[APOCALYPTIC MATH METAL] Between Easter, The Walking Dead and Keith Richards' uncanny life force, it's safe to say pop culture's predilection for zombie kitsch is no longer weird. While necromancy isn't as big as football, there's no reason the dread of the undead can't get a triumphant post-rock score a la Friday Night Lights. And who would be better for that job than Russian Circles? Since blowing up the instrumental-metal scene with 2006's Enter, the band—actually from Chicago—has been churning out tense, bludgeoning dirges at an impressive clip. Guitarist Mike Sullivan's use of loop pedals elevates the trio's live sets to otherworldly affairs that walk the edge between lilting, hopeful melodies and crushing, drop-tuned catharsis. On last year's Memorial, Russian Circles' fifth and most dynamic release, the reliance on effects-based parlor tricks has been tempered by a heightened sense of atmosphere and sonics. Bookended by a suite of introspective title tracks, the latter of which features the haunting vocals of labelmate and fellow gloom-monger Chelsea Wolfe, Memorial employs dense layers of unnerving melodic counterpoints to represent a full spectrum of human emotion—specifically, the sense of knowing the end is near, and the foolish gambit of thinking you can outrun it. Let Explosions in the Sky punch up Hail Mary touchdowns—Russian Circles will be there while doomsday is banging on your door.