Russian Circles might very well be capturing the transmissions of a complex, little known galaxy far away. In crafting snaking, ornate instrumental passages with nary a word to be heard, the group’s material offers the possibility that they have special access to a distant away satellite and are using its transcendental signals to fuel their own imaginations.
Their Stoner Metal-colored Post-Rock is perpetually in flux, with songs constantly evolving in scope and tone. Two examples from 2006’s Enter provide proof: Check out the determined war march of “Death Rides A Horse” if you want something colossal, or the gloomy ruminations of “Micah,” should you like your architecture concise. The band’s name enhances the air of mystery surrounding the content. Is “Russian Circles” a furtive reference to Cold War weapons issued by the Soviet Union? Perhaps it’s the codename of that theorized sound-gathering satellite.
The truth is considerably more docile. This band isn’t a Russian cabal at all; it’s actually guitarist Mike Sullivan, bassist Brian Cook and drummer Dave Turncrantz, guys from Chicago who have done stints in intelligently aggressive acts like Botch and These Arms Are Snakes. Instead of being a cryptic allusion to a warhead or an intergalactic beacon, their moniker is a nod to a drill performed by the Russian ice hockey team when they skate in circles marked around the rink.
Still, these revelations shouldn’t lessen the impact of the music they create. Despite being only a trio, their work frequently sounds like it was created by far more players. With the recent release of the new album Geneva (Suicide Squeeze) behind them, Russian Circles will hit the road with Louisville Hardcore outfits Young Widows and Coliseum to flesh out loftily-titled tracks like “Hexed All” and “When the Mountain Comes to Muhammad."
(Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.)