Chicago trio Russian Circles return with not only their fourth and heaviest album to date -- but also with Empros they're poised to take the crown as innovators reinvigorating the staid trappings of genre. Empros picks up where the anthemic riffs and melodies of 2009's Geneva left off and injects evermore slithering rhythms amid skull-crushing heft with all the visceral intensity of Godflesh, Swans and Neurosis. Put simply, Empros is Russian Circles' Master of Reality: a radical revision of both heavy and melody that is monolithic in its clarity and perfection.
6. Praise Be Man