LIVE REVIEW: Russian Circles Sells Out Great American Music Hall // Live Photos From The Teragram Ballroom 

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On Sept. 2, 2016, on a night when most of the city is either out at Burning Man, or recovering from the Kill Switch Engage show the night before, it was impressive to see that Russian Circles, easily one of the best post-metal groups touring, still had sold out the iconic Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA.

On tour with support from Cloakroom, Russian Circles put together a 2.5-hour package of mind-altering sonic fury.  With a show time of 9pm, and a packed house long before that, Cloakroom was able to lull the crowd into a false sense of stability with their impressive instrumentals and melancholic vocals. Even Russian Circles sat along the stage to watch their brothers in arms perform.

Once Cloakroom finished up and cleared the stage, it was almost time for Russian Circles, but even after completing their tuning and sound checks, the three-piece from Chicago took another 15-20 minutes before starting the show. Word around the soundboard crew was there were some electrical issues, but once the clock hit 10:30 none of that mattered.

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OVERBLOWN Interview with Brian Cook 

NEW ALBUM GUIDANCE  IS OUT NOW VIA SARGENT HOUSE.
There’s not really any need to introduce post metal stalwarts Russian Circles, is there? Suffice it to say, they are now over ten years into their career and have just released yet another excellent album in the form of Guidance. For me, it’s an album that sees the group push out the contrasts between the light and dark in their songs. Songs soar and swoop between pummeling drums and somewhat black metal guitar flourishes like on lead single ‘Vorel‘, and the slow build of more cathartic and euphoric tracks like ‘Mota’. An engrossing adventure as always.

Ahead of their upcoming US and European tour, Overblown had the pleasure of talking to Russian Circles’ bassist Brian Cook about Guidance, recording with Kurt Ballou of Converge, and how Mike (Sullivan, Russian Circles guitarist) is a liar apparently.

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Spectrum Culture Interview with Brian Cook of Russian Circles 

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“I look at young people in bands and I can’t help but wince.”

With the recent release of Guidance Russian Circles is now six albums deep in a career staked on instrumental post-metal that can be both bleak and beautiful. Few other bands can shift between darkness and light with such aplomb, especially without the aid of a vocalist. We touched base with bassist Brian Cook to discuss the new album, getting older in the music industry, the highs and lows of 10-plus years of touring and whether they’d ever consider recording a full-length collaboration with a vocalist like Chelsea Wolfe.

The cover to your new album, Guidance, depicts a military scene of a stoic man being led to his execution. I understand this was a photo that, along with others, was received with very little context from a war veteran. To what extent did these photos serve as inspiration for the music on this latest album?

Truthfully? None whatsoever. I know a lot of artists work with a muse of some kind. And I know a lot of artists like to have a concept before they start their work. We don’t work that way. We just compose a bunch of music, find the bits and pieces that resonate most with us, and then try to find some sort of subconscious impulse behind all of it. I think it’s more interesting to allow gut instinct to guide music and then try to decipher what it all means rather than trying to impose some abstract idea into sound waves.

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“Guidance” Officially Out Everywhere + 5/5 Review from The Guardian 

If you were looking for a fitting soundtrack to the disaster movie of your life, one that uplifts but also shakes you to your core, Chicago instrumental trio Russian Circles can provide. On their sixth album they have ditched the mathy time-signature changes of old and instead created towering vortices of foreboding noise that sound as if the band have been mainlining Roland Emmerich films on an endless loop. The album begins with a melodic, almost baroque folk guitar and post-rockish reverb on Asa, before moving on to amp-exploding metal and sludgy yet lip-curling riffs on Vorel; and indeed, they balance light with dark throughout. Calla is monolithic and muscular, with flickerings of Tool; Afrika is a brightly lit, Mogwai-ish crescendo with blast-beat drumming and their distinctive, 3D turbo-fuzz guitar; and the final fist-raiser, Lisboa, practically levitates with its oppressive, cinematic build. Perhaps we really are nearing the bitter end – but doom has never sounded so good.

 

via The Guardian

Happy release day to Russian Circles for their stunning sixth album, “Guidance”. Click HERE to purchase.

Don’t miss them on their upcoming US Tours with Cloakroom and label mates Helms Alee, see all dates below. For all show and ticket details click HERE.

RUSSIAN CIRCLES - LIVE 2016
W/ CLOAKROOM
Aug 26 Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
Aug 27 Minneapolis, MN - Cedar Cultural Center
Aug 29 Missoula, MT - Palace Lounge
Aug 30 Seattle, WA - Neumos
Aug 31 Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
Sep 2 San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
Sep 3 Los Angeles, CA - The Teragram Ballroom
Sep 5 Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom
Sep 6 Albuquerque, NM - Launchpad
Sep 7 Englewood, CO - The Gothic Theatre
Sep 8 Kansas City, MO - The Riot Room
Sep 9 Chicago, IL - Metro
W/ HELMS ALEE
Sep 23-24 Cincinnati, OH @ Midpoint Music Fest
Sep 25 Detroit, MI - El Club
Sep 26 Toronto, ON - Lee’s Palace
Sep 28 Cambridge, MA - The Sinclair
Sep 29 Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
Sep 30 Brooklyn, NY - Warsaw
Oct 1 Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel
Oct 2 Durham, NC - Motorco Music Hall
Oct 4 Atlanta, GA - Aisle 5
Oct 5 Birmingham, AL - Saturn
Oct 6 Baton Rouge, LA - Spanish Moon
Oct 7 Houston, TX - Warehouse Live Studio
Oct 8 Austin, TX - Barracuda
Oct 9 Dallas, TX - RBC

“Guidance” Full Album Stream Premiere via Noisey 

Photo: Nicholas Sayers

Russian Circles is a band you can watch and think only one thing: How do three people make so much fucking noise? The Chicago-based instrumental three-piece is on their sixth album now, with the release of Guidance, and seem intent on digging a new layer of depth into their sound on each one. In the vein of Pelican or Mono, Russian Circles have risen to become one of America’s preeminent loud-as-hell bands, decadent in texture and volume.

On Guidance, Russian Circles drag the listener down an emotionally draining hole that’s at times cathartic and triumphant and at others crushing and melancholic. Lose yourself in the album below and find out what it feels like to come out on the other side.

Guidance is out on August 5 via Sargent House, and Russian Circles have a massive tour in support of it coming up. Dates below.

Listen to the full album stream HERE.

For all show and ticket details click HERE. Dates Below.

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The Black Market: The Month In Metal // Russian Circles “Guidance” at #1 

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“Instrumental metal” is a little bit of an oxymoron. Metallica have one instrumental track on each of their first four LPs, and those tracks are fucking classic and fit perfectly into those albums, but play them back-to-back and they sort of feel aimless, unmoored. Metal is based on evolution, but there’s no clear lineage for the “instrumental” subgenre. John Zorn’s Painkiller? Joe Satriani’s Surfing With The Alien? Buckethead? Yngwie Malmsteen? So it’s kinda striking that, today, there are a lot of bands that might be categorized as “instrumental metal.” The best of the bunch include Earthless, Pelican, and Dysrhythmia, but the very best of them all is Russian Circles, whose upcoming Guidance achieves the one crucial thing achieved by so few of the band’s peers: The music doesn’t sound like a derivation of post-rock or psychedelia or free jazz or ambient; it sounds like metal. It’s really tough to make that work when you don’t have vocals driving the music, but every instrument here manages to stand in for vocals at some point or another. It doesn’t feel like vocals are missing; it just feels like they’ve been delivered with a tool other than the human voice. That’s not to say Russian Circles don’t heavily draw from non-metal genres — you’d have to be deaf not to hear the post-rock in this one — but they don’t start there, and more importantly, they don’t end there. Guidance single “Mota” blasts and whirrs with fury and bursts to razor-edged climaxes, but for me, the song is exemplified by one tiny moment that occurs right after the 5:10 mark: By that point, the whole thing is just blazing when all of a sudden you hear this ghostly wail coming up in the mix — every time I hear it, I brace myself for a deep guttural roar — but it’s a guitar, and as soon as you realize it’s a guitar, the song shifts gears and crushes you with a stomp worthy of Nails or Black Breath or any of those Kurt Ballou-produced Entombed-style tough-guy hardcore bands. That’s not a coincidence: Guidance was produced by Ballou, too, and I’m not sure his ear has ever been put to better use. I am sure, though, that 2016 hasn’t given us too many albums that sound as good as this. [From Guidance, out 8/5 via Sargent House] –Michael Nelson // LISTEN TO ‘MOTA’ BELOW

Dave Turncrantz Talks About New Album ‘Guidance’ 


This month we got a chance to catch up with Russian Circles drummer and Istanbul Agop artist Dave Turncrantz. Russian Circles are hitting the road this summer and fall, if they stop near you, check them out, you won’t regret it. Their new record Guidance drops August 5th, 2016, you can check out a preview here. Dave is an incredible drummer, and a great guy; we’re happy he’s part of the Agop family.  

A: Does being an instrumental band influence the way you write drum parts?

DT: I think being an instrumental band makes everything more exposed and it makes me try to do things a little more musically. There are only three of us in the band so everyone needs to pull their weight to make things interesting live and in the studio. I think the hardest part of being an instrumental band is filling out the empty spaces a singer would normally fill up or another guitar player. Luckily for me, I play with two amazing musicians that have a good ear and are great at layering to fill everything out.

A: What was the process like working on Guidance?

DT: The process we use for writing every Russian Circles record has always started with just drums and guitar. Our guitarist Mike Sullivan and I will go through a number of guitar riffs he’s been working on and once we both agree on something will start from there. Once we get a structure we both are happy with, Brian comes in and we start to form the riffs into a song. Its been a process that has worked on the last five records and its nice to get a different view of the song once Brian comes in with the Bass.

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“Guidance” Pitchfork Review 

There’s an organic and unforced feel to the latest album by Chicago-based post-rock trio Russian Circles, as if songs were allowed to grow wild rather than carefully cultivated.

For five albums now, the Chicago-based trio Russian Circles have made great use of post-rock most familiar’s dynamic tricks—loud and quiet; stop and start, swell and subside. But they’ve never had qualms about splicing elements of everything from metal and noise-rock to krautrock and post-hardcore into their darkly dramatic, instrumental compositions. Their last album, 2013’s Memorial, fleshed things out even further with keyboards, strings, and guest vocals from Chelsea Wolfe. But on the group’s sixth full-length, Guidance, a slightly different ethos is at play: the fine art of letting it flow.

There’s always been a sense of flow to Russian Circles, but on Guidance, it’s far more striking. On the folk-like opener “Asa,” Mike Sullivan’s delicate guitar is underpinned with surges of dusky ambience; from there, the band’s tried-and-true blend of glacial riffing and overcast atmosphere takes hold, with the chunkiness of “Vorel” tracing a direct path back to Through Silver in Blood-era Neurosis. Brian Cook’s bass churns with seismic force—the tone of his instrument remains one of the Russian Circles’ most instantly recognizable and arresting textures—and Dave Turncrantz turns his drums into an intricate apparatus of temporal dissection. Amid all that, though, the grooves reign. “Afrika” creates an pulsing undertow that’s desperate and triumphant at the same time; “Mota” switches up more often. But even when Guidance gets complicated, there’s a more organic and unforced feel to it, as if songs were allowed to grow wild rather than carefully cultivated.

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NEW TRACK PREMIERE: AFRIKA 

Russian Circles is now premiering a new track off of their upcoming album Guidance, out on August 5th via Sargent House

LISTEN HERE.

They will be touring with Cloakroom at the end of August and continuing with Helms Alee in September. See all dates below -  for show and ticket details click HERE.

RUSSIAN CIRCLES - LIVE 2016
W/ CLOAKROOM

Aug 26 Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
Aug 27 Minneapolis, MN - Cedar Cultural Center
Aug 29 Missoula, MT - Palace Lounge
Aug 30 Seattle, WA - Neumos
Aug 31 Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
Sep 2 San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
Sep 3 Los Angeles, CA - The Teragram Ballroom
Sep 5 Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom
Sep 6 Albuquerque, NM - Launchpad
Sep 7 Englewood, CO - The Gothic Theatre
Sep 8 Kansas City, MO - The Riot Room
Sep 9 Chicago, IL - Metro
W/ HELMS ALEE 
Sep 23-24 Cincinnati, OH @ Midpoint Music Fest
Sep 25 Detroit, MI - El Club
Sep 26 Toronto, ON - Lee’s Palace
Sep 28 Cambridge, MA - The Sinclair
Sep 29 Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
Sep 30 Brooklyn, NY - Warsaw
Oct 1 Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel
Oct 2 Durham, NC - Motorco Music Hall
Oct 4 Atlanta, GA - Aisle 5
Oct 5 Birmingham, AL - Saturn
Oct 6 Baton Rouge, LA - Spanish Moon
Oct 7 Houston, TX - Warehouse Live Studio
Oct 8 Austin, TX - Barracuda
Oct 9 Dallas, TX - RBC

JUST ANNOUNCED: Russian Circles 2016 European Tour 

Russian Circles has just announced their upcoming Fall 2016 European Tour that is starting immediately after their US Tour (see ALL dates HERE). Helen Money will be joining them starting in Lithuania for the rest of the tour.

for all show and ticket details, click HERE

Russian Circles EU 2016 all dates with Helen Money supporting starting on Oct 25

RUSSiAN CIRCLES EU 2016
Oct 21 Wroclaw, PL @ Firlej*
Oct 22 Gdansk, PL @ B90*
Oct 23 Warsaw, PL @ Hydrozagadka*
Oct 25 Vilnius, LT @ Peleda
Oct 26 Durbe, LV @ Community Hall
Oct 27 Tallin, EE @ Rockstars
Oct 28 Helsinki, FIN @ Tavastia
Oct 30 Stockholm, SE @ En Arena
Oct 31 Oslo, NO @ Vulkan Arena
Nov 2 Bergen, NO @ Landmark
Nov 3 Stavanger, NO @ Folken
Nov 5 Athens, GR @ Smoke the Fuzz Fest at Iera Odos
Nov 6 Berlin, DE @ Kesselhaus
Nov 7 Leipzig, DE @ Conne Island
Nov 9 Brno, CZ @ Kabinet Muz
Nov 10 Budapest, HUN @ Durer Kert
Nov 11 Cluj Napoca, RO @ The Shelter
Nov 12 Bucharest, RO @ Control Club
Nov 13 Sofia, BG @ Club Mixtape 5
Nov 14 Skopje, MC @ MKC
Nov 15 Belgrade, SR @ Elektropionir
Nov 17 Zagreb, HR @ Vintage Industrial Bar
Nov 18 Ljubljana, SL @ Orto Klub
Nov 19 Vienna, AT @ Arena
Nov 20 Prague, CZ @ Lucerna Music Bar

*Helen Money not playing

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