Russian Circles - Guidance (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Russian Circles

Guidance (2016)

sargent house

When the apocalypse hits, where will you be? 

Mogwai, Caspian, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Alcest are bands that come to mind when painting those final scenes -- the chaos, brutality and the beauty of it all. Russian Circles are right up there with them, and I'll be honest, apart from Station and Memorial I've really slept on them. Guidance not only reignites that interest and gets me to jump back into the albums I missed, but as per the title, it's a punishing haze of instrumental post-rock that feels like it's guiding us into the warmth and white light when everything expires. 

From the light and atmospheric "Asa" to the aggressive "Vorel", Russian Circles continue to be that unpredictable comfort they've always been. Post-metal, hardcore and a bunch of other genres married with a technical precision that's unparalleled. They vary their sound here pretty well too with punishing riffs, picky sections and smooth, slick melodies a la "Mota". This emphasizes that the Chicago trio are a cohesive unit, ebbing and flowing as one with Kurt Ballou overseeing what's the best I've heard from them. It feels the same, yet fresh and inviting. It's accessible to lovers of all genres and as "Lisboa" wraps, it brings together every aspect of the band and their revolving styles, punctuating that noise is sometimes what we need to sooth us on those dark, dreary nights.