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…
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.
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.
Interview with guitarist Mike Sullivan | By Douglas Menagh | Photo by Alicia Armijo
Chicago’s Russian Circles, comprised of guitarist Mike Sullivan, drummer Dave Turncrantz, and bassist Brian Cook, dropped Blood Year through Sargent House on Aug. 2.
Ahead of the new album, the instrumental trio released “Arluck,” a song with intricate and dissonant hooks, search-and-destroy drumbeats, and aggressive basslines. The single is a technically impressive banger that alternates between moments of tranquility and broadly powerful episodes.
Below, Sullivan shares a bit about creating “Arluck,” recording Blood Year, collaborating with producer Kurt Ballou, loving hockey—the game that inspired the name Russian Circles—and what’s in store for the future.
Russian Circles are back with the new album, Blood Year, which will hit fans in full Aug. 2. To hold you over until next month, however, Loudwire has the exclusive premiere of the seven-minute “Kohokia.”
“Kohokia” is the middle track on Blood Year, closing out Side A for vinyl fanatics. The brooding instrumental cut lurches forward with each minute, disorienting the listener with abstract bass lines and ambient guitar work.
Converge’s Kurt Ballou manned the helm for Blood Year, which was recorded at Steve Albini's (Nirvana / Pixies) Electrical Audio with all three band members in one room, playing complete takes together with no click track. This is the second time Ballou has worked with the Chicago band, who previously released a number of records with Brandon Curtis.
Russian Circles, "Kohokia"
Listen to Russian Circles’ “Kohokia” in the player above and click here to pre-order Blood Year. Russian Circles will spend two months touring North America starting in September, so check out the full list of dates below.