The concepts on Russian Circles’ Station are far from new—this particular genre being dominated by power names like Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, and Dungen—but in comparison, there seems to be more going on here thanks to an added guitar or two. Like EitS, Russian Circles lacks vocals, such that the emphasis is, of course, on the instrumentation and a play on loud versus soft.
The album begins with “Campaign”, a song that fades in so slowly it may take nearly a minute to realize there’s actually music pouring forth from your speakers or headphones. The song methodically drones through several minutes of intricate guitar parts before fading out and into “Harper Lewis”. Where “Campaign” was proggy, “Harper Lewis” nears the instrumental metal… or, instru-metal, if you will.
“Station” follows the path of “Harper Lewis”, blending metal with elements of instrumental prog and post rock. “Verses”, on the other hand, maintains the prog and post rock elements but leaves behind the metal for a sound much more similar to that found on “Campaign”.
Despite the two slightly different sounds, this does not detract from the album, rather it sets the stage for Stations to rock your face off in two respects: one with a focus on the enormity of distortion, and the other on the epicness of drone-ridden noise. These two sounds, in fact, come together in “Youngblood” before the album closes on a softer, more relaxed note in “Xavii”.
However you look at it, be prepared: this shit’s loud!
This review was originally published May 29, 2008 on the old version of FensePost.
Suicide Squeeze [CD, 2008]
2. Harper Lewis