastro's drummer John McEntire, and bassist Bundy K. Brown.

Tortoise released their self-titled debut studio album in 1994, which led many to predict an upcoming music prodigy. Their latest album The Catastrophist was released in 2016. 

Albeit their approach in that album does not quite strike as much as the old albums, The Catasthrphist is the band's first album where they featured some prominent vocals and laid off jazz, contrary to their usual heavy instrumental sounds.


Swans are probably the world's loudest experimental rock band. The group was formed 39 years ago in 1982, and they still haven't called it off, their most recent studio album Leaving Meaning was released in 2019.

The group went dormant in 1997 and again reformed in 2010, and went to a brief hiatus in 2017, and came back for yet another time in 2019. 

Several members of this group had been in-n-out from the group. The founder was the singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Michael Gira.

Swans are considered one of the uncompromising bands of all time and are renowned for their constantly evolving sound, ranging from bleak, brutal noise-rock to spiritual, ethereal folk, and their intensely loud, transcendent live performances. 

Although they are not completely post-rock-centric, they are definitely among the best within that movement.

Sigur Rós

Sigur Rós, one of the most iconic and profound post-rock bands of all time, is a must on any list regarding the genre of post-rock itself.

Sigur Ros is an Icelandic band that formed in 1994. They are still active, tho not as much as they used to be. The band made its debut with Von in 1997. 

Then came the year 1999, when they released Ágætis byrjun, arguably one of the finest "post-rock/art-rock/ambient/dream pop" albums of all time! 

Even still today, they are highly acclaimed for their release of that revolutionary album.

Sigur Ros is named as one of the most enigmatic bands ever. They released their untitled album ( ) in 2002, all of the songs in that album are sung in Hopelandic language (A.K.A. Vonlenska), a made-up language without semantic meaning, which resembles the phonology of the Icelandic language.

Explosions in the Sky

Explosions in the Sky, a post-rock (though doesn’t consider themselves to be) prodigy formed in 1999 in Texas. The group was initially called 'Breaker Morant,' then changed to the current name in 1999.

They have the reputation for scathingly intense live performances, and were touted early on in their career as the next phenomenon in moody and dynamic instrumental indie rock à la Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Eventually, they became one of the genre's most commercially successful bands, scoring several motion pictures and being featured in countless other films, television series, and video games.


Mogwai have an effect on their listeners is like Toronto’s latest climate forecast: unpredictable. This post-rock band takes their listeners on an emotional rollercoaster, from lingering melancholia and remoted strings to extreme clouds of feedback and white noise.

The Scottish band's first single "Tuner"/"Lower" came out in 1996, trailed by their first studio collection, Mogwai Young Team in 1997. From that point forward, Mogwai have delivered a broad discography of eight studio collections, just as an assortment of gatherings, live collections, and expanded plays.


Slint were formed in 1986 in Kentucky and have reunited sporadically since 1990. Though in large part left out at some point of their distinctly short lifespan, Slint grew to end up one of the most influential and far-reaching bands to emerge from the American underground rock network of the 1980s.

Slint broke up after the release of their second album Spiderland. Since then, Slint guitarist David Pajo has played with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol, Tortoise, and others. Slint was one of the first to influence post-rock and is still highly regarded in this genre.

Talk Talk

Except for a modest bunch of ongoing ideas - chief among them the plaintive vocals and haunting lyrics of frontman Mark Hollis, there is little to recommend that the five studio LPs that make up the Talk oeuvre are to be sure crafted by a similar band.

After starting their vocation with records practically typifying the new wave period that brought forth them, the British group never had to look back, making significant strides with each successive album on its way to discovering a wholly unique and uncategorizable sound informed by components of classical, and ambient music; their astonishing last recording, while got ignored commercially, possess a timelessness rare among the music of any genre, and in retrospect, they seem the clear starting point for the post-rock movement of the 1990s.

Bark Psychosis

Despite a relatively small recorded output and little media recognition, Bark Psychosis were one of the most innovative artists of their era. From rather uninspired origins as a teenage Napalm Death cover band, the British group evolved by leaps and bounds, moving from moody, lush pop to ambient soundscapes to taut, atmospheric experimental music; their work was so revolutionary and so impossible to define, that noted critic Simon Reynolds even found it necessary to invent a new subgenre -- "post-rock" -- simply to categorize their vision.


Founded in 1991, Labradford were key players in the post-rock movement even if they remain somewhat unsung heroes of the genre. Their widescreen vision, sweeping the sounds of Ennio Morricone and Arvo Pärt into a post-rock template that was still in its formative stages, characterized a whole section of the scene, influencing a swathe of young artists, rock and otherwise.

Mi Media Naranja is undoubtedly the band’s high point, building on the smudged drone of their first few albums and giving it focus, restraint, and an incredible layer of detail. Their influences are sometimes stripped back to the tiniest elements – the light rhythmic thud of dub in ‘G’ or the subtle electronic treatments of ‘I’ – only revealing themselves on repeat listens.

Shoaib Rahman
Reader of things. Founder of Fadewblogs.

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