Release Date: May 6, 2008
Record label: Suicide Squeeze
Genre(s): Rock, Experimental
For those who celebrated the intricate heaviness of Russian Circles' debut album, Enter, or better yet saw them devastate live audiences with the sheer metallic roar of it all, Station may seem a little underwhelming -- at first. Brian Cook of Botch/These Arms Are Snakes has replaced bassist Colin DeKuiper (on record at least). That said, one should expect a wall of sonic attack that would make the gods cower, right? Not exactly.
Review Summary: Post rock with power chordsIf you read the self-written biography of Russian Circles posted on their website, you’ll find their humbleness-be damned sound-description includes thesaurus humping words like gargantuan and narrative, with songs that “flow seamlessly from beautiful soft ambience to truly defined melody to massively thick heaviness with a gradual progression that never leaves you lost. ”Geared up for generic post rock yet?Don’t be. In a genre chock full of bands trying to rewrite The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place (with each failure hammering another nail into post rock’s ever-closing coffin), Russian Circles do their damned best to be a breath of fresh air.
Having come out of nowhere in particular, Russian Circles established a pretty striking presence on the strength of a single album. Enter, their 2006 debut, was uncommonly businesslike in its power and malevolence, never uncertain or ambivalent about its next move. It was assembled from the same minimal parts as any record in the catchall post-rock bin – guitar, bass, drums, no vocals – but Russian Circles managed to shrug off the designation because rock was so obviously not where they were coming from.
Not much happens on Russian Circles’ sophomore album. In fact, you’ll be nearly three minutes into the opening “Campaign” before the slowly expanding sound reaches a volume loud enough to grab your attention. At that particular moment, the guitars and drums swell to a glorious crescendo, and then … fall largely silent. This play on dynamics—lots of melodious quietude, punctured occasionally by loud, frenetic exertions—was also evident on the Chicago group’s 2006 debut, Enter.