Russian Circles play explosive set in Detroit featuring new album ‘Guidance’

Russian Circles

By Haintso Rakouth, Rock At Night Detroit Correspondent

Venue: El Club, Detroit–September 25, 2016

Last time I saw Russian Circles was last year when they played at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor in October. Seeing an instrumental band feels a bit different than a band with vocals–there’s no sing-along, but just lots of movement, smiles, and feeling the music.

Russian Circle is a trio band from Illinois and are known for their post-metal instrumental sound. I can’t recall how i got into Russian Circles, but I do remember the first time I heard their music, right away I was hooked. I’ve always been a bigger fan of instrumental vs. with music with vocals. I get lost faster when listening to instrumental music.

Russian Circle is on the road supporting their new album that came out in August called Guidance, the first album in three years since Memorial. I had the chance to listen to Guidance, and I have to say that it’s different from the other albums, but also it’s quite interesting. Geneva will always be my favorite album from Russian Circles, but this one comes in a heavy second. It is  still very heavy and dark, but something about their sound shows that they have opened a new chapter in their music.

Russian Circles opened up their set with  “Asa” and “Vorel”, which are featured in Guidance. If you had the chance to listen to the album, these two songs are the first two songs on the album. They fit perfectly together as “Asa” is a quiet, mellow song, whereas “Vorel” is an explosive and heavy song. Other song highlights during the evening were “Youngblood” from the album Station (it definitely was a fave from the audience’s reaction), “1777” from the album Memorial and much more.

One of the reasons seeing Russian Circles is a must is bassist, Brian Cook uses a Moog Taurus bass pedal synthesizer which right away grabs the audience attention. There are few musicians that use this effect pedal.

Another thing is the band brings their own back lighting rig, which also helps intensify the show. Just like the show from last year, it’s very dark, but I find their lighting helps define who Russian Circle is. The lighting works so well with their type of music.

If you are into Pelican, or heavy instrumental metal/rock music, I highly recommend to see Russian Circles live. You will definitely get lost into the music.

Photo Gallery


Russian Circles – “Vorel”


Russian Circles – “309” Empros Live Studio Sessions




Haintso Rakouth