Last year, Russian Circles unleashed Gnosis, their heaviest album yet. But even by those standards, Audiotree’s Chicago studio had no idea what was in store when the trio dropped by for a three-song live session.
Interspersed with interview segments, the 25-minute video offers a rare intimate look at Mike Sullivan, Brian Cook and Dave Turncrantz’s apocalyptic post-metal onslaughts, delivered across three Gnosis tracks: Betrayal, Conduit and Gnosis itself.
The musicianship is jaw-dropping, but Sullivan’s tone even more so: a spiritually aggressive tone that maintains clarity without ever losing its doom-metal edge.
From the moment they stepped out of their multiple Uhauls, fresh off a half-completed US tour, it was clear how seasoned the men in Russian Circles were to the rigorous load-in load-out process. It was still warm in Chicago, despite it being October. Maybe it was the weather, or maybe the fact they weren’t loading into a venue, but the cheerful nature of this band was palpable. It felt odd, in a way, to hear a band that is known for being instrumental, be so vocal. Their guitarist, Mike Sullivan, was quick to share tour stories, talk about gear, and crack jokes that invigorated his band and the room. The humans behind this loud, heavy, powerful music turned out to be (in many ways) total goofballs.
During soundcheck, the amplification literally shook the studio. It’s difficult to translate how loud this band actually is without standing directly in the room. What was most impressive was their precision without the use of a click-track—a common tactic for louder bands—how clear it was that this band were masterful at listening to themselves and each other simultaneously. One breathing unit in harmony with itself.
To be this seasoned, have nearly 20 years in the game, and still be able to push the bar with this repetitive loud rock music is a feat. There’s a lot of derivative that has stemmed from this band’s sound, and a lot of new sounds that have been inspired by it. Russian Circles continues to be the force to be reckoned with in post-metal, and demonstrates exactly what it takes to stay in and be the absolute best band they can be.
Check out Russian Circles on Audiotree From Nothing!
RUSSIAN CIRCLES & CULT OF LUNA
CO-HEADLINE TOUR 2023
+ Svalbard supporting
March 17 Copenhagen, DK - Store Vega
March 18 Berlin, DE - Huxleys (SOLD-OUT)
March 19 Wiesbaden, DE - Schlachthof
March 20 Utrecht, NL - Tivoli Ronda
March 21 Brussels, BE - AB (SOLD-OUT)
March 22 Paris, FR - Olympia
March 23 Stuttgart, DE - Wizemann
March 24 Lausanne, CH - Les Docks
March 25 Ljubljana, SI - Kino Siska
March 27 Vienna, AT - Arena
March 28 Munich, DE - Muffathalle
March 29 Prague, CZ - Roxy
March 30 Krakow, PL - Studio
March 31 Warsaw, PL - Progresja
August 14 London, UK - Heaven
August 15 Newcastle, UK - University
August 16 Manchester, UK - Band On The Wall
August 17 Bristol, UK - Arctangent festival
EU FESTIVALS 2023: August 3 Poolbar festival Feldkirch (AT)
August 5 Krach Am Bach festival - Beelen (DE) August 9 Brutal Assault - Jaromer (CZ)
August 13 Alcatraz Festival - Kortrijk (BE) August 19 Motocultor Festival 2023 - Carhaix-Plouguer (FR)
We're delighted to announce that the official Russian Circles Reverb shop is now open. All items in this shop come directly from the band, and include studio-used, road-tested guitars, cabs, drums and more. If you're a fan of Russian Circles, this is a unique opportunity to nab a piece of gear used by Mike, Brian, and Dave.
Russian Circles' Gnosis is an exploration of space and time: it’s the bedrock blasted to bits to lay the foundation for another Brooklyn condominium. It’s the Earth pulsating around the mouth of a geyser. It’s the cold front moving in from all directions, dropping the temperature below freezing and changing the way we move through the world. The cover of the album depicts two men, isolated on a cubic column of scaffolding. Devoid of background, it leaves the viewer unhinged, but also suggests possibility: you can fill in the blanks and the structure can become whatever you want it to be. Gnosis is like that: the songs swell and expand, with room to move around. You get the opportunity to fill in those spaces, to wander the hallways of a building that never seems to have an end; to bushwhack through a cold, Northwestern forest, perpetually wet, vision blurred through the fog.
This interview series started as something small I thought I could get advice from a few guitarists on how to play guitar. I did not think I’d be getting actual advice on how to better my tone from one of my all-time favorite guitarists Mike Sullivan of Russian Circles. He taught me how to better set up my stereo rig and to utilize my tremolo pedal as more of a boost. He warned me I’d lose a weekend just playing guitar. Well, I lost a few weekends, hence this interview is a little late.
Chicago instrumental post-rock trio Russian Circles are an incredibly loud band. When guitarist Mike Sullivan, drummer Dave Turncrantz, and bassist Brian Cook get together, the decibels are raised to massive levels, the syncopation is tight like a double knot, and the senses are surely going to feel something.
It seems extraordinary to think that RUSSIAN CIRCLES have been playing and creating music for nearly two decades. With seven studio albums and their debut EP going all the way back to 2004, the band have had an eighteen year career that feels like it’s gone by in the blink of an eye. In that time, there’s been a definite development of their style and sound, moulding their heavy, drone soundscapes into monstrous dirges that rage and consume. We caught up with Mike Sullivan about the mindset of the new record Gnosis and getting the barebones of creating music.