RUSSIAN CIRCLES. Underworld, London. 13.04.10

Things like this don’t go unnoticed. Thing like Richter-bothering earthquakes, black as death thunderstorms, and the voice of god- things that shake the planet- things like Russian Circles. And sure enough the Underworld is rammed tonight, and not just with beardy weirdy dudes but proper actual people and everything. And of course it is- over the past few years this Chicago trio have turned from post-rock also-rans into genre-busting behemoths with a mammoth live show to match. From slow-burning, sinister start to colossal finish they carve out gigantic, titanic riffs, hypnotising rhythms, and songs that sound like could run on and on and on, so blessed are they with a life of their own. But alongside these rolling apocalypse jams there are moments of magical tender beauty too. Almost ambient interludes arrive like whispers or swell and segue into the next track, never taking away from the flow and energy of the show but building on it, adding vital space and giving just enough breathing room for people to take in how amazing the last song was and prepare for the next one. And the next one is always something- a quiet/loud dark/light slow-motion rollercoaster, a galloping headbanger, or the greatest instrumental that Metallica never wrote- all propelled forward by gritty bass tones, guitar loops and roars, and Dave Turncrantz’s particularly precise and bloody brilliant drumming. Raw but never ragged, not revolutionary but quite capable of causing fear, awe, or religious fervour, and honestly, absolutely, genuinely awesome- seriously, you can quickly run out of words trying to describe how big and brilliant a sound these three small men can make...

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