Tag Archives: Russian Circles

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Catch Mastodon and Eagles of Death Metal Live at the Hammerstein

May 9th, 2017

Effortlessly mixing progressive metal with grindcore and hardcore, the four guys in MastodonTroy Sanders (vocals and bass), Brent Hinds (vocals and guitar), Bill Kelliher (guitar) and Brann Dailor (vocals and drums)—have been touring and releasing music, each with equal acclaim, for more than 15 years now. The Atlanta quartet (above, performing “Show Yourself” live on Jimmy Kimmel Live!) just put out their seventh full-length, Emperor of Sand (stream it below), at the end of March. “Drawing as much from their past as well as their present, Mastodon refuse to go extinct just shy of two decades of music-making,” according to Exclaim. “Emperor of Sand is at once emotionally powerful and musically arresting.”

Longtime friends Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme and singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jesse Hughes formed Eagles of Death Metal (below, doing “Speaking in Tongues” live in Paris) almost 20 years ago in the Southern California desert, making what AllMusic calls “classic bluesy rock with tongue-in-cheek humor” off and on ever since. Their most recent release, Zipper Down (stream it above), arrived in 2015. “Sexy, fierce and occasionally very, very silly, this is an album made to be played on jukeboxes in backwater biker bars the world over, loudly,” per NME. And with a new album on the horizon, Eagles of Death Metal team up with Mastodon to play the Hammerstein Ballroom on Thursday night. Chicago trio Russian Circles open the show.

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Russian Circles – Warsaw – September 30, 2016

October 3rd, 2016

Russian Circles - Warsaw - September 30, 2016

Photos courtesy of Silvia Saponaro | www.saponarophotography.com

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Russian Circles Stand Out

November 15th, 2011

Russian Circles – The Bowery Ballroom – November 14, 2011


In an already crowded field of metal instrumental bands these days, it takes a lot of skill and innovation for Chicago’s Russian Circles to have worked their way into the playlists of fans alongside well-established acts like Pelican, Red Sparowes and This Will Destroy You. The group has managed to carve out a niche, combining elements of heavy doom metal and technical sampled guitar from Mike Sullivan. Their melodic propulsion has been steadily evolving across four albums, culminating in much of the material from Empros played last night at The Bowery Ballroom.

Dave Turncrantz has his work cut out for him on drums, creating the complex backbone of precise pounding in order to drive the epic heights and valleys of layered guitar and bass tones. The stage experience Russian Circles creates is as equally controlled, lit only by four blinding bare bulbs, which reflected off the polished cymbals when the sound dropped into full volume, leaving the band to play in silhouette. There were no pauses or interaction between songs, just a slowly fading cycle of delayed loops fading into distortion, as if this were one long calculated piece full of classical movements.

The exception was an unplanned break due to Brian Cook’s bass head completely blowing out midshow, which speaks to the punishment his amp has received over the tour, the physicality of their live show and their focus on bass-driven tracks, the guttural crunch clearly having taken its toll on equipment. After a quick fix, the trio was back to defying instrumental convention, forcing every note and melodic drone front and center, impossible to be heard as merely soundtrack, propping up those visually emotional moments, creating them out of the darkness. —Jason Dean