Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Russian Circles : " Guidance"

The sixth album from the post-rock trio Russian Circles, carries a sense of maturation to the more nuanced playing showcased within these 7 songs. There is great restraint sometimes almost to a fault as the opening song highlights guitarist Mike Sullivan's chops but feels more like an intro piece that what I was expecting for this album to bust into. "Voral" finds the band locking back into the kind of thundering sludge rumble they are often noted for and really throw in your face live. This album is really well recorded and has a great guitar tone. The bass is a little more buried in the mix on  "Voral" than I would expect from them when they are firing on all cylinders. I'm more impressed though by the balance of ambiance and restrained groove they develop on "Mota". It sounds more like Tool jamming with Mogwai in the way everything is balanced in terms of tension and ethereal breathing room. If you more typical find your self into prog rock, where the emphasis is on the rocking then this one should draw you in. They don't get totally lost in shred geeking, but enough chops are flexed to appeal to that demographic.

The first metallic moment also occurs on "Mota", it's not black metal, but closer to Deafheaven than any other extreme metal band. "Afrika" has more of a floating post-rock atmosphere to it. This makes it less ground than the first three songs on the album. The excellent drumming serves as the glue on this one. Things continue on this same track with "Overboard", almost to a more Explosionsinthesky extent. It might even remind you of when that band got into making soundtracks for televisions shows about high school football, as the melody become much more defined. The bring back the heavy for "Calla".  Even then their understanding of riding the groove for all it's worth is what really drives this song. It's sonically sound and has plenty of grit, but won't go down as being the trio's meanest song.

"Lisboa" brings the mood back down to a more introspective stare into outer space. They are able to pour a convincing amount of emotion into their instruments. They soar into a beautiful climax, but it's not really anything new they are hitting you with. The drumming pounds the point home, but I would not say this is a metal album though it will appeal to the thinking man's metal head. I'll give this album an 8.5, as their fans will not be disappointed unless they were ready for them to take a hard left turn into something really experimental.This album comes out August 5th.


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