mon 15/04/2024

CD: Russian Circles – Blood Year | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Russian Circles – Blood Year

CD: Russian Circles – Blood Year

Experimental three-piece get seriously noisy

Blood Year: mesmerising yet brutal

The sound of Blood Year is mesmerising, yet also brutal, like a vast sonic ocean it explodes with relentless violence and then ebbs back to meander in the musical shallows, with soft melodic passages, before picking up the pace and again throwing caution to the winds.

Over 15 years and six albums, experimental three-piece, Russian Circles have had a similar approach to instrumental music as post-rockers Mogwai, but one less cinematic in tone. For their latest opus, however, Mike Sullivan, Dave Turncrantz and Brian Cook have turned up the volume to 11 in the places where it counts. Despite beginning with the deceptively melodic “Hunter Moon”, Blood Year soon lets rip with the pounding drums, fuzzy bass riff and hectic post-punk guitar of “Arluck”. This flows into the epic one-two of “Milano” and “Kohokia” which are initially, considered yet heavy before hitting monster grooves that alternate in intensity, going completely helter skelter and then calming down before reigniting.

Elsewhere, “Ghost on High” is built from melodic loops over a low deep drone before it transforms into something more menacing, and then evolves into the heavy prog juggernaut of “Sinaia”. Like a more melodic Earth, Russian Circles build the intensity slowly, burst into a musical hurricane, suddenly drop to a single strummed guitar, before taking off once more. Finally, “Quartered” brings things to a close that is no whimper but a galloping metal riff that evolves into a space rock monster that is alternately trance-like and brutal.

Blood Year describes a musical arc and sonic thread that skips tempos and even genres both between songs and within them. Indeed, it is something of a rarity in 2019, being an album that really needs to be heard from beginning to end in one sitting rather than selectively sampled.

An album that really needs to be heard in one sitting rather than selectively sampled


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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