Monday 1 August 2016

Russian Circles - Guidance (Album Review)

Release date: August 05th 2016. Label: Sargent House. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Guidance – Tracklisting


Band Members:

Dave Turncrantz, Mike Sullivan, Brian Cook


Guidance, the sixth album from Russian Circles sees the Chicago based instrumental three piece honing their sound into an even sharper form while at the same time, sees them becoming even grander in scope and execution. With every album since the bands debut Enter in 2006, they have broadened their instrumental sound to include ever expansive sounds and they have gone even further in doing this with Guidance.

The album ranges in both sounds and musical emotions, from the opening salvation of Asa to the closing peak of powerful beauty that is Lisboa and all that is in between,especially the stunning Overboard, a song that is packed full of vigour and the majestic Vorel.

The albums centrepoint and undoubted highlight is the initially uplifting Mota, a song that climbs and climbs with a sound that exudes positivity until shifting and eventually descending into a carefully controlled bass led transcendence and a pummelling finale and this works extremely well and spurs the song onto an even greater glory. This compelling end morphs perfectly into the following track Afrika, a song that again, is serene at first and then transforms into a more mammoth composition. Afrika is a driving and uplifting track that is full of redeeming anthemic qualities and serves to highlight the contrast and power of the Russian Circles sound, something that happens again and again on Guidance.

It has to be said that bassist Brian Cooks recent work with Sumac appears to have had a bearing on this album as there is, at certain times, an added aggression to both his bass playing and the heaviness on the album but is perfectly balanced by the more peaceful sounds on Guidance, and it has to be said that even these more peaceful sounds have an added power to them. Every time though, when the sound turns more mellow, the continuation of that heaviness is never far away and adds to the tense atmosphere that prevails and makes Guidance such a compelling listen.

The playing in the album is superb all the way through and highlights how tight the band are when performing together and you can sense a connection between all three members that results in how good the album sounds.

Guidance is a powerful album throughout with an heaviness that is epic in its vision and that is a vision that is powerfully executed from beginning to end and Russian Circles, as they have done since their inception have upped the ante with these seven tracks of instrumental post metal brilliance.

Words by Gavin Brown

Thanks to Rachel at Silver PR for the promo. Guidance will be out to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Sargent House from August 05th 2016.