Russian Circles – Blood Moon review: Top-drawer instrumental rock

Fri, Aug 2, 2019, 05:00


Blood Moon

Russian Circles

Sargent House


Russian Circles are an instrumental rock trio from Chicago who have been creating intricate compositions for more than a decade, and garnering a formidable reputation for sensational live performances in the process. 

Blood Year is no less than their seventh studio album, recorded in Steve Albini’s legendary studio, Electrical Audio in Chicago. Opening with the deliciously moody Hunter Moon, Blood Year soon explodes into frenetic life with a magnificent 6½-minute epic entitled Arluck, featuring stunning drumming by Dave Turncrantz, which is superbly captured by Kurt Ballou from Converge. 

Brian Cook’s fierce bass and the propulsive guitars of Mike Sullivan complete a pristine line-up of highly accomplished and effective musicians, who play the Button Factory next week and launch a European tour in support of Blood Moon. They also know how to do slow and melodic on another essential addition to a full-blooded and vital body of work. 

Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio facility is seemingly as productive and prolific as ever, as Blood Moon follows another superb release, Life Metal, by the experimental Seattle drone band Sunn O))), which was recorded entirely on analog tape. The presence of such proficient musicians, who still push the sonic envelope of guitar music in 2019, is most welcome.