Russian Circles


(Sargent House)

Chicago trio Russian Circles are an unusual combination of post-rock and heavy metal, like Godspeed You! Black Emperor with tattoos and bulging biceps.

The instrumentals on their sixth album Guidance (issued, like its predecessors, with a laconic one-word title) mix the twin styles in supple ways.

“Mota” opens in post-rock mode with brooding guitar themes and scattered explosions of drums, before shifting gear to thrash metal, announced midway through by a bristling bass line.

“Overboard” is comparatively gentle, a nuanced exercise in geometric guitar melodies and drones; in contrast, “Vorel” is ferocious doom-metal built around flayed riffs and monumental drumming.

The combination of power and finesse lives up to the sport from which the band derives its name: a “Russian circle” is an ice hockey drill.

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