Russian Circles are great. Even in a genre as pensive as post-rock, the Chicago trio manage to show devastating power without letting it totally encapsulate their sound. There is an incredible amount of skill required to walk that line between a subdued sound and ear-splitting ferocity, so when Russian Circles come out with a track like Afrika, there’s reason to be impressed.
The single is being released in the lead up to the arrival of Guidance, their sixth studio album, in just over a weeek. Afrika is an exceptional example of what post-rock can be. It’s no doubt that Russian Circles know how to make great stuff, with their previous record Memorial standing tall as one of the best albums of 2013 and remaining a steadfast entry in the post-rock canon. Their style of pushing their sound to the very edge of chaos while still retaining control is something that a lot of bands attempt, but only a select few can master (those who have mastered it include the illustrious Swans).
That style is epitomised in this track, with heavy elements lying just below the surface but never erupting or overwhelming the listener. You can judge for yourself by listening to to the track below, and check out the trailer for Guidance while you’re at it. If this doesn’t leave you excited for what may well be one of the albums of the year, I don’t know what will.
Image: Russian Circles