Russian Circles, with Daughters

"Post-rock" may not be the most ridiculous descriptor in contemporary music; I'd cast my vote for either "sadcore" or "neo-prog." Still, the term means next to nothing when it's applied to a band like Russian Circles, which co-stars on this roster with Daughters. On 2006's Enter and the just issued Station, the three, currently comprising guitarist Mike Sullivan, drummer Dave Turncrantz and new bassist Brian Cook (of These Arms Are Snakes notoriety), use rock rudiments in the service of vast instrumental opuses encompassing both metallic workouts and serene, bucolic passages that are almost orchestral in nature. The combination sounds pretentious on paper, and it is in practice, to some degree. Yet the juxtapositions tend to keep at least some of the indulgence at bay: Just when a segment starts seeming overly sweet, monstrous riffs expunge any and all hints of treacle. And that's good, whether Russian Circles' music is post-rock, pre-rock or anything in between.

Any band that puts out an 11-minute recording and presents it as a full-length album obviously has a sense of humor. Like Slayer's shorty classic Reign in Blood (which is twice as long!) and Napalm Death's Scum before it, Daughters' Canada Songs is an attempt to capture a metal sub-genre in all its zero-fat glory. Daughters plays technically jarring spazz-out math metal, in which the name of the game is to cram as many ideas as possible into the shortest amount of time in order to force the brain into processing information on a nanosecond scale. It's a tried and true formula, but Daughters' effort in pushing the envelope is commendable. And lest you smell gimmick or creative stagnation, the Rhode Island quintet's second album, Hell Songs, breaks the 20-minute mark.

While both bands make prominent use of shrill, dissonant guitars, they apply them differently for a great complementary bill.

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Saby Reyes-Kulkarni
Michael Roberts
Contact: Michael Roberts