Russian Circles, 'Empros' (Sargent House)

7
Empros
Critical Mass
Release Date: October 25, 2011
Label: Sargent House

by christopherschultz

These Chicago post-metal hypnotists spent three albums navigating the ?Oceanic waters of ambient-metal innovators Isis. But here, Russian Circles update that repetitive, feel-good churn for gunkier times, adopting the blown-out blear of black metal plus some adrenalized bass-drum stutter-rawk, for good measure. Though crunching at their heaviest, the band still shines brightest when they edge toward indie-rock approachability: "Mladek" levitates like U2 taking an echoey stab at Tool's Undertow, while the bleary-eyed, spectral coda "Praise Be Man" could fit right alongside Liars' brooding best.

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