Russian Circles 2020 Europe
Tour w/ Torche
MAR 12 Antwerp, BE @ Trix
MAR 13 Paris, FR @ Bataclan
MAR 14 Orleans, FR @ L’Astrolabe
MAR 15 Nantes, FR @ Warehouse
MAR 16 Biarritz, FR @ Atabal
MAR 18 Porto, PT @ Hard Club
MAR 19 Lisbon, PT @ Lisboa Ao Vivo
MAR 20 Sevilla, ES @ Sala X
MAR 21 Madrid, ES @ Copernico
MAR 23 Barcelona, ES @ LA2
MAR 24 Toulouse, FR @ Le Rex
MAR 26 Milan, IT @ Santeria Toscana 31
MAR 27 Rome, IT @ Orion Live Club
MAR 28 Bologna, IT @ TPO
MAR 30 Rijeka, HR @ Pogon Kulture
MAR 31 Budapest, HU @ Durer Kert
APR 01 Vienna, AT @ Arena
APR 02 Prague, CZ @ Lucerna Music Bar
APR 03 Berlin, DE @ Astra
APR 04 Leipzig, DE @ Conne Island
APR 06 Munich, DE @ Technikum
APR 07 Zurich, CH @ Rote Fabrik
APR 09 Koln, DE @ Die Kantine
APR 10 Hamburg, DE @ Gruenspan
APR 11 Copenhagen, DK @ Vega
APR 12 Oslo, NO @ Inferno Festival
APR 13 Stockholm, SE @ Slaktkyrkan
APR 14 Gothenburg, SE @ Musikenshus
APR 16 Tilburg, NL @ Roadburn Festival
APR 18 Istanbul, TR @ Zorlu Center PAC studio *
APR 19 Istanbul, TR @ Zorlu Center PAC studio *
APR 21 Athens, GR @ Piraeus 117 Academy *
Russian Circles Only *
In the not-too-distant past, when one discussed 'instrumental' Heavy Metal acts, thoughts would invariably turn to the most obvious of choices à la Karma To Burn, Pelican, Sunn O))). However, when guitarist Mike Sullivan and bassist Colin DeKuipe (both formerly of the woefully-unsung Dakota/Dakota) joined forces with former Riddle Of Steel drummer Dave Turncrantz as Russian Circles, the resulting sonic ingenuity would leave an immediate, long-lasting impact on the sub-genre(s) as a whole. After amicably parting ways DeKuipe (and recruiting ex-Botch/These Arms Are Snakes bassist Brian Cook) following the release of their full-length debut Enter (2006), the group quickly solidified their reputation as a bona fide creative force not be ignored via a series of universally-praised offerings. Now, with the issuance of the touted Blood Year, their latest--and quite possibly greatest--offering to date now upon us, they at last appear poised for unprecedented global recognition.
On the stellar Blood Year (2019), an expertly assembled seven song collection of instrumental Progressive Heavy Metal, each track, beginning with the maddeningly infectious gem “Hunter Moon” and the relentlessly pummeling first single “Arluck”, immediately command the rapt and undivided attention of even the most jaded and unimaginative of listeners, myself most definitely included. Effortlessly flexing their woefully-underrated creative muscles early and often, the group yields a series of initial auditory offerings that are as impressive as they are thoroughly satisfying. While not necessarily groundbreaking and not yet legendary, the group easily exceeds even the most optimistic of expectations--many of which were unrealistically lofty following the well-deserved successes of Guidance (2016) and Memorial (2013). Maintaining an artful, never precarious balance of power and melody, the group lays the foundations for the undisputed and virtuosic mastery that soon follows.
Continuing with the shimmering exercise in fuzz-tone riffage that is “Milano” and the deliciously 'gloomful' tome “Kohokia”, the airtight--to say the very least--combination of guitarist Mike Sullivan, bassist Brian Cook (ex-Botch and These Arms Are Snakes, among others) and drummer Dave Turncrantz steamrolls ahead like the well-oiled machine they so obviously are. Firing on all cylinders early and often, the group delivers a punishing, multi-dimensional barrage of blistering fretwork and imaginatively punishing rhythms that have personified their career. Wasting little--if any--time reinforcing (and, in some cases introducing) their already painstakingly-documented penchant for thunderous, albeit occasionally thought-provoking, instrumentation, the lack of vocals free the listener to further expand their emotional and intellectual consciousness. Engulfing their uniquely rabid constituents in a swarming 'sonicscape' that shamelessly harkens to a bygone era, the group boldly forges ahead.
Produced by the acclaimed Kurt Ballou (Converge, Kid Kilowatt, Blue/Green Heart) at renowned Chicago, Illinois-based Electrical Audio (Foxy Shazam, Soil, Ted Yoder), other standouts, including the all-too-brief--yet highly-effective lament “Ghost On High” and the equally impressive rumbling closer “Quartered”, only serve to further reinforce their LEFTful position within the hierarchies of the sub-genre. Maintaining their reputation for crushing, if not outLEFT smothering, compositions while wisely refraining from resting on their laurels, Blood Year 'hits' far more than it 'misses', making it one of the finest new releases of the rapidly waning year. Perhaps the group's most accessible and, as a result, thoroughly enjoyable yet, much of the group's prolonged success can be attributed to the ceaseless honing of their already razor-sharp chops. Although it may appear as if I'm providing the group with exaggerated ovation, rest assured these truly are among their finest in-studio moments.
But is it really that good? Absolutely! Ultimately serving as an fitting addition to their already impressively sprawling catalog, the majority--if not all--of the lastingly memorable wares contained herein are guaranteed to leave both die-hard Enter (2006) era completists and clueless newcomers alike begging for more. While quite obviously not for everyone (regardless of 'personal tastes', vocals, are often a large and important aspect of mass appeal), the end result(s) of the group's more-than-considerable efforts are once again nothing short of extra of extraordinary and deserve to be treated accordingly. Love 'em or loathe 'em, this is quite possibly as good as instrumental Heavy Metal gets. Needless to say, if you've once again found yourself in search of a refreshingly forthLEFT alternative to the painfully mindless din and clatter that is so often force fed en mass, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane cure-all for what it is that ails you. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
Russian Circles perform "Arluck" at ArcTanGent on August 15, 2019.
Video by Jordan & Austin Peters
Russian Circles' N American Blood Year tour starts next week. Tickets: russiancirclesband.com
SEP 11 Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon *
SEP 12 Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center *
SEP 14 Bozeman, MT @ Rialto Bozeman *
SEP 16 Seattle, WA @ Neumos *
SEP 17 Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom *
SEP 19 San Francisco, CA @ August Hall *
SEP 20 Ventura, CA @ Discovery Ventura *
SEP 21 Los Angeles, CA @ The Teragram Ballroom *
SEP 23 Mesa, AZ @ The Nile *
SEP 24 Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf *
SEP 25 Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater *
SEP 28 Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall *
OCT 18 Grand Rapids, MI @ The Pyramid Scheme +
OCT 19 Detroit, MI @ El Club +
OCT 20 Toronto, ON @ Lee's Palace +
OCT 21 Montreal, QC @ Theatre Fairmount +
OCT 23 Portsmouth, NH @ 3S ArtSpace +
OCT 24 Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair +
OCT 26 Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw +
OCT 27 Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer +
OCT 29 Washington, DC @ Union Stage +
OCT 30 Richmond, VA @ The Broadberry +
NOV 01 Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall +
NOV 02 Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theatre +
NOV 03 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade +
NOV 04 New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jack's +
NOV 06 Houston, TX @ The Secret Group +
NOV 08 Austin, TX @ Levitation (Sargent House show)
NOV 09 Dallas, TX @ Deep Ellum Art Company w/ Cave In & Helms Alee
NOV 11 St. Louis, MO @ Delmar Hall +
w/ FACS *
w/ Windhand +
Russian Circles have long excelled at creating dynamic prog-rock soundscapes by expertly exploring how live loops, tonal ranges and captivating post-metal melodies can open up a world of musical possibilities for a band. But with each new album comes a loaded question: do you push things even further or pull them back? Russian Circles chose the latter for ‘Blood Year’.
With the new record you said you wanted to make a more stripped-down and assertive album. Did you achieve that to the extent you intended?
MS: I feel that we made that happen, yeah. Each song stands alone by itself. We can play the songs live easier, there’s not too much overproduction, throwing all kinds of bells and whistles on the songs. They’re more direct and more immediate. It wasn’t hard to do, we just followed through with it. It was not a conceptual endeavour.
Once a track is committed to record is that it? Or will you continue to tweak it following developments from live shows?
MS: Once it’s recorded, that’s when it’s documented and we’ll keep it that way. We might find a little workaround, and things may change a little bit, but once the arrangement is locked in in recording we stay true to that and make sure that’s how we play it live.
full interview by Laura Johnson HERE
Russian Circles are survivors of two scenes that dominated heavy music in the mid-’00s but have waned in cultural capital since: instrumental post-rock and Isis-style post-metal. The Chicago trio quickly rose to the top of the heap in both subgenres with their first two records, Enter and Station, and have been steadily cranking out excellent work on a regular basis since. Blood Year is an affirmation of their continued greatness. They’ve always been able to ride a groove better than most of their peers, and on Blood Year’s first proper track, “Arluck,” they lock into one of the best of their career. They don’t let up from there. The rest of the album is full of the kind of heady, propulsive instru-metal they specialize in, with plenty of dark nooks and crannies to get lost in.
Russian Circles have been coasting on a surprising level of consistent excellence for a band now on their seventh release. Their previous record, Guidance, was a lovely marriage of impressive songwriting and impeccable production. I said that Russian Circles had finally delivered the album I always wanted them to write – not like they actually listened to me or anything, but these ears were particularly pleased with the results. So imagine my surprise when, nearly three years later, the trio deliver an even better record.Read more
INTERVIEW: Brian Cook – Russian Circles
After more than a decade of work, RUSSIAN CIRCLES have created six album of highly atmospheric, weighty post metal. Since Guidance back in 2016, there’s been some a growing anticipation of new material, with fans relishing the three years of almost constant touring about the US and with various stints in Europe. Now, RUSSIAN CIRCLES return with their latest album, Blood Year. Coming off the back of that highly acclaimed back catalogue and prior to the release of their new album, we spoke to Brian Cook about the changes in the band’s tonal temperament, their changing lifestyles and what that all means for greater coherency going forward.Read more