RUSSIAN CIRCLES — Empros (review)

RUSSIAN CIRCLES — Empros album cover Album · 2011 · Metal Related Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
The Angry Scotsman
A throwback to their debut album.

Which also happens to be my favorite by them. The proceeding two Russian Circles albums are quite good, just different treading more into post rock territory, largely dropping their bass heavy, sludgy sound. This style however, makes a roaring comeback on "Empros".

I first popped this CD in and listened on the drive home from work, and it was so bassy I was afraid the car was going to fall apart! Rare time I had to turn the volume down, (maybe the first time out of fear, HA!). Seriously, that sludgy, bassy heaviness is back. In fact it may be their most bludgeoning album yet.

Before release the band claimed influence from legends Neurosis and Swans, so glad to see they delivered. However, this is Russian Circles and their beautiful melodies and mellow song writing are still very present, contrasted with the sonic pummelings, all perfectly woven together into atmospheric, progressive songs. Another post metal classic from the Chicago group.

The guitar and bass work is obviously great, and the drumming is great. Loud and intense. Like many "post" bands it is fairly straightforward yet appropriate, and powerful. It is more intense, however, than the standard post metal album. It is this more intense drumming that gave their debut that extra appeal compared to so many others for me.

Taking a page from the Book of Pelican, Russian Circles moves from instrumental island and throws some vocals on the final track. They are dreamy and drifting, what he's saying I have no idea, but the voice is another instrument filling in the space. We all know that's more the intent anyway, am I right?

"Empros" is a heavy, sludgy, post metal album that moves with its classic mid tempo pace through a slow crescendo. There is some great riffing, drumming and the songwriting is atmospheric and perfect. A bit less riff oriented then their debut, while I appreciate the ambiance the less variation holds the album back just a tad. Other than that, another good effort from Russian Circles.

Four Stars
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