Google Artist of the Week: Russian Circles

The name Russian Circles may seem arbitrary, but there’s a story behind the Chicago instrumental metal trio’s appellation. See, there’s a skating drill that ice hockey players do called “Russian circles.” In it, a player speeds in a looping pattern to follow large circles painted under the ice, constantly moving forwards and backwards across the rink in a demonstration of dexterity and grace. When you dig into the challenging, intricately structured, often coldly calculated music of guitarist Mike Sullivan, bassist Brian Cook and drummer Dave Turncrantz, you understand that the name’s a perfect fit.

"Mladek” Russian Circles



Russian Circles formed in Chicago in 2004 and initially struggled to find their footing in the city where post-rock was born. Their first LP, Enter, won knee-jerk comparisons to a handful of other ‘00s instrumental rockers like Isis and Explosions In the Sky, but the trio didn’t easily fit alongside either. Compared to the droning churn of Isis, Russian Circles’ clean architecture and through-composed instrumental metal was technical and exacting. Compared to the knotty, schizophrenic output of Explosions, they were basically playing pop music.

Over the past seven years, the band has continued to find success on their own terms. They’ve been a part of high-profile tours with Coheed & Cambria and Tool, and have increasingly garnered critical accolades. Their gift is the thoughtful, patient approach to shaping tunes that slowly reveal themselves with long, atmospheric builds. They have the maturity to save the explosive, chest-swelling guitars until the moment they matter most. The wash of big-echo guitar, brass band and unsuspectingly urgent beats on tunes like “When the Mountain Comes to Muhammad” are the product of a band that has mastered the slow burn. It’s elegant, yet still approachable enough to draw in a big audience.

With the band’s latest, Empros, they augment the rigorous song structures and weighty crunch with the racing pulse of black metal, the catchy harmonic ease of spacey indie rock and all kinds of dark, melodramatic, melodic inclinations. In only six songs, the record defines the far-out edge of instrumental metal. It’s a tremendous leap forward for the band, and places them among the genre’s most treasured searchers. With their cyclical, hypnotic songs, fluidity and fundamental precision, the band’s name couldn’t be more befitting. -- Nate Cavalieri

"Mladek” Russian Circles

17 comments:

Carib Grackle said...

OMG! Russian Circles as Artist Of The Week, you guys at Magnifier rock!

Brian said...

very nice. reminiscent of mastodon. very clean lines, but still driving.

Chris said...

Brilliant as always. Glad to see these guys getting their due.

Palindroner said...

A thousand thumbs up!

Richard F. said...

They're more in the vein of Pelican and ISIS, not Mastodon.

Roman's Blog said...

SOOOOOOO DAMN GOOD!

TurinTurambar said...

Omg I've found new music! Way overdue. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I like what you guys are doing, but I would really like to be able to listen the the Music tracks before I add them to my collection. Otherwise I have to Add, preview, and delete if I don't like it. Seems un-productive.

ranndino said...

That anonymous comment above is the definition of why I hate so many people these days. They're giving you FREE music, man! Oh wow, you have to add it before listening, then delete if you don't like it. What an enormous hassle!

PanicOffice said...

wow. i'm from chicago, and I've seen their name on a few bills, but never heard them. fantastic!

Elliot said...

@Anonymous that is a pretty weak complaint. Look at the service they are providing us here for *free*. Type the name / artist into Youtube or something if you'd rather save yourself the "trouble" of playing through the player.

monkee13 said...

I think they made a mistake making them Artist of the Week, they actually meant to make them Artist of the Decade!

JHDjr said...

Yes indeed, it F'in rocks...

Ever P. said...

Very nice.. I enjoyed the mind set..

Arsalane said...

Trop cool le morceau.. j'ai trop aimé :D

Brendan said...

This is actually very good! Thanks for sharing it with us.

AntikytheraTech said...

Love it - moves me.

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