Sunday, October 27, 2013

Album: Russian Circles - Memorial

Band: Russian Circles
Album: Memorial
Label: Sargent House
Year: 2013

01. Memoriam
02. Deficit
03. 1777
04. Cheyenne
05. Burial
06. Ethel
07. Lebaron
08. Memorial
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Perhaps the most immediately apparent characteristic of the fifth RUSSIAN CIRCLES album, Memorial is its wide range of emotion. Vacillating from somber-yet-soaring melodies on one track to pummeling metal heft on the next, Memorial sounds like an album with split personalities. Where one song showcases guitarist Mike Sullivan, drummer Dave Turncrantz and bassist/keyboardist Brian Cook’s mastery of lush melancholic melody, the next exhibits their most abrasive underground metal leaning sound, with washed-out 16th-note riffs and crushing rhythms. The band’s penchant for endless hooks remains a constant, but Memorial embodies their most dramatic ranges in tone. In search of such a streamlined sound, the trio focused on each individual song having its own emotional and musical characteristics. As such, Memorial almost feels like stages of grief. That notion might be aided by the album’s clever structuring, in which it ends in the same place as it starts, and special guest vocalist Chelsea Wolfe lending her hauntingly somber vocals to the album closing title track.

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