Russian Circles, Young Widows, Anatomy of Habit 18+ Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard

When: Sat., Dec. 3, 10 p.m. 2011

My main issue with Russian Circles' 2009 album, Geneva, is that it lacks the urgency of previous efforts Station and especially Enter. For me at least, atmospheric instrumental metal had better grab you from the get-go; otherwise it threatens to become a wash of guitar echoes and ride-cymbal-laden beats that work better as blankets of pleasant background noise than as crushing jams that seize your brain with an eerie, inescapable sense of impending doom. On the new Empros (Sargent House), this local trio nails it, dropping its best effort since Enter and getting right down to business from the very first snare hit of "309," the album's epic, charging opener. Guitarist Mike Sullivan layers his instrument atop itself with the help of an impressive pedal board, constructing circling riffs and intricate delay effects in the depths of each song as he noodles away in the foreground; bassist Brian Cook adds body and heft with his growling, demonic crunch. With the annual winter dread setting in—and I'm not even trying to get heavy here—I could not be more in the mood for this album. "Mladek" is just as impressive as "309," ending with a chug-chug mess of freakish noise that segues perfectly into the haunting acoustic line of "Schipol." Empros is awesomely well constructed, ebbing and flowing with merciless efficiency—over and over, it builds up an almost unbearable tension before exploding into a wall of loud. Shit, it's good. —Kevin Warwick Young Widows and Anatomy of Habit open.

Price: $15, $13 in advance

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