Sound — 10
Russian Circles are a three piece instrumental band from Chicago. Enter is their first 'proper' release, yet if you poke your head around any online post rock den, you will find countless people singing their praises. They have a perfectly good reason to. Their sound is a totally equal balance between the three instruments: guitar, bass guitar and drums that creates a true post rock journey. Despite the lengths of the tracks reaching nine minutes, they very rarely repeat ideas and because of this Enter's 6 tracks feel more like paths of music than songs. There are moments of metal ferocity ('Death Rides A Horse') and moments of delicate and sombre soundscaping ('Micah') yet there is a conscious intensity in the music throughout. You can tell that the music has spawned from extensive jams by the highly progressive nature of the tracks, but it is astounding to think about how these jams managed to be so consistent in quality whilst flowing naturally within and between songs.
Each third of Russian Circles gives a difference texture to the band. Drummer Dave Turncrantz supplies huge levels of energy and precision, guitarist Mike Sullivan adds texture and flavour using as many methods as you'd care to name and the recently departed bassist Colin DeKuiper simultaneously locks in with both Turncrantz and Sullivan and provides the band with it's melodic cornerstone and timbre. The music isn't melodic in the traditional sense yet you always find yourself comfortable in the chemistry between bass and guitar in the band. There are several sections on this album that you will not get out of your head for several months, yet they are not the sort to be hummed along to. The performance of each member technically is stellar. Watching them live I was very impressed by the Turncrantz's energy and consistency and the Sullivan's ability to set every changing mood immediately, as well as Colin's set-long presence in 'the pocket', despite the band not being groove based at all.
Lyrics — 10
Since the band is instrumental, there is nothing to talk about here. The 10 given is simply to maintain the average score from all three ratings.
Overall Impression — 10
From the most basic description of Russian Circles (energetic post rock with an injection of metal), they could be linked to several other bands such as Isis, Red Sparowes and fellow Chicago residents Pelican. However, upon listening to Enter the difference is very noticeable. This album has quickly become one of my favourite post rock albums and the potential of a new album on the horizon for 2008 is exciting, despite the sad departure of Colin DeKuiper. The sound the band creates is very much recognisable to someone who has heard it yet the different melodies will evoke different emotions in everybody. I would very much recommend that everybody interested in music of any kind would at least try to find out for themselves.