RUSSIAN CIRCLES + Crouch
Across the span of their previous seven studio albums, Chicago-based instrumental trio Russian Circles traversed a diverse topography of sounds, moods, and approaches with their limited armory of drums, bass, and guitar. It’s difficult to chart an evolution in their sound when their records have always felt like well-curated playlists. It wasn’t uncommon to hear drone-heavy meditations, dazzling prog exercises, knuckle-dragging riff-fests, haunting folk ballads, and tension-baiting noise rock all within the span of one album. Still, it’s difficult to ignore the progression from the pensive and intricate melodies of Enter (2006) to the layered distorted dirges of Blood Year (2019). It’s been a gradual sonic shift owing to the band’s rigorous tour schedule and a predilection towards playing their more authoritative material on stage. But with their latest album, Gnosis, Russian Circles eschew the varied terrain of their past work and bulldoze a path through the most tumultuous and harrowing territory of their sound.
As was the case for so many artists in the age of COVID, the obstacles of geography and isolation forced Russian Circles to reevaluate their writing process. Rather than crafting songs out of fragmented ideas in the practice room, full songs were written and recorded independently before being shared with other members, so that their initial vision was retained. While these demos spanned the full breadth of the band’s varied styles, the more cinematic compositions were ultimately excised in favor of the physically cathartic pieces.
CROUCH was founded somewhere around 2021 when Levy Seynaeve and Wim Coppers decided the world needed a good, slow heavy band. After working together on 4 Wiegedood albums, it quickly became clear that the songwriting mojo also translated when composing Crouch songs.
When 4 songs were finished, the EP was recorded by Gilles Demolder (Wiegedood, Siem Reap, Oathbreaker). Up until then, there was no bass player and Levy recorded all the bass lines himself. This search was quite an easy task: Jasper Hollevoet, who earned his stripes in Siem Reap and Ventilator, provedto be a great match. Crouch was born and is ready to take over.
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