Russian Circles – ‘Guidance’ [Review]

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Sometimes words get in the way when you’re trying to say something. Emotion is preverbal, whether we’re dealing with joy, anger, grief, bliss, or depression. We feel something – then we express it somehow.

Russian Circles’ back catalogue is perfect proof of the fact that you don’t need to be lyrically verbose in order to make a statement or pose a question. These guys are masters of moving listeners without actually telling them to move. Listening to Guidance, it’s hard not to be struck by the fact that music alone can speak volumes.

Whether you’re a veteran of the instrumental world or a curious newcomer, it’s important to retain a sense of awe at this kind of achievement. Without it, everything can feel too numb to bear.

Guidance is the kind of album best listened to without distraction. It’s worth unplugging your modem, tearing yourself away from the political chaos clogging the news and social media, and even turning your phone off in order to block out anything that could possibly pull you away from a gorgeous, often haunting, and utterly immersive experience. It’s worth the effort.

From Asa’s warm pads and bell-like, borderline classical cleans to Vorel’s menacing, doom-laden riffs, Mota’s chipper palm muting and bouncy grooves, Afrika’s intense textures, Overboard’s serene swells, Calla’s gritty tones and twisted 6/8-based polyrhythms, and Lisboa’s long chords crammed with dissatisfaction, you’re looking at one hell of a journey topped off with distortion and disintegration. How does it feel to return to the Real World after those forty-two minutes away? There’s only one way for you to find out – and I recommend you get on it come August 5.

Russian Circles are post-metal pack leaders for a reason. Guidance is still another reminder. Epic is not enough these days – but this is.

TMMP RATING: 94% (Essential Listening!)

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Posted on 15 July 2016

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