I totally get the concept of acquired tastes. When I was in high school while my friends were getting buzzed on Miller High Life and puffing on Kools I was drinking Cutty Sark and smoking Lucky Strikes. I couldn’t see what they were excited about and they thought I was on my own planet.
Russian Circles seem to be on a planet of their own making – only I felt like a visitor there – and not a very welcome one. Theirs is a planet of droning shapeless music designed – I think – to enhance a good trip – although not a road trip.
Thinking in terms familiar to the average music listener – Russian Circles can be defined as a metal-jam-goth band. They seem to be the type of group that cringes at the every notion of labels – but for our purposes the labels at least create an accessible expectation of the music.
Metal-Jam-Goth isn’t necessarily a negative term – it is just my interpretation of these long sprawling musical journeys that reflect the most common elements of Metal, Jam, and Goth music.
Many Americans don’t like Middle Eastern or Asian music because they are unaccustomed to it. It doesn’t fit well into their (dare I say?) virgin ears. The time signatures are different – the scales are different. It can be jarring to the uninitiated.
Russian Circles – while wholly American – have blended the genres to the point that they don’t settle well for me. The result veers toward melodramatic horror film soundtrack.
I am hard pressed to create a negative review because Russian Circles surely have a clear idea of what they want to do musically. Empros is just not something I am interested in listening to on a regular basis.
They are committed to that they do and for that you might give Empros a listen. You may find their odd darkness fused with a few strands of hope is just what the doctor ordered – especially if you are planning any trips any time soon.
Stand Out Track
Schiphol (the first3:40)