The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

RUSSIAN CIRCLES

WITH EAGLE TWIN

AND DROWNING HORSE

LIVE AT THE BAKERY, PERTH

30 SEPTEMBER 2012

 

 

 

There is a lot of music on tonight in Perth- Fear Factory are prowling just over the railway tracks at The Capitol, whilst local rockers Ragdoll and Emerald City rock out not 300 yards away at Black Betty’s.

 

 

Now all that really has very little to do with Russian Circles but it does show one thing: that rock in all its shades and glory is alive and kicking in Perth.

 

 

The crowd here tonight is a young crowd of punks, shoe gazers, beard twitchers and what you might generally describe as ‘alternative’, in fact I think tonight that Russian Circles guitarist Mike Sullivan probably has the most sensible shoes of anyone in the building, me included…

 

 

The thing that matters most though is that The Bakery is packed and everyone is expecting something rather special. It’s testament to Heathen Skulls that yet gain they are bringing over the bands that people want to see and otherwise would generally get ignored by the mainstream touring companies.

 

 

Getting in a little late I manage to catch only the dying embers of the performance by Drowning Horse and to be honest based on those final few minutes I think I will reserve my judgement for another time. It may well have been the end of a very powerful performance, but two chords struck repeatedly and crashing drums with a singer on his knees, occasionally letting loose a growl, makes those few minutes seem like hours.

 

 

Eagle Twin is something else entirely though. Drummer Tyler Smith looks like a brooding beast as he takes his seat behind the drums and Gentry Densley on voice and guitar somehow manages to beat him in the brooding stakes. There’s an explosion of energy, and we’re off and to be honest the energy never really stops.

 

 

Eagle Twin serves up a sludgy stew of doom-laden Metal, propelled by at times almost thrash-jazz drumming and an unearthly chant/wail that seems to not just emanate from Gentry’s mouth but almost permeate his whole being.

 

 

For those that haven’t seen the band it is a little unnerving (which we like) and when they let lose they just drift (if drifting is possible when you are this loud) into lengthy slabs of instrumental psychedelic doom stoner blues metal. The crowd whilst being appreciative and nodding in the right places are more cautious than you might imagine and more studied than you would necessarily expect at a traditional metal gig.

 

 

I recognise a few tunes in there from their first outing ‘The Unkindness of Crows’ and pick some pieces from the recent ‘The Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale’ but to be honest to the largely untrained ear it’s all a little daunting.
Now Russian Circles I have been anticipating for some time now, back down-under for a second visit, when I spoke to Brian Cook (bass) earlier in the month he promised me a live show to remember.

 

 

By the time they clip the Edison bulbs onto their equipment and lay out the array of effects I’m already anticipating an onslaught (and to be honest the bulbs even impressed me).

 

 

Emerging from the darkness onto a stage that is sparsely lit, save for those cool Edison bulbs and a few lights here and there (probably for health and safety reasons) Russian Circles take the stage to a vaguely eastern- flavoured backing track. With a floor area strewn with pedals and a Persian Carpet they break into the crescendos and emotive movie soundtrack rock of 309. At times it’s hard to believe that such a soup of sound can be created by three men.

 

 

If you haven’t heard or experienced Russian Circles before then it’s hard to actually put into words how much more of an experience they are in the live arena than they sound on album. The sound, for example, is intense and urgent and whist it can be heavy as hell, can be subtle too.

 

 

Listening to Russian Circles a casual observer might see them as a jam band purely because of the way some of their compositions spread, but really that is so far from the truth; and the sound of the songs recreated live is pretty faithful to those laid down. It just sounds more intense, urgent and addictive. It’s music to let wash over you, music to react to emotionally and music that is so much more than the sum of its parts especially with the absence of lyrics.

 

 

In there own right songs like ‘Harper Lewis’ and ‘Geneva’ are just massive and yet so very different! The band manages to create rich sounds just by using effects and creating tones that Mike and Brian manage to layer before Dave hammers them home on drums. It’s seemingly seamless and effortless. ‘Geneva’ for me is a high point like rolls of dark velvet being uncoiled, then saturated by bass before some wonderful dextrous guitar. It’s unmissable.

 

 

If you want a new experience that will truly open your eyes, you need Russian Circles.

 

 

 

by Mark Diggins