Sunday, 15 February 2015

Russian Circles "Memorial" (2013)

Russian Circles are an American three piece instrumental Post-Metal band from Chicago who formed over ten years ago in 2004. This is their fifth full length release and my first exposure to this band who are receiving much critical acclaim at this moment in time. "Memorial" has been a curious listen for me, a slow burner of which my appreciation for has steadily grown with each passing listen. Its one that calmly drifts into the background, yet with more familiarity becomes increasingly captivating and indulgent. Its a bi-polarizing record that can be gentle and soothing in its calmer, melodic moments and morose in its dark and heavy passages that are orchestrated through dense atmospheres of metallic shoe-gazing.

With no room for cheap tricks, hooks or verse chorus structures, Russian Circles create a constant evolution of sound where each moment feel as relevant as the next. Each song expands and contracts, grows and flourishes in climactic glory before fizzling out in a wash of atmosphere that leads into the next moment. The guitars sound enormous as they wrap there selfs in layers of thick sound, achieved by reverb and echoing effects that amplify and build up the grand moods. The drumming is a commanding and driving force that guides these songs too their destination with thoughtful rhythms and crashing symbols that create a thick layer of noise above the thoughtfully composed base snare grooves that subtly magnitude the music without crashing into the spotlight.

Across the eight songs the group offer a diversity of unraveling ideas that in a fair few darker moments utilize some common Metal riffing styles in the most uncharacteristic of ways. It ends with an extension of the opening track, featuring Chelsea Wolfe's vocals that tease a glorious compliment between the two musical forces. At no point in this record is their a moment where the instrumental arrangement is questioned, but her voice brings them to another level. Its an interesting way to end the record which has proved to be an artistic endeavor of rich atmospheres and dense sounds. Although not every track hits the same level of indulgence, its a record that continues to grow on me with every listen.

Favorite Songs: Deficit, 1777, Lebaron, Memorial
Rating: 7/10