Russian Circles: Memorial

Post rock instrumentalists get back in touch with their feelings

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While the use of vocals might be seen as a must within rock and metal, the space its absence leaves arguably has more potential in terms of creating a response. At its most powerful instrumental music manages to move the listener on a more fundamental emotional level.

Post-rock/post-metal trio Russian Circles have long understood this and proved as much, not least on 2008’s excellent Station. While 2011’s Empros lost some of that emotive power, trading it in for a more punishing delivery, Memorial combines the best of both worlds and gives us exactly what we want from a Russian Circles album: a dynamic musical journey.

Early numbers in particular are decidedly metallic, with Deficit and 1777 crashing down and making you feel like a boat caught at sea during a storm. But the waves soon recede, making way for the shimmering guitars of songs like Ethel and the glorious closing title track with its indecipherable female voices.