Russian Circles Empros

Russian Circles Empros
Fourth time out, Chicago, IL post-metallers Russian Circles sum up the past while charting a new way forward. After pumping out Station and Geneva in quick succession, the band took two full years to release Empros and the results are a fine amalgamation of the former's power with the latter's beauty. Opener "309" wastes no time dropping Tool-esque riffs that run throughout its nine minutes, bleeding into the triumphant build of "Mlàdek." But "Schiphol," featuring delicate melodies and heavy guitar drones, is the album's centerpiece, where the trio's keen sense of restraint and attack comes to the forefront. Subsequent tracks, although still very strong individually, feel like lesser songs coming after "Schiphol." However, Empros is still a triumph, a release that should please both post-metal die-hards and casual fans alike. (Sargent House)