Russian Circles


Russian Circles are a band whose elemental simplicity—one guitar, one bass and some drums—and similarity to other instrumental post-metal outfits—Pelican, Isis, Mogwai, et al—belies their tremendously unique sound. The technique honed on the band’s two previous full-lengths has become an exact science on Geneva, with walls of molten guitars and tumultuous drums, segueing smoothly into atmospheric, effects-laden passages, and vice versa. Not exactly cutting-edge musical innovation, but Russian Circles go well beyond the typical Sturm und Drang employed by the aforementioned bands. On Geneva, the gentle passages are exceptionally so, accented by occasional strings and horns, and exhibiting a compositional patience sometimes lacking in instrumental guitar rock. The exacting craft is applied in even greater measure to the album’s loud passages, which balance volcanic riffs worthy of the blackest doom band with decidedly epic, triumphant moments of melodic resolution. The absence of vocals can often make an album worth of material seem to run together, and this is indeed the case with Geneva; there is no standout “single” or one recommended track. However, listened to from start to finish in uninterrupted sequence, the album itself stands as a momentous musical work, a spectacular monolith of symphonic metal.