Psychedelic Rock vs Post Rock: Which is Better?

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A lot of people seem to think that psychedelic rock and post rock are two completely different genres. But are they really all that different? Let’s take a look at the two genres and see which one is better.


Psychedelic rock and post rock are two genres of rock music that have often been compared to one another. Both genres feature extended, trance-like instrumental sections and a focus on atmosphere and texture, but there are also some important differences between the two.

Psychedelic rock is generally more indebted to traditional rock song structures, while post rock is more experimental and often features longer, meandering tracks. Post rock bands also tend to make greater use of electronics and non-traditional instrumentation, while psychedelic rock is more reliant on guitars and drums.

So which genre is better? That’s a matter of personal taste, but both have a lot to offer fans of rewarding, ambitious music.

What is Psychedelic Rock?

Psychedelic rock, also referred to as “psychedelia”, is a style of rock music that emerged in the mid-1960s and became prominent in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The genre is marked by a heavy use of distorted guitars, feedback, and various other effects, often creating a “trippy” or “psychedelic” sound.

Characteristics of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock is a musical genre that emerged in the mid-1960s as artists sought to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. Psychedelic songs typically have Optical illusions-based imagery and sound effects, such as backwards tapes, sitars, and electronic synthesizers, which create a “trippy”, “dreamlike” or “hypnotic” atmosphere.

Notable Psychedelic Rock Bands

Psychedelic rock, also referred to as psychedelia, is a diverse style of rock music that was inspired, influenced, or representative of psychedelic culture, which is centered around perception-altering hallucinogenic drugs. The music is intended to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs, most notably LSD. Many psychedelic groups differ in style, and the label is often applied spuriously.

Psychedelic rock reached its peak popularity in the late 1960s, but had a significant impact on many other genres of rock music, including acid rock, jam band, krautrock, neo-psychedelia, punk rock, and space rock.

Some of the most notable and influential psychedelic rock bands include:

The Beatles: The Beatles are often credited as being one of the first and most influential psychedelic bands. They incorporated elements of Indian music and culture into their later work, particularly on their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album was revolutionary for its time and is often considered one of the greatest albums ever made.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Jimi Hendrix was a virtuoso guitarist who pushed the boundaries of what was possible on the instrument. His band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, released three groundbreaking albums in just two years: Are You Experienced (1967), Axis: Bold as Love (1967), and Electric Ladyland (1968). Hendrix’s mind-bending guitar playing and experimental approach to songwriting were hugely influential on subsequent generations of musicians.

The Doors: The Doors were one of the most controversial bands of their time thanks to their dark lyrical themes and singer Jim Morrison’s antics onstage. Their debut album, The Doors (1967), contained hits like “Light My Fire” and “Break On Through (To the Other Side),” which helped propel them to superstardom. The band’s 1967 album Strange Days is also considered a classic of the genre.

What is Post Rock?

Post rock is a type of rock music that is characterized by its use of non-traditional rock instruments and time signatures. This type of rock music is often known for its atmospheric qualities and its use of repetition.

Characteristics of Post Rock

Post-rock groups are often identified with the lengthy, repetitive and experimental nature of their compositions, which is sometimes seen in contrast with more concise rock songs. The instrumental approach of most post-rock groups contrasts with the style of normal bands; instead, song structures build melody and atmospheres through the interplay of the instruments. This atmosphere may be particularly evident on tracks that avoid percussion instruments completely.

The term “post-rock” is sometimes used interchangeably with “art rock”, “experimental rock” or “avant-rock”.

Characteristics of Post Rock:
– lengthier, more repetitive compositions
– focus on atmosphere and texture over traditional song structure
– use of nontraditional rock instruments like synthesizers, cellos, and violins
– eschews typical pop elements like choruses and hooks in favor of long instrumental passages

Notable Post Rock Bands

#Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Godspeed You! Black Emperor is a Canadian post-rock band formed in Montreal, Quebec in 1994. The band comprises eight musicians, including three guitarists, two drummers, a violinist, and a bassist. The band’s music combines elements of drone, noise rock, and traditional rock instrumentation.

#Explosions in the Sky

Explosions in the Sky is an American post-rock band from Texas, formed in 1999 and currently consisting of Mark T. Smith (guitar, piano, synthesizer), Munaf Rayani (guitar), Michael James (bass) and Chris Hrasky (drums). They have released seven studio albums thus far: How Strange, Innocence (2001), Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever (2002), The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place (2003), All of Us Together (2007), Take Care, Take Care, Take Care (2011) and The Wilderness (2016).


Psychedelic rock and post rock are two very different genres of music. Psychedelic rock is known for its use of distorted guitars, extended solos, and lyrics that are often incomprehensible. Post rock, on the other hand, is known for its use of intricate melodies, complex time signatures, and often long, drawn out songs.

Psychedelic Rock vs Post Rock: Which is Better?

The two genres are similar in that they are both subgenres of rock music that emerged in the 1960s. Psychedelic rock is characterized by its use of feedback, electronics, and mind-altering chemicals, while post rock is known for its use of space and atmosphere. Both genres are associated with acid trips, but post rock is more abstraction while psychedelic rock is more cathartic.

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