Chicago trio Russian Circles return with another fierce album, their sixth. Guidance continues down the frighteningly-tight instrumental pathway they’ve been honing for years, building again and again to brute-power post-metal crescendos. A dense and writhing mass to thrill and excite. Released by Sargent House.
Vinyl LP £21.49 SH159LP
Gatefold LP on Sargent House.
- Includes download code
CD £11.49 SH158CD
Digipak CD on Sargent House.
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- Guidance by Russian Circles
If post-rock was an animal it’d be a baby polar bear. Look how cute; look how it eats everything.
I totally came up with this atrocious analogy while playing through the new Russian Circles record. One of the genre’s more metal-oriented bands -- or at least more adored by the m/ subsection of its fans -- they clambour to their feet with nimble, wide-eyed guitar before chugging and thrashing and generally indulging something closer to sludge punishment. The shift from “Asa” to “Vorel” is kind of staggering -- it’s not merely a quiet-loud dynamic, as per EITS or This Will Destroy You, the band instead shuddering out tones and invoking a violent change of colour in the sky. It is, of course, disproportionately epic, the final screeching guitar oscillations of “Vorel” feeling way, way overboard, and way happy about it.
For fans of Russian Circles earlier work, this shouldn’t be cause for much concern or even head-turning -- all you need to know is they’ve probably procured their most emotive work here, with the blaring chords and fret-flickers of “Mora” sounding as melodramatic as my favourite Embrace records. When the music is this beautiful, I kinda wish they wouldn’t get enveloped in the scorched-earth metal that seems to consume every other track’s second half. I'll take the crescendo but not the crunch -- we saw how Deafheaven turned out.
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