If I didn't deliver a challenging article on music, I would feel remiss in not providing signs to music that is not often heard or enjoyed. As a young individual in Streator, I had a fascination with many types of music. Some differed from Boston, Beatles, Rolling Stones, and many of the other, more widely accepted bands. Since little I read mainstream pointed me in the right direction, I depended on many other forms of write-ups to alert me to bands and artists that I might find interesting, even of those bands and artists never reached the point of fame that say, a band like Aerosmith reached.
For this reason, I like to throw in a little something that speaks to that person that is always looking for a musical challenge. A Chicago band by the name of Russian Circles have just that kind of musical challenge. Their music is not Top 40 material. They will not produce a song that sits in everyone's consciousness for decades. But they do speak to someone's idea of good music. That someone might be you.
Russian Circles is a trio of musicians that produce music generally of the instrumental kind. Often, their music is considered dark. Certainly it is considered intense. Several years ago, they released their last album, Empros, a six-track album with several long compositions that was referred to as the band's Masters Of Reality (Black Sabbath) album. The music on Empros is brooding, experimental, and, at times, a heavy grind of guitar, bass, and drums. But it resonated with fans, especially those looking for a loosely-termed dark metal approach. While I tend to avoid such genre-enclosing terms (like metal), I can see the where the term becomes attached as the music is often hard.
On October 29, Russian Circles plan the release of their fifth album, just slightly over two years from their last, almost to the day (Empros was released on October 25, 2011). Recently, in a Rolling Stone magazine write-up, Russian Circles' bassist, Brian Cook, said that the new album, called Memorial, will start “with a stripped down version of the song (“Memorial”), and end with the full band song.” Cook also states that the new album is “straightforward, intense, heavy,...subconsciously gravitated toward darker and more somber sounds.”
Having been a fan of Russian Circles since their 2008 album, Station, I am quite excited by what direction they may be going with this new album. On the song, “Memorial”, (available to stream below this article), Russian Circles have the guest vocals of Chelsea Wolfe, who is an interesting metal art-folk artist who shares the Sargent House label with the band.
Memorial is available to pre-order with a CD or vinyl LP bundle that comes with a choice of two tee-shirts, a poster, digital download rights, and either the CD or vinyl LP (in traditional black, clear, or translucent steel gray colors). Or there is the lone wolf choice, the CD by itself.
If you have never heard Russian Circles, and you like a hard-edged sound, I suggest giving the stream below a listen. You might surprise yourself.