Words – Clare
Photos – Mitch
Friday night on the 9th of February we headed to Max Watts for the Russian Circles ‘GNOSIS’ tour. With rave reviews of their recent performances and a four-band line-up, expectations were high and I for one was amped up for a cathartic four-hour dose of progressive metal.
The first supports of the evening were Melbourne’s cinematic post-metal quartet Myriad Drone who immediately grabbed our focus from the moment we walked into the venue. Playing mostly from their debut album ‘Arka Morgana’, each track was an audible excursion that slowly crescendoed and crashed in waves that washed over the audience. You could see the sheer joy the band members experienced while playing, sharing smiles and looks with each other throughout the set. We will all wait in anticipation for their new album to be released this year.
Another local band Treebeard followed in the line-up taking us on a post-rock, post-metal journey. The set was very moody and groovy which featured some rock and even hardcore elements during their new track. All the instruments had an opportunity in the spotlight as each member joined in layering the already impressive sounds. The drumming was phenomenal and the guitar work during the last track emitted an eery sound reminiscent of an accordion which was equally unsettling and beautiful. The impression they left on the audience was significant forcing one of the moved patrons to enthusiastically yell out, ‘This is sick, you fucking cunts!’
The room started to fill as the doom-jazz quartet from Perth took to the stage. Tangled Thoughts of Leaving joined Russian Circles on the Australian tour to promote their most recent album release ‘Oscillating Forest’. The set was a sound experience from the very beginning, almost jarring and upsetting at times, but it was all part of the fantastical adventure. Each note was brought right to the edge, testing its limits before being expertly reigned in. It was controlled chaos as its best that ended with a slow pulsating track that kept building in anticipation with such an abrupt climax the crowd gasped before bursting into a plenteous applause.
This was the first time in 5 years that Russian Circles graced our shores, so as the Ghost on High intro sounded and the instrumental trio from Chicago Illinois walked onto the low-lit stage hands up acknowledging the room, the crowd responded with enthusiasm. Although this tour celebrated the 2022 album release Gnosis with the self-titled track, Conduit and Betrayal on the set list, we also were treated with a tasting board of tracks from multiple albums including Blood Year, Memorial, Guidance, Empros, and Station. The concertgoers were consistently vocal throughout the set, hollering and cheering after every riff, tempo change or break, the energy was pure and intense. The performance was tight as the minimalist trio expertly moved between heavy brooding riffs, ethereal rhythms and engrossing feedback loops. Before we knew it the figures had completed the set leaving us feeling euphoric and satisfied.
Thanks to the Max Watts crew for having us and a special thanks to Birds Robe for arranging media access.
EVERYDAY METAL – SUPPORT LOCAL HEAVY METAL