Russian Circles - Empros - 5/5
The pure energy and the miasma of emotions of masterfully composed instrumental music. If anyone is even remotely familiar with the work of Russian Circles’ work then they can testify that this band is no stranger to achieving brilliance in its compositions. And although many fans are complaining about their latest offering being not as masterful as their much acclaimed “Enter,” I believe these guys have just hit another zenith of musical expression with this album.
Don’t ask me to categorize their sound into a genre, probably the term of Post metal fits them for now but hardly do they play it with orthodoxy which - unsurprisingly - is their greatest strength. Churning out typhoon like roaring riffs alongside hammering drums and then fusing them oh so sweetly with atmospheric ambient passages has always been their forté but they do use that ability of their with much more diversity this time around. What really impresses me is their use of the bass in their heavy passages which despite the loud character of the guitars still manages to hold a pretty tight hold on the listener. There are plenty of post rock elements on display here as well though they don’t use them as extensively as they did on "Enter" which creates a much more sprawling atmosphere for their music. Don’t let that fool you though; there is enough power and emotion in the composition to let it crush you.
And as I said raw power intelligently portrayed is not the only feature of this work, if anything most of the tracks move like curves speeding up in the tempo, the loudness and the harshness at will. But no matter which direction the music moves in, the transition feels perfectly natural, not a note out of place, not an instrument trying to outshine the other. The softer moments of this album are shaped mostly around baroque like piano pieces and some mesmerizing acoustic guitar work to go with it but that description doesn’t do it justice for it combines plenty of other strange sound effects to make up the atmosphere of the album. The drumming is another impressive feature of this album, bombastic, coherent and yet none too complex for the listener. Not only does the drummer vary his pace intelligently but uses the drums to effectively darken or just energize the atmosphere, bear in mind usually I credit the pianos or the guitars for doing that.
At the end of it I may have rambled on and on and still I don’t think I have done justice in describing this album. What this work carries is just about everything in music, paying tribute to every form of emotion. Try not to worry about genres or “Enter” and just give this one a whirl.
Over the years this has grown into my own personal project, reviewing the artists that I discover and interest me. If you wish to see more of my work, particularly my more metal-orientated material, you can find me as a regular contributor for the online magazine
Posted by T. Bawden Saturday, 18 February 2012