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Russian Circles - Memorial CD (album) cover

MEMORIAL

Russian Circles

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.39 | 29 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
3 stars This is a tough album to review for me. I've been a fan of Russian Circles for quite some time now and even though I've had issues with some of the band's material in the past it was mostly minor complains in comparison to my reactions to Memorial.

After the release of the marvelous Empros, I was ectatic on hearing more from the direction that the band were heading for. Will they continue in their instrumental style or will they add vocals to some of their songs, just like they did on Praise Be Man? Will the band return to the more aggressive style that was heard on early albums, Enter and Station, or will we hear even more material resembling traditional post rock style? Will the new album be able to top the achievements of Empros?

Memorial starts with a short prelude as we are transition to the album's two longer pieces - Deficit and 1777 . The transition from Memoriam to Deficit feels very abrupt, which is quite unusual for a band that is known for fluent and transcendent instrumental pieces. Deficit is a heavy track that fits quite well with the album cover which depicts a harsh but beautiful landscape shot. Some sections of the track brings the band back to the early achievements on Station but I lack the overall coherence from the beginning to the end of the track. 1777 feels a lot more structured but it lacks the memorable punch that I require of my Russian Circle experience. The overall sound is a lot more dreamy and less catchy than what I've come to expect from the trio, still in no way a bad piece of music.

The rest of the album consists of tracks that are between 4-5 minutes long and, starting with Cheyenne, I immediately began to see the general problem with Memorial as an album. The record lacks the feel of consistency and most of the music featured on the second half of the album feels more like experimental ideas rather than full-fledged compositions. I've been trying to enjoy this record ever since it was released in 2013 and I've really been struggling with it. The material that is presented here isn't bad but I lack the distinct Russian Circles flavor that the band are usually able to bring to the table. Even the collaboration with Chelsea Wolfe on the album's title track feels out of place with the rest of the record and would have worked better as a stand alone single.

Even though this record has been somewhat of a disappointment for me, I'm still very interested in hearing what Russian Circles will deliver on their next record. Hopefully they'll take one step back in order to leap two steps forwards, hence return to the format that was featured on Empros and improve upon it.

**** star songs: Memoriam (1:28) Deficit (6:42) 1777 (7:21) Burial (4:43) Ethel (4:03) Lebaron (4:36)

*** star songs: Cheyenne (4:24) Memorial (3:45)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |

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