After an industrial break in the tides, Russian Circles bounce into their sixth studio record with the help of producer Kurt Ballou; two shining stars that burn brightly into the unforgiving night. Guidance is formal, in attendance and representation to what a march would see before the quarrels of war break out into a fiery cadence of power.
Entirely instrumental, Guidance by Russian Circles is a substantial stance to progressive metal that contains both the love for control and the rise of a leading hand. Where the coalition begins is on “Vorel,” Guidance’s second track that holds Russian Circles to this Cosmonaut standard of worldly sound. As the band turns the jets on, fires up the engines, and begins to run on all fronts; energy courses the veins of this instrumental juggernaut. Each breakdown, build-up, and overarching section continues to sculpt with clay, an Ayn Rand display of scale. More a machine than a living entity, Guidance is the perfect record to establish dominance within 41-minutes of time.
The playing is consistent coming from Mike Sullivan on the guitar, Dave Turncrantz on the percussion, and Brian Cook up the middle with the bass. Each piece of Russian Circles becomes a standing monument to the center stage where no one is left behind. Instead, each member is lifted as part of this revolving triangle that take turns to direct and pass the torch as an Olympic track team that focuses more on a team effort rather than one singular winner. The work is uplifting as well, rather than spending time on creating a daunting and unapproachable sound. Even though the style is grand in stature, Russian Circles is more neighborly than intimidating, illustrating a fresh edge on Guidance.
Sargent House is the same label where DIIV, Emma Ruth Rundle, and Deafheaven are under the same roof, so holding Russian Circles also comes with the freedom of knowing an industry. While they are not newcomers on the record, Russian Circles uses this style to their advantage as a reverb-heavy push leads into “Afrika,” one of the stand out pieces for the record. Here Turncrantz rolls and fills on the percussion casts a shadow on the wall where the other members slowly build up and become candles alongside. Even as the guitar reigns or the bass conquers, Guidance prevails through premonition and showcases the brighter side of the tunnel on instrumental rock.
Holding the attention and maintaining a straight-laced style, Guidance brings out the strongest in Russian Circles which was always there. It capitalizes on their ability to shift in and out of the spotlight as if they were careful ballet dancers through a hardened, but still core piece of art while maintaining authority over the audience.