Memorial (feat. Chelsea Wolfe)
Over the years, Chicago’s Russian Circles have honed their craft of creating brash, instrumental rock music that can be intimate and subtly emotive—not an easy feat without vocals. They diffuse what can be a disconnect in instrumental music with an organic warmth balancing beauty and beastliness, chaos and serenity. Memorial offers listeners the chance to naval-gaze in a variety of atmospheres: a soft gale of brooding, distorted guitar cedes for echoes of acoustic notes; avalanches of tumbling floor toms roil under staccato guitar shards; classic metal riffs chew up postapocalyptic scenery, letting rays of light stream through. The circling riff of urgency on the monstrous “Deficit” spools out in layers: a regal, elegiac opening shifts almost imperceptibly with a muted buzz of ominous guitar before a stack of drum rolls announces a stream of corrosive, metronomic guitar shards. They change tone slightly, but their intent never waivers. Russian Circles keep raising the bar on their own mixology.