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Russian Circles

Mike Thomas | July 11, 2014

A Polarizing Breakthrough

Russian Circles guitarist Mike Sullivan didn’t necessarily expect the widespread praise that the band’s fifth album Memorial—released late last year—has received. “It is kind of a heavier, darker album…we thought it would be more of a polarizing album,” he says. Arguably the band’s most polished and dynamic effort to date, Memorial helped Russian Circles exponentially expand their finely tuned post-rock/metal sound further than any of the band’s albums have before. The Chicago-based trio—Sullivan, bassist Brian Cook and drummer Dave Turncrantz—have been at it since 2004 and agree on a solely instrumental vision, which Sullivan views as an endless well of new ideas. “We’re never done—there’s always more options, and especially as an instrumental band, you have so many options.” While some may see the lack of vocals as a negative, for Russian Circles, staying instrumental could turn out to be a positive when it comes to the long haul, which the band seems more than ready for. “We don’t wanna talk about it, but there’s a long-term goal of timeless music, to be this band that goes the long run—to be able to go back five, 10 years from now and the album is still relevant in some way.”