I'm quite sure don't need to introduce Chicago's Russian Circles. The trio has been around for a while, about twelve years to be exact. During that time, they stubbornly worked their way to the top of the post-rock/post-metal scene, which eventually took them to the mainstage of this year's edition of Dunk! festival, among others. It's there when I actually first noticed them. I knew the name, I knew their music but they never seemed so particularly special to me, until that one performance at Dunk! festival.
Shortly after the festival, I received emails with new Russian Circles songs, which I gladly shared with the world. Slowly, I was being lured into their immersive, cinematic and dramatic instrumentals. Today, I love to dwell in these pictorial textures, even though here and there things can get a bit too overwhelming and somewhat chaotic. 'Vorel' and 'Afrika' are stunning pieces of work, breathing the headstrong quality of Russian Circles and adding flashes of black metal, doom, drone-ambient and psychedelic rock into their well-known style.
It's clear that Russian Circles master their art. even in seamlessly inornate tracks like 'Overboard' they succeed in telling a story, evoking an emotion. I'd even goes as far as naming this track one of my favorites on this album, without harming the massive energy blasts from the other tracks. Some of these tunes certainly got me banging my head. Besides, there's something about 'Calla' that reminds me of my all-time favorite band, Kong, from the Netherlands. Perhaps that's why this album impresses me as much as it does.
So yes, I'm convinced now. Russian Circles are a world-class act and they deserve every compliment that's coming to them. There is a big chance that this album will eventually end up in my "best-of-2016" list but, in good Merchants Of Air tradition, they will still have to compete for the number one spot. Fact remains, I love the album and I adore the dark-jazzy/doomy closer 'Lisboa'. Obviously, this comes highly recommended for any fan of Russian Circles and post-whatever in general, but you probably already guessed that...