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Russian Circles / KEN mode / Inter Arma: live in Cambridgelive in Cambridge (2014)
Reviewer Rating: 4
Contributed by: InaGreendaseInaGreendase
(others by this writer | submit your own)
I walked into a sold-out, crowded Middle East venue right in the middle of Inter Arma's set. The Richmond, VA, five-piece were right in the thick of opening things up for this (very) "alt"-metal extravaganza–emphasis on "thick." The band played drawn-out, stonery/sludgy metal with some black m.
I walked into a sold-out, crowded Middle East venue right in the middle of Inter Arma's set. The Richmond, VA, five-piece were right in the thick of opening things up for this (very) "alt"-metal extravaganza–emphasis on "thick." The band played drawn-out, stonery/sludgy metal with some black metal flourishes. Anytime it'd be singer Mike Paparo's turn to cackle or howl, he'd glare across the audience, whites of his eyes illuminating the room. Classic sight. The crowd seemed into it enough, getting their necks loose for the rest of the show. I concurred a bit with the exercise.
The last time I saw Russian Circles were on one of those randomly assembled–but nonetheless awesome–one-off "college show" lineups that also included Native and HRVRD, back in April 2013. (At that point, I think it was my first time seeing them since October 2006 with Minus the Bear.) 2011's Empros was quite good, but sometimes you just need that reminder of how reliable a band like that can be, not only turning out one interesting album after another but playing them live with fine attention to detail, an arsenal of effects pedals to mix up the sound, and enough thickening churning to make it a very worthwhile time. That reliability was on display tonight, with the modern post-metal standard-bearers steady and unwavering through a nearly hour-and-a-half-long set (drummer Dave Turncrantz had an off moment or two, but he was pretty on-point otherwise). They pulled from across their solid catalog, with each album represented by at least one song (if the setlist I found is accurate at all; I get sketchy trying to recall song titles by these types of bands), and almost half of both their last two albums (Empros and last year's Memorial). I couldn't complain about song choice, since they definitely stuck to their more dynamic and notable material (or as I like to professionally call them, "that one with the heavy-ass-practically-a-mosh-part," "the one with the gnarly bass riff," and "that one with the really cool rhythm"). But I would have LOVED to hear the "Memorial" title track, easily one of my favorites from RC's three dozen songs or so–there had to be someone around that could pull off Chelsea Wolfe's haunting delivery well enough, no? Nonetheless, it was a good time, one that quite literally physically exhausted me from all its power and detailed articulation from the three gentlemen.
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