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Russian Circles’ new single, Betrayal, is the cathartic post-metal rager you need in your life right now

Russian Circles performing live
(Image credit: Aldara Zarraoa / Getty)

Russian Circles are gearing up for the release of their new full-length, Gnosis, on August 19, and have now debuted the second song from the record, Betrayal.

When the band first revealed their eighth studio album was on the way last month,  the announcement teased it would be “an album that favors the exorcism of two years’ worth of tension over the melancholy and restraint that often colored their past endeavours.” 

That, it turns out, was putting it politely. Betrayal offers a thrilling five-minute wave of caustic drop-tuned riffs that seems to melt everything in its path, albeit with a level of awe and beauty. The effect is sort of like watching a volcanic eruption, except it is in your ears and uses more guitars and pedals.

The track is the second single from the record, following on the heels of Conduit, which debuted in June. That song opened with a blend of Mastodon-meets-old-school thrash riffs, before evolving into an altogether more complex picture, one that cleverly weaved the post-metal and thrash landscapes together. And, until today, we thought that was the sound of Russian Circles being angry. 

Gnosis has reportedly been inspired by the ongoing global cluster-fluff that has faced us all since the release of their last album, 2019’s Blood Year, which explains the more heated songwriting and vicious tonal palette. 

Kurt Ballou is back on production duties and the band decamped to his God City Studio in Salem for guitar overdubs – and it feels like you can hear the benefit of his sizeable gear haul on Betrayal, in particular.

Judging by what we’ve heard so far, this is material that undoubtedly leans far more heavily on guitarist Mike Sullivan’s metal and heavy Krautrock influences, as opposed to the Pink Floyd-spaciousness of previous releases. Regardless, Gnosis is shaping up to be an essential listen – someone has poked the bear and we are enjoying the rampaging results.

The release of Gnosis will be quickly followed by an extensive North American tour in September/October 2022. View the full list of dates below.

Russian Circles Gnosis cover

(Image credit: Russian Circles)

Gnosis track list

  • Tupilak
  • Conduit
  • Gnosis
  • Vlastimil
  • Ó Braonáin
  • Betrayal
  • Bloom

Russian Circles 2022 North American tour dates

* Features support from Rezn

  • Sep 15 Minneapolis, MN - Fine Line
  • Sep 17 Denver, CO - Gothic
  • Sep 18 Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
  • Sep 20 Seattle, WA - Croc Showroom
  • Sep 21 Portland, OR - Revolution Hall
  • Sep 23 San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
  • Sep 24 Felton, CA - Felton Music Hall
  • Sep 25 Los Angeles, CA - The Regent
  • Sep 26 Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom
  • Sep 29 Austin, TX - Empire Garage
  • Sep 30 Dallas, TX - Amplified Live
  • Oct 01 Memphis, TN - Growlers
  • Oct 27 St. Louis, MO - Delmar Hall *
  • Oct 28 Louisville, KY - Headliner's *
  • Oct 29 Atlanta, GA - Terminal West *
  • Oct 30 Orlando, FL - The Social *
  • Nov 01 Asheville, NC - Grey Eagle *
  • Nov 02 Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle *
  • Nov 04 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club *
  • Nov 05 Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live *
  • Nov 06 Brooklyn, NY – Warsaw *
  • Nov 08 Boston, MA - The Sinclair *
  • Nov 09 Montreal, QC - Theatre Fairmount *
  • Nov 10 Toronto, ON – Opera *
  • Nov 11 Detroit, MI - El Club *
  • Nov 12 Chicago, IL – Metro *

Head to Russian Circles (opens in new tab), if you want to pre-order Gnosis, or book tickets for their tour dates.

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Matt Parker
Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk (opens in new tab), which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.