Russian Circles
Memorial


5.0
classic

Review

by David Driver USER (79 Reviews)
November 1st, 2013 | 146 replies | 15,446 views


Release Date: 10/29/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Oh, another Russian Circles release? Let me break out the pom-poms...

9 of 10 thought this review was well written

If you sawed my brain out of my head and slapped it into a glass jar filled with green liquid, hooked it up to a computer and proceeded to analyze my taste in music, only to create a band out of my own personal tastes, I’m sure Russian Circles would pop right out. We all have a band that speaks to us in that way (or movie or artist or whatever the case may be), and for me, Russian Circles is the musical equivalent of a customizable character in a video game, or the “last meal” in prison that we can create from scratch. With each new album, Russian Circles seems to tweak their sound and evolve with each record, and Memorial, the band’s fifth full-length, continues Russian Circle’s dominance in the genre, and in my opinion, in music as a whole.

This time around, one will notice that Memorial is notably more sour and darker than the band’s previous efforts. After acoustic intro “Memoriam”, “Deficit” kicks things off in classic Russian Circles style, complete with layered guitars, mammoth riffs, thick bass fuzz and off-center drum fills. The slow, menacing riffs eventually speed-up and build into a choppy, cut-throat riff with explosions of guitar feedback and strings in the background. “1777”, one of the band’s finer cuts in recent memory, plays up the band's ability to create an engrossing, thick atmosphere that plants the listener somewhere dark and cold, far away from their living room chair. The use of strings, absent on their previous effort Empros, are back in full force, with explosions erupting twice through the established soft surroundings, causing a beautiful, unnerving, hair-raising experience. Truly, this band is one of the best at pulling you in, but they aren’t afraid to take you right out.

For those long-time fans, what’s new for Russian Circles this time around on Memorial is their focus on creating songs more around an idea and a feeling than anything riff-based. “Cheyenne” and closer “Memorial” do a tremendous job of being subtle and subdued, and make an effort to float through the timespans with not much happening at all, creating more of a textural, mood-based experience. This is something that hasn’t been done a lot in past records, but the band pulls it off with finesse, and ends up being just as satisfying as any structured offering.

Finally, the middle trio of “Burial”, “Ethal” and “Lebaron” show Russian Circles doing their trademark heaviness and silky guitar leads without the trademark length. More focused and cut-throat, these songs are more to-the-point than anything found on their earlier work, but it isn’t to say that it’s a bad thing. “Burial” is a savage display, with fast guitar-picking rampaging through most of the song, “Ethal” is a stripped-down number with a flush, bright guitar lead, while “Lebaron” is one of the band’s heaviest songs in their entire catalogue, capturing the band's new darker, almost evil, approach in tones, sounds and riffs.

With every new Russian Circles release, I’m almost ashamed to listen to it. Honestly. Surely there’s a flaw to be found, maybe I can convince myself that things in a certain song really don’t work, or this riff is out of place or this tone is off-point, but at the end of the day, there’s nothing negative to say. I can’t say anything bad about this band. With a complete focus for the perfection of their craft, off-the-charts musicianship, and total uniqueness that these guys provide over everyone else, I’m convinced that this band was created in a lab, grown from seeds and bioengineered with my musical tastes in mind. Is it the best album of the year? It’s up for you to decide. Is it one of the best album’s I’ve ever heard? I think it goes without saying.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Beauville88
November 1st 2013



217 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I always avoided writing a review for this band, simply because I feel it would come off as "WOW THIS BAND CAN DO NO WRONG MARRY ME".

And it kinda does.

But this doesn't have a review yet, so fuck it.

ti0n
November 1st 2013



1377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

This is quite boring unfortunately

Gyromania
November 1st 2013



15200 Comments


i liked empros so i'll check this out. that mladek song was soooooooooo good

Underflow
November 1st 2013



2527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

2nd best Russian Circles.

Gyromania
November 1st 2013



15200 Comments


first sentence is a really weird thing to say

TooLateToGoBack
November 1st 2013



1753 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

closing track with Chelsea Wolfe is perfect.

zaruyache
November 1st 2013



5899 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I listened to the leak once and it was really boring on a first listen. I have to try this again sometime but I really don't have high hopes of changing my opinion. :/

Digging: Sunwolf - Beholden To Nothing And No One

Veldin
November 1st 2013



1071 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love Geneva so I'll defiantly check this out. Good review!

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RogueNine
November 1st 2013



1151 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

"Bioengineered with musical tastes in mind" could go for me as well. And yet I haven't listened to this, mainly because I'm anxious and need to find a day where I can do nothing but listen to it.

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
November 1st 2013



6066 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album is duhooooope

Digging: Your Old Droog - Your Old Droog

EaglesBecomeVultures
November 1st 2013



5194 Comments


=/

Digging: FKA twigs - LP1

Uqnivde
November 1st 2013



64 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Their best imo.

Calc
November 1st 2013



12026 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

first sentence is a really weird thing to say [2]

and album is way too monotonous for a 5


Digging: Kashiwa Daisuke - April. #02

dupuisj8
November 1st 2013



62 Comments


Interesting, I was gonna pass on this album after I heard it's single before it came out. This makes me want to check it out now

hiyabootchie
November 1st 2013



339 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm sure it's decent because its Russian Circles but objectively it's probably not a 5

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slidenslip
November 1st 2013



1016 Comments


entry lebel

VinVal
November 2nd 2013



644 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm glad to see this finally got a review, well written mate. Love how 'Memorial' throws you right back to the first track, and they really couldn't have picked a better female vocalist to add to the atmosphere. Deff top 10 of this year.

XingKing
November 2nd 2013



10069 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

If you don't already love Russian Circles, this is certainly not going to change your mind. That said, I fucking love this record and it's probably in my top 5 of the year

CynicalComplex
November 2nd 2013



54 Comments


As far as I'm concerned, this album starts at Cheyenne. Ethel is awesome; already liking this better than Empros.

TheBarber
November 2nd 2013



1699 Comments


Empros was a good jam and from what people are saying this is promising

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