Russian Circles, The Atlas Moth at Rickshaw Theatre

Thursday 23rd, October 2014 / 16:57
By James Olson

Russian Circles. Photo: Sarah Whitlam

September 22, 2014

VANCOUVER — An atmosphere of austerity and dread was palpable over the course of the evening of music shared by The Atlas Moth and Russian Circles at The Rickshaw. The Chicago based five-piece which served as the opening act took their time before playing, letting fog fill the room and an eerie opening track set the mood before starting their set. With no direct lighting on any of the band members, the group opted to shroud themselves in shadow and purple back lighting which, needless to say, heightened the experience of their first ever show in Vancouver. The Atlas Moth’s metallic sound is hard to attach to any particular sub-genre. Armed with three guitarists and the occasional keyboard, the band’s sound was texturally dense, blending elements of sludge metal, black metal and even a dash of goth rock. Guitarist/vocalist Stavros Giannopoulos’ paint-peeling shriek was especially chilling on the final song “Wynona.”

Russian Circles may sound exceptional on record but they really have to be seen live to truly grasp the power they wield as a unit. Their musicality is staggering to say the least, especially the drum work of Dave Turncrantz, whose chops are jazz-worthy, particularly on the hi-hat. Keeping with the shrouded gloom of the opening act, Russian Circles were equally concealed behind a meticulous light show. The post-rock maestros effectively captured the gravitas of an orchestra performance. Ambient tones served as a continuous interlude between the dynamic shapeshifting of “Station” to the crushing heft of “Death Rides A Horse.” With absolutely no interaction between the band and the audience, the music was allowed to speak for itself and it spoke volumes.

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