Everything is here. The big riffs, the barrelling drums, the foreboding doom, the post-metal power. ‘Guidance’ contains all the requisite ingredients for Russian Circles, a band on an unrivalled run of form, to lay down another incredible marker. But it falls short. Oh, it’s not desperately wide of the mark but where the Chicago trio usually compose whole songs (or in the case of 2009’s high water mark ‘Geneva’, whole records) that feel essential; here there’s more build up than pay off and it’s mostly fleeting moments that stand out. The rallying, rumbling percussion of ‘Vorel’ promises much, perhaps solely responsible for early reports that this was to be the band’s heaviest outing yet, but despite Brian Cook’s blissful, unique bass tones and producer Kurt Ballou (who has never failed to improve a band’s output) capturing a real live feel , the record never demands your attention.  Almost like an outtake, something deemed good but not quite great enough to make the grade of previous records, ‘Guidance’ is original here, excellent for a minute there, but never once exceptional.


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