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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Listen to Russian Circles (Post-Rock)
    Posted: July 14 2008 at 16:08
RUSSIAN CIRCLES
 
PA bio:
Russian Circles are an american instrumental experimental/post-rock trio from Chicago, IL. Their sound consists of expansive guitar sounds created by guitarist Mike Sullivanís extensive looping and layering (a sound which he accurately reproduces at live shows), as well as heavily rhythmic drums and crushing basslines. They feature the cinematic soundscapes common to post-rock, but are not afraid to keep some sections heavy with a capital H, and have plenty of rhythm changes. They formed in 2005, and self-released an eponymous EP, followed shortly thereafter by their full-length debut, ďEnterĒ. Russian Circles provide a sonic adventure that should be enjoyable for any fan of the genre.

: : : GoldenSpiral : : :
 
 
 
 
Bio from their website - http://www.russiancircles.net/

Simply, Russian Circles is a three piece instrumental band from Chicago. It would be tough to imagine that a band would be able to develop its own unique presence and innovation with such solid groundwork in the instrumental genre.

However, Russian Circles does bring something new to the table. Their songs feel incredibly narrative and linear. There is no angular flash or mathematical flair. These songs stream through themes and by no means build on just one repeating idea. They are gargantuan in scope. They flow seamlessly from beautiful soft ambience to truly defined melody to massively thick heaviness with a gradual progression that never leaves you lost. Variety is no gimmick and they are a band that does not just vacillate within an achieved sonic identity.

Russian Circles recorded their second full length album entitled Station in Seattle, WA with Producer Matt Bayles for release on May 6th 2008 on Suicide Squeeze Records. Mike Sullivan on guitar, Dave Turncrantz on Drums and Brian Cook on bass.

 
 
 
 
Reviews here on PA for their two albums:
 
Enter
2006
 
 GoldenSpiral
(Chris)
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Post-Rock Specialist
4%20stars Russian Circles are a post-rock band that isn't afraid to pack in the energy. Their debut album, "Enter", proves just how heavy the often "slow-and-whispy" post-rock genre can really get. Russian Circles provide a surprisingly thick-sounding, layered instrumental attack given their status as a three-piece outfit. This is due to guitarist Sullivan's ability to loop and layer guitar licks and effects, a trick that bassist DeKuiper joins in on occasionally. And as odd as that may sound, the band never fails to keep a song rocking. This album lacks the slow build-ups common to bands like GY!BE and Mono, opting instead to focus on making songs flow dynamically through several sections. A great deal of this band's "heaviness" is due to the skill of the drummer, who plays very dynamically and provides fills, tempo and time signature changes at all the right moments. Their style is very melodic and majestic, yet undoubtably dark and a little sinister.

The albums opens with the crushing "Carpe", a nine-minute journey into heavy instrumental rock, and a worthy introduction to the band. The song flows nicely into the more placid and emotional "Micah", a song that seems to suffer from random bursts of outrage amid a sea of swelling guitar chords, before ending quietly and giving way to the heaviest track on the album, "Death Rides a Horse". The guitar work on this song will impress most metal fans, but may turn off fans of more tranquil music. Still, it is done tastefully and dynamically, and the bass guitar shines as well. The title track plays a bit more like other post-rock bands, taking a full two minutes before getting started, and continuing to build tension, and back off again before coming to a crescendo, yet the drums continue to drive the song at a very quick pace. The last two tracks are also very good, but the six-song, 44 minute album only leaves me wanting more. The album's flaw, however, is that in places it may seem to the average prog listener that they might be "too metal" for post-rock, or that they are too much like non-prog rock but without vocals. These are valid points, but I think they definitely belong here for the variety of reasons I have pointed out in this review. I have never heard anything quite like this.

All in all, a very very strong debut from this brilliant new band. A strong candidate for 4 stars if I ever heard one. I hope to hear more from them in the future!

Report this review (#85750) | Posted Friday, August 04, 2006 | Review Permalink

5%20stars I by no means assumed an opening band to take me away in their music the way Russian Circles did. I did not even expect a sound like theirs at the show with Lords and Daughters playing, who would have thought. Even my little sXe and scene hardcore friends were clamoring over how good this band was. Well, for those of you who havenít heard them I can basically portray Russian Circles as Explosions in the Sky or This Will Destroy You or even This is Your Captain Speaking, but with moreÖedge. That seems suitable.

I was actually just inside getting some water since I had figured it would be some atrocious tag along hardcore band but I noticed the stage, dark but pierced by the rays of an illuminating red light. Russian Circles just walked onto the stage singled out their instruments and began playing away, soft and barley able to be heard and revolving it into a full on instrumental breakdown. I even forgot about my water and went to watch them perform their set (donít worry; she gave it back to me afterwards). To make things shorter and to get on with the review, the show was amazing and I would highly urge anyone to stop by their local venue if you spot them on the list.

To be stereotypical, I would simply categorize this as instrumental rock. Russian Circles makes it hard to just slap that on though since they fluently seam together rock, metal and ďsludge.Ē They have been that one band, that fresh revival, that new heartbeat that renews a genre, the rejuvenation of the instrumental genre. Russian Circles went out of the typical sound while maintaining that classic instrumental touch: slow and lingering and hard and riveting but in all the right places.

Enter is their new 6-track forty-four minute release on Flameshovel records, which is basically compiled out of their self-released 4 song track but with 2 new tracks and some added outros which makes the album run together astoundingly well.

One of their most talked about songs ďDeath Rides a HorseĒ is just straight up metal rock. It doesnít even build into anything, it actually starts out hard builds out and then back into that head banging style that was previously heard in the song. This song was skillfully put together that letís each band member shine for a while on their instrument before throwing all the instruments into one hefty exhilarating breakdown.

Enter is all together an awe-inspiring amalgamation of genres that they have brought to create this noteworthy album that I would consider to be one of the best if not the best album I have heard so far this year and this all from their debut album. Russian Circles have fashioned the album that other bands pine for and I can only wait to hear even a peep of where they take their sound on their next release. They are truly creditable of all the praise they have received over this year and I would advise you pick up their album ďEnterĒ but demand that you at least see them live.

Report this review (#93026) | Posted Monday, October 02, 2006 | Review Permalink

4%20stars Russian Circles is merely an expression of post rock turning hard creating a very original sound. I'm really impressed by the effort and work they put to this album but sincerely I canít give a 5. Iím really a fan of hard rock music and post rock and these guys blend this two elements to create a very original sound but the facts is for me post rock itís all about a emotion which Russian Circles does great, but in the end the distortion guitar ruins this emotion. Iím not saying the album is bad cause I think itís great and very original and in overall itís excellent.

Enter in mere words offers a great sound. The album stars of with Carpe. For being the first song this one expresses all that Russian Circles is: Heavy Post Rock. On the other hand Micah itís more soft and yet more emotional but still with some heavy parts. This song really caught my attention with its great rhythm. As for Death Rides a Horse itís the harder version of RC. Just as its name implies it really feels like that, I mean all death type kind of mood. As for the rest of the album the album is great like Enter and closing of New Macabre. Overall the album its great even though I donít like the distortion guitar. If you like post rock and hard rock this is the album for you.

Report this review (#108798) | Posted Thursday, January 25, 2007 | Review Permalink

 Prog-jester
(Igor Sidorenko)
COLLABORATOR
Post Rock Team
4%20stars Again 4 stars.

Mainly because nothing have changed. This is good, but I already had 30 minutes of this album from eponymous EP, so additional tracks haven't chenged the whole picture much. The only lack I feel in almost perfect RUSSAIN CIRCLES music is the lack of signatures - most of the tracks are straight-forward 4/4 or 6/8 tunes. I shouldn't accuse a Post-Rock band of this, but I'd like them to become more Prog with their next album ;) Nonetheless, "Enter" is great record - imagine Metal-less PELICAN or a stright-forward INFRONT, both with strong TOOL "dark" feeling. Highly recommended !!!

Report this review (#118272) | Posted Friday, April 13, 2007 | Review Permalink

 sinkadotentree
(john davie)
PROG REVIEWER
5%20stars I'm always amazed at how poweful a trio can be.I've said that about RUSH for years,but there are many bands now that fit this description.These guys are from Chicago and at times recall another Chicago band named PELICAN.I was actually quite surprised to find out how heavy parts of this record really are.The drumming was another pleasant surprise.This guy can lay down some crazy intricate patterns when he wants to,or just flat out pound away. "Carpe" is the first song, and the heaviness arrives 1 1/2 minutes in and it comes and goes.A catchy melody follows with some excellent drumming before i am wowed by the guitar work in between the riffs.The song settles to a calm 6 minutes in before a galloping rhythm signals a return to the original soundscape. "Micah" opens with a guitar/drum melody that starts slowly and gradually accellerates.There is a great melody with crazy drumming 2 1/2 minutes in.The sound is full 3 minutes in before a calm a minute later settles in.The tempo continues to change like shifting sands. "Death Rides A Horse" is my favourite track on the record.This one hits the ground running with steller IRON MAIDEN-like guitar melodies.Nice.The amazing guitar continues as the song then becomes very fast paced after 3 minutes.The drum work is tremendous before 5 minutes. "Enter" the title track opens with a cool drum pattern and it's hard not to tap your foot to this one.Heaviness arrives after 3 minutes as we are hit hard!The spotlight is on the drummer again 4 minutes in as screaming guitar follows. "You Already Did" starts off a little slow until 2 1/2 minutes in as drums and guitar fight to be heard over each other.This sounds incredible! 5 minutes in the song becomes quiet until it starts up again, giving us 3 minutes of an absolutely wonderful sound. "New Macabre" is an uptempo tune with some prominant bass work,not heavy though.Some scorching guitar 2 1/2 minutes in,now it's heavy! There are no weak songs,and there is some complexity and variety.I am a huge fan of the way they combine different styles on this album.Is this Post-Rock or Post-Metal or Prog-Metal? Yes it's all of these,and it's all done so wonderfully.

Report this review (#132358) | Posted Thursday, August 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
JROCHA
(JOSHUA)
5%20stars I just got this album and i was blown away by it. Only 3 musicians in this band and their sound is so big. Russian Circles are more srtaight foreword than some other post rock bands like Mogwai, Isis,or Red Sparowes. Their music is heavy but it is a very clean. Every song is standout track, but the standout tracks to me are Carpe, Micah,Enter and You already did. Also this album features some amazing drumming by Dave Turncrantz. This is only the start for this young talented band, they can only get better.A very dark heavy Post Rock album that keeps you wanting to hear more as the album goes on. 5 stars an excellent Experimental Rock album

Report this review (#150522) | Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
 Dim
(Ian Bishop)
PROG REVIEWER
4%20stars Somewhere in between post rock, post metal, and math rock, lurks a band called Russian circles. A rowdy band with a metal drive, but also with a precise and mellow edge, keeping it more on the post rock side. This trio is one of the most impressive post rock groups out there, with layer upon layer of guitar arpeggios, a throbbing bass, and a 100% math rock drummer, you will be blown away by your first listen of enter. Completely against the grind, this instrumental power trio drops the string quintets, but keeps up the dynamics to keep most of their songs interesting, and by the time most of the songs are done, you feel almost exhausted by the sheer power this group holds.

The album starts with my favorite song by the band; Carpe, a nine minute mini epic that blends the three genres I explained earlier perfectly. From the first few seconds, you can already tell you're in for some post rock, but the song gets metal fast, and just takes you for a ride for the next couple of minutes, taking you all over the post rock/metal spectrum, with gradual builds, epic climaxes, and slow breakdowns. This song pretty much reflects most of the album, high energy at most points, though occasionally dropping back down to much more lower maintenance sections, as a kind of breather. Sadly, there really isn't too much diversity in the mood, unlike most post rock, it's not very melancholy (good thing or bad thing, depending on your view). The album is mostly fairly hostile, and fast, leaving a lack of atmosphere, which was a bit of a disappointment to me.

I also wonder how this band does on stage. How are they going to pull off all the layering of guitars with only one guitar player? Well, I'll just have to wait to see them before I pass a judgment on that. Overall, the album is great, especially if you feel like listening to music with energy, but not so much energy to the point of metal (though I do know of some metal bands that have a lower energy level than thee guys). The only fault in the album is the lack of mood/atmosphere, that would completely envelope this album into a masterpiece. Oh well, the band is due an album this year, so we'll have to see what they have in store for us. As for enter, 4 stars.

Report this review (#161987) | Posted Saturday, February 16, 2008 | Review Permalink

 Prog Leviathan
(Jeff Morgenroth)
PROG REVIEWER
4%20stars A very dark, brooding, energetic debut from this post-band featuring aggressive playing mixed with interesting noise effects and good old-fashioned creepy atmospherics.

My first impression was that Russian Circles is something like Explosion's in the Sky's bitter, evil little brother-- spewing out angst and rage at that band's soaring melodies and uplifting feel. The songs on Enter are packed with skilled playing and gloomy/combative feelings. The band plays with more energy and gusto than you'll find in some post bands (similar to Isis' heavy stuff), mixing in heaps of complex dynamics, tempo changes, intricate sounds and big, heavy bombast; great songwriting, especially for a first release. Sullivan's guitar shifts timbre wildly throughout, from tinkling atmospheres to crunchy dark destruction; just as interesting, are his guitar's sound effects/feedback. Bassist DeKuiper keeps things brooding and sinister, who along with Turncrantz delivers very busy performances-- especially for post bands which seem to favor slow builds and repetition. A boring, plodding exercise in extended symphonics this is not!

All in all, a very enjoyable foray into metalish atmosphere and instrumental carnage-- highly recommended!

Report this review (#165333) | Posted Sunday, March 30, 2008 | Review Permalink

5%20stars when i listing to this album, i never listening just to one song, i all ways listing to the whole album from the beginning to the end!

its an amazing dark and beautiful album, from the new American trio Russian circles. ENTER is one of my favorite albums ever. in my opinion its more of a post metal then post rock, but i can see why they are considered as post rock, they sound like isis or pelican(witch are all so from Chicago), so if you like them, you love Russian circles, in my opinion they are better. they have this dark depressing sound, allot of amazing taping part, and i mean ALLOT, but the most interesting part is the drumming. the drumming is really amazing and energetic, in some points its make you feel that the drums is the leading instrument. its a really moody album, but its still have allot of heavy parts in it. this guys choose the perfect name for them selfs, i was watching a WW2 movie (enemy at the gate) with no sound while im listing to Russian circles, and i dont really like this movie, but for some reason i enjoyed watching it with Russian circles in the background. this album is a true MASTERPIECE!!!



Report this review (#169423) | Posted Thursday, May 01, 2008 | Review Permalink

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Edited by avestin - July 14 2008 at 16:16
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 14 2008 at 16:15
Indeed!  Thumbs%20Up
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 14 2008 at 16:19
Wow, my old accounts review is there.LOL and yes Russian Circles is superb.Thumbs%20Up

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 15 2008 at 20:22
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