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Russian Circles - Station CD (album) cover


Russian Circles


Post Rock/Math rock

3.98 | 91 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars I'm quite shocked by the disappointment being expressed by my fellow collaborators regarding Station. What seems to be the general source for this disappointment is that the band is allegedly low on "fresh ideas" and inspiration and that the album lacks the energy of the "hurricane" debut, Enter. Sure, the album as a whole does not contain the fast tempos and consistent heaviness & energy of their debut, but to say that the band has run low on ideas and/or is borderline stereotypical is just plain wrong. What did you guys want? Another Enter? To make your second album like your first would be a sign of lack of ideas. Isn't this a progressive rock website? Russian Circles have created an album that has plenty of new ideas while still maintaining the band's identity. The energy is still here, but it's in smaller portions. The tapping riffs and metallic chugs are still here. It's all still here; it's just applied differently. And if I remember correctly (and I do), Enter had plenty of soft passages with delay effects on a clean guitar. The band is is using the same palette as before, they've just added a couple new colors and they're painting a new piece of art.

Let's take a quick look at the brilliance of the writing on Station: "Campaign" opens the album soft, slow and brooding led by a nice tapping riff. The atmosphere is thick and tense. The band very effectively teases the listeners waiting for that eruption with swells, fades and builds throughout the entire first half of the track. And just when you're certain they're going to burst, they bust a move on you, enveloping you with sheer beauty. Leaving a loose end, the band sets out to satiate the drooling listener with "Harper Lewis." The band continues to build tension with an ominous tom beat driven opening. A faint backdrop of sound gives way to a sinister bassline complimented by guitar swells a few measures later. Shortly thereafter, the rhythm section cuts out in a similar fashion as the preceding track, and we're certain the band is going to cut the tension any second. Certain becomes fairly certain as the drums begin a steady beat and the band seems to just carry on with what they're doing until the rhthm section cuts out again. This time it's for real. And they slam you down hard! With some chugs and then some taps, the band resolves the tension perfectly for the next minute and then brings it back down to let the listener regain their senses. The final leg of the track is a big build that is more of a set of steps than an continuous build. It becomes very unsettling as the guitar strums out chords comprised of the root notes in the earlier tapping riff and then ring out, allowing the song to end with another drum beat. The band has the listener in a stranglehold, playing with their mind and emotions. The uneasy feeling in the listener generated by the multiple teasers leading to a short lived resolution that still leaves a strange feeling of lacking resolve finally subsides in the following track, "Station." I'm going to stop my analysis there and leave the rest for the readers to experience themselves.

Simply put, the band's use of tension on this disc is phenominal and very effective. Multiple listens will allow the listener to come to terms with the structure of the album. Each song will then become enjoyable by itself and even more so in sequence with the rest of the album.

This album is excellent. Look, I can grant that this album is not as earth-shattering as the debut, but it is still fresh, it is still powerful, it is still emotive, it is still Russian Circles. Those looking for a stagnant band, rehashing old ideas by their second album need not bother. Those looking for a band to tap into different sounds, even some that are reflective of their post-rock peers while still maintiaing a clear identity and never resorting to predictable sonics and structures need bother. This is a well-written and well-executed piece of art. I think the generally tense and unsettling nature of the album has got the other guys a bit befuddled. Don't let that happen to you.

This album isn't necessarily essential listening for all, but I think it is very much a masterpiece in it's own right, as is Enter and its rating seriously needs some aid right now. Hence, five stars!

Moatilliatta | 5/5 |


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