Russian Circles - Geneva
Record Label - Suicide Squeeze
Release Date - October 20, 2009
When it comes to listening to a Russian Circles album, it seems that there is always a time when the album just grabs you, and it is forever engraved in your mind. This moment doesn't always come right away, but once it does, you realize the sheer amount of talent and energy that goes into making this intense atmospheric music. For those who don't know, Russian Circles are a three piece instrumental rock band from Chicago who formed in 2004, and already have two records under their belt and are about to release their third album Geneva. Their first album Enter was one of those albums that grabbed you instantly, and its overall chaotic nature allowed listeners to discover something new with every listen. Their follow up Station was a much more split effort that balanced the slow-moving numbers with the more thunderous numbers like "Youngblood." The album took a little longer for the moment to come where you understand where the band was heading. With Geneva the band seems to have finally struck the perfect balance between melodic and turbulent songs that tend to take the listener on a journey that fills your head with all kinds of fantastic imagery. The experience can be like being on some wonderful drug without any harmful side effects. Headphones are optional here but come highly recommended.
The album begins with the ambient "Fathom," whose opening recalls the music to the psychopathic Joker from last summers The Dark Knight before the subtle but effective drumming of Dave Turncrantz pushes the song to the brink, though never quite letting it explode. It is the semi-calm before the storm as the next song is Russian Circles at their absolute best. With the title track, the band erupts into full-on instrumental pleasure. The song moves along at a breakneck pace as the guitar, bass, and drums combine to create a swirling amalgamation of sounds that will leave the listener breathless. Next song "Melee" is a slower jam that eventually settles into a hypnotizing groove before again smattering the senses with another collage of sounds. "Hexed All" is definitely the albums slowest and most moving number. It is another one of those songs that can draw you in and allow you to appreciate all its intricacies with more listens. The break from the intensity is again short lived as "Malko" is a violent barrage of sounds that makes it sound like an emergency where something should be done to stop it – yet everyone knows it is inevitably going to destroy you every time. The album closes with a reworked version of "Philios" – a song originally released on a split with These Arms Are Snakes last year. The new version is about three minutes longer, and its new piano sections really put it ahead of the previously released version.
Geneva is truly a beast of an album that constantly dazzles and delights with every play. It has already become a huge contender for one of my top ten of the year, and if you are a fan of instrumental music, or just music in general, then you really need to give it a listen.