Well, here is another album review that is WAY overdue...
The third LP by Russian Circles is, in a word, more of a grower than the previous two - but if you hang in there and stick with it, this album will yields some pretty impressive moments.
Now, I realize that this opening comment may sound a bit like a guarded recommendation, but in fact I totally love this album. It's just that it took me longer to appreciate its full beauty and merit than Russian Circles' previous two releases, and the reason for this is rather simple. Both "Enter" and "Station" were pretty straightforward in their awesomeness. Tracks like "Death Rides a Horse" and "Station" just leap out of the speakers, grab you by the throat and choke you right the fuck out. These tracks are rather direct in their power to destroy.
Now don't get me wrong. Geneva has a track like this, too - it is the title track. Here is a quote that a very smart character with a rather odd sense of humor
posted last month in the "Now Playing" thread:
- Russian Circles
- In a feat of deadly precision and extreme solidarity, all three members of Russian Circles have simulataneously just
- roundhouse kicked you square in the jaw at the same time. You fall to the floor, limp. Chris Tucker runs over to you,
- bends down and gets right in your face, and screams, "you just got knocked da fuggout!!!" Then he runs away.
- Russian Circles bends over and looks at you, curiously. They say nothing. They never do. They don't have to.
- Then, they turn and look at each other, nod their heads to one another in seeming approval, and quietly walk away.
- Yeah, that just happened.
But seriously, much of the remainder of the album is much more subtle than this. Tracks such as "Fathom" and "Malko" are also directly powerful, but all of the other material is comparatively subdued (for the most part). However, the less brutal songs are, as is often the case with this band, some of the best material on the album because of their sheer beauty.
Case in point: Melee. The opening moments of this song just make me want to weep sometimes. The stick-clicking technique that drummer Dave Turncrantz employs here (and it's not the first time he has, either) is just as catchy as it is technically impressive. Then, the violin enters. Yeah, that's right - fucking violin - and before you go thinking that this song is weak because I said that, you'd better listen before uttering such heresy. Just in case you were wondering, this album also features cello, trumpet and trombone, and each of these decidedly "non-metal" instruments is utilized to perfect effect (a tribute to the songwriting talent on display here).
These guys have always been masters at creating catchy rhythms, soaring melodies, gradual crescendos, crushing climaxes and beautiful interlude sections before crushing your skull yet again with the next emotional maelstrom that waits just around the corner. This album shows Russian Circles just simply getting better and better at this.
True, the eye of the storm in the center of the album (the beautiful "Hexed All") is no crusher, and the second "half" of the album - or the next three tracks - really contain only one powerhouse track ("Malko"), but I think the "in like a lion, out like a lamb" formula works just as well for me here as any other pattern would have.
I mean, basically, this unbelievably skilled trio from Chicago makes me FEEL something huge every time I listen to any of their albums, and Geneva does this no less than the two albums before it. Never having uttered a single word, Russian Circles has repeatedly blown me away with their beautiful, crushing art. You need to listen to this album.