Since 2004, Russian Circles have built their name on staggeringly heavy instrumental albums, fierce, unrelenting shows, and a work ethic that surpasses most other bands. Monday night at One Eyed Jacks, the band, which is made up of guitarist Mike Sulivan, drummer Dan Turncrantz, and, the snazziest dresser in the world of post-metal, Brian Cook on bass, burst onto the stage and delivered slightly over an hours worth of their most punishing riffs and chord arrangements.
Even near the nights 9pm start time, the first sign of an energetic evening was clear-the room was already filled to the brim. It was near capacity and absolutely filled with bodies pressing together. It's clear the band had gained a fair bit of attention since the last time they played the Parish to a half-full room.
As smoke filled the stage and wandering lights flickered in front the bands hear, the members casually approached the stage and plugged in. During the opening minutes of "Arluck," the drums were bold and forceful. With that, the evening was off to a heavy start. The band, with six albums under their belts, now have a very potent sound that's all their own. They've found what works for them and have been gradually building on that. Based on the turnout, they're doing something right. The don't have any overt audience interaction as they don't talk to the crowd, but the smile on the face of Sullivan is all you needed to see to know they were enjoying it too.
Only one song the band has released has vocals, so the band has made an impact through huge musical arrangements and kept the audience enthralled without ever having to say a word. Over the course of ten songs, the band bombarded at the audience musically that culminated in thunderous applause between songs.
Three songs that were featured came from their new album Blood Year,but the great thing about Russian Circles is their ability to have a signature sound while also evolving in their craft. They have a sound that's dark and brooding, but it could also fit in a brutal fantasy-inspired world like something you'd find in Mordor or beyond the Wall in Game of Thrones.
The music is built for battle and devastation, and Russian Circles have plenty of both to dish out. "Deficit" off of Memorial was in-your-face and had that classic metal bounce, but the intensity didn't stop there-it would it stop for the remaining eight songs. Classic fan favorites like the bass heavy "Harper Lewis" got the meager most pit going, and various people lost their minds under the ever changing but simple lights. The fact that the band doesn't have an elaborate light show, but is still able to affect the audience, speaks volumes of how powerful their sound is.
Although the show only lasted an hour, but as Mike, Dan and Brian delivered the epic "309," it was readily apparent that hour was all the time needed to deliver a raucously heavy show.
Photos courtesy of Steven Hatley