Russian Circles – Guidance album review

Chicago’s instrumental survivors Russian Circles keep their horizons in sight with new album

Russian Circles, 'Guidance' album cover

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More than a decade after their inception, Russian Circles are almost the last men standing from the mid-00s instrumental, post-metal movement.

If you’ve been a longtime fan then Guidance will certainly satisfy you.

Featuring a predictably brilliant production job from Kurt Ballou, who brings a warmth to the sound while leaving in the splintered edges, packed with seductively lumbering bass from Brian Cook and full of some Mastodon-level riffs from guitarist Mike Sullivan, Guidance expertly straddles everything that this genre has to offer, with the haunting accordion underpinning the might of Calla even offering something unexpected. If there’s any criticism, then it’s that Russian Circles are capable of spreading the sonic palette out into even wider territories, as Cult Of Luna and Julie Christmas did on Mariner, and they themselves did with Chelsea Wolfe on Memorial. If they had, then Guidance could have been a modern classic. As it is, this is just another very good Russian Circles record.

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.