While every Russian Circles album has had its share of new sonic vistas, Guidance finds the band still searching out new sounds while continuing to play to the collective strengths of guitarist Mike Sullivan, drummer Dave Turncrantz, and bassist Brian Cook. With the help of engineer/co-producer Kurt Ballou, Russian Circles were able to capture a broad tonal palette and wide array of emotional motifs into a cohesive journey through the tumultuous corners of human existence. On Guidance, Russian Circles carry on in their quest to conjure multi-dimensional dramatic instrumental narratives and scout out new textures from their respective instruments. The songs aren’t constructed out of highbrow concepts; they’re forged out of gut instinct and base emotional response. Nor was the band interested in testing their fans’ patience or securing a new broader audience with a radical reinvention. Instead, Russian Circles use Guidance to continue examining the polarity of quiet and loud, complexity and simplicity, ugliness and beauty.
We often expect artists to fall into patterns and formulas, but for Russian Circles the creative method is still a mystery. Songs develop at their own pace. Inspiration comes from strange sources. If anything, the process of writing is every bit the enigma it was back when the band crafted their first song in 2004. Life itself is a struggle with the unknown and a search for meaning, and the creative process for Russian Circles has mirrored that pursuit. From the radical dynamic shifts and straightforward production of the band’s debut album Enter, to the lockstep metallic attack and pensive comedowns of Station, the symphonic grandeur of Geneva, the grit and grime of Empros, and the oscillation between melancholy and wrath on Memorial, these were all incremental steps towards an ideal, and Guidance brings the band that much closer to that realization.