Rhythm & Views

Russian Circles

It's cloudy outside as I write this, and Russian Circles' Enter seems enhanced by the gray skies and wet concrete. The Chicago-based instrumental trio's songs swell with looped guitar parts and artistic heavy metal dramatics that could make even the sunniest desert day seem darker: Enter's six songs are aural representations of Chicago that rise in your ears with wind, tall buildings and snowy streets.

Don't let the quiet chiming at the beginning of "Carpe" fool you--on the horizon, pillars of guitar will be visible. Normally the kind of guitar hammering at the beginning of "Death Rides a Horse" is reserved for the climactic solo, but since Russian Circles' songs don't follow any sort of traditional rock-song pattern, they can let the music take them wherever it wants to go. Sometimes it's to sustained chords that morph into feedback; sometimes it's to quick riffs as loud as walls of speakers.

The Mellotron at the beginning of "You Already Did" makes for a nice break from the devil-conjuring of the rest of the record: a heartbeat-like sound begins; the guitar feedback drips in slowly as the bass steps forward; and by the end, beautiful harmonics echo like icicles on skyscrapers. But as "New Macabre," the last song, gently builds back up to fast drums and scary wails, the dark rock at the core of Enter looks out the windows and growls.

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