Russian Circles



by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
November 21st, 2006 | 47 replies

Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A post-rock band that possesses the ability to range from a quiet, sparse sound to a dense wall of sound that rivals some of the best metal bands in the world. Although with only three members, the possibilities are endless.

I know what everyone thinks when they hear about a marching band. They think the marching band is just the support for the football team and at halftime; they go out and ruin old pop songs. In my school district, this could not be further from the truth. While our football team finished near the bottom of their division with a record of 3-8, shut out two times, our marching band came in 5th place at the Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast Championships, which includes over 400 bands from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Delaware, New York, and Ohio. The band is easily the most successful program in the school. What does this have to do with Russian Circles? Well, the use of contrast allows the band to achieve extremely high music scores. A large range of dynamics keeps the music energetic and interesting. Russian Circles manages to use a huge amount of contrast with only three members, and it makes for some of the most interesting post-rock music that, without the contrast, would be just an average post rock record.

Enter is the first full length album from Russian Circles, a band formed out of Chicago and looks to fellow Chicagoans Pelican for inspiration and direction. Although the two bands possess obvious similarities, Russian Circles focuses much more on their quiet passages and uses the metal-esque sections simply as climaxes. The band never plays around with time signatures or rhythm, their riffs are for the most part simple enough, and the chordal structure is interesting but nothing groundbreaking. The drummer, Dave Turncrantz, serves as the propelling force behind the band, laying down just the right groove at the right time. He adds a tint of rhythmic complexity with his fills, but never enough to detract from the overall sound. Guitarist Mike Sullivan is certainly not the most talented guitarist in the world. He plays his faster riffs rather sloppily at times and his tone squeaks here and there. His chord strumming sounds inconsistent, but his melodic ideas prove greater than his faults. Colin DeKuiper, bassist, creates the most contrast in the band, nearly disappearing in the quiet sections and becoming a relentless wall of sound in the heavier sections.

Although only six tracks, Enter spans nearly 50 minutes of music, making a typical length for a full length album. Even with three members, they manage to create enough variety to make the album a great listen. Carpe, although the longest track on the album, simply serves as the opening track to the album. It builds intensity and shows a quick representation of all the band’s sounds. It masterfully builds and falls multiple times, all while revolving around one simple melodic idea. The drums switch grooves throughout, either laying back or propelling forward. The heavier moments of the track appear to be all the band can muster, but later on the album; they take their metal sound to a whole new level. Death Rides a Horse opens viciously, almost sounding like a full band statement of Cliff Burton’s Anesthesia. However, that quickly changes, only serving as an intro. Death Rides a Horse is easily the overall heaviest and quickest song on Enter. Even this song possesses its contrast, though. After its heavy intro, it comes down a slight bit, showing off Sullivan’s best guitar work. It all builds to a surprisingly catchy riff that fits on just about any metal band’s album. It doesn’t stop there, though. After a drum feature, a dissonant hammering of guitar and bass like a death bell chimes in time after time. Death Rides a Horse may be the catchiest post-rock song ever created. The catchy riffs, the builds, and the great guitar work from Sullivan all make it an easy standout on the album.

Russian Circles knows how to make a build span an entire song as well. Enter, the title track, proves their point in a nearly eight minute epic. It features some of the most chaotic sections on the album, creating a remarkable wall of sound for only three members. Every song on the album is a true rollercoaster ride. They grow from the quietest clean guitar strums to huge, dissonant strokes of sound. However, the constant switch from one sound to the other becomes a bit tiring. The album needs a full song of their quieter sound to break up all the constant builds and falls. Despite the tiring switches, every song on the album is fantastic and this album is sure to stand as one of the finest of year, possibly the best post-rock album of the year.

Recommended Tracks:
Death Rides a Horse

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user ratings (554)
other reviews of this album
whatduffhuck7 (4.5)
Russian Circles creates instrumental music that you can sing on this album. Every song is a masterpi...

Comments:Add a Comment 
November 21st 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

Sweet review, mine would have sucked

I like this album.

November 21st 2006


Album Rating: 2.5

Typical post rock.

November 21st 2006


What pixies said.

however "Carpe" is an awesome song.

November 21st 2006


post-rock band

range from a quiet, sparse sound to a dense wall of sound

Isn't that a little redundant haha?

no propellers
November 22nd 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

i saw these guys live a month back, and they were real good live. i admit its nothing ground breaking, but still a good listen.

December 15th 2006


I've heard Carpe, and it was alright.

January 5th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

Great album, I agree it's not groundbreaking at all but I still awesome material.

In this album I love the raw, up-front drum sound that propels the band forward. The members obviously have a real chemistry, and I think they've used that to develop a fairly unique sound.This Message Edited On 01.05.07

January 9th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

I just started listening to this today, and I'm very impressed with the talent these guys possess. Each member knows their way around their instrument forwards and backwards, and so far, they've been making really neat, dynamic music with just three people.

"Carpe" is the most awesome song I've heard in a while.

August 10th 2007


I guess I'll agree that the album isn't ground breaking, but watching the guitarist flawlessly layer 3 or 4 guitar parts live is really impressive.

I saw these guys...must have been like 2 years ago. I was lucky enough to talk to the guitarist for a while. He was neat for sure. If you're a guitarist you'd be impressed with this guy's gear ill betcha

October 11th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

Might not be ground breaking but its just so well done.

Especially considering they are a three piece! alot of the post rock bands have like 7 members or whatever.

Their all incredibly tallented in my opinion.

October 24th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

Love this album. They aren't doing anything new really but they have a uniqueness about them.

October 24th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

This is a great album. Not ground breaking, as previously stated, but this is still a great and entertaining piece of music for sure.

November 12th 2007


Anyone have this album or a link to where I can get it?
francesthemute627 at

April 6th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

Album's pretty good so far. I really like Carpe.

Digging: Marie Davidson - Perte d'identit

Electric City
April 6th 2008


New Macabre's all I've heard here, and it was pretty cool. Might look this up

Digging: Foxing - Dealer

June 2nd 2009


this shit is really good

June 2nd 2009


Album fuckin rules.

July 1st 2009


Album Rating: 4.5

Good shit. Good review

July 9th 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

New Macabre is my favorite out of this.

December 7th 2009


Album Rating: 3.0

"They aren't doing anything new really but they have a uniqueness about them."

where have i heard that before?

oh wait...

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