The release of a new Rings of Saturn album "Lugal Ki En" has made its ominous approach towards Earth for a while now. This is music centered on the genocide of the human race and it appears as if it may have made a preemptive strike. The masters of hyper speed shred alien metal have let loose with a full album stream for "Lugal Ki En" on YouTube this week! That means you can listen to the whole thing right here, right now by simply looking down. The official release will follow up this event on October 14th in North America and October 17th in Europe via Unique Leader Records. Pre-orders are up for the taking right HERE.
For those who don't know, this is the third full-length album to be presented by the Bay Area (outer space) tech death(core) unit Rings of Saturn. They initially found success through the mind melting instrumental shred and relentless brutality of 2010's "Embryonic Anomaly". They would move forward to metaphorically explode with "Dingir" (first heard in 2012 but technically released in 2013). Ever since, they've received both reward and disdain, splitting opinions within the metal community. One camp can't believe how insane the music is while another camp doesn't even believe it's music, even claiming that all the instrumental parts are recorded at half speed and sped up by aliens. Either way, Rings of Saturn can pull off their music live. I was less than 5 feet away covering Summer Slaughter 2013 in the photo pit and the band certainly didn't have any trouble keeping up with the furious pace. Regardless, a large following of fans (minions?) have been rabidly anticipating another dosage of UFO metal music. That time is now upon us. Let the probing begin!
Now, it goes without saying that "Lugal Ki En" channels much of the "Tech Death on crack" feel that we've come to know and even enjoy from this band. But it also bears saying something is different about Rings of Saturn this time 'round. To sum up the weight of this album.. Well, it's heavy. But it's just a notch less heavy than their previous releases. And with good reason. The band seems to be more focused on this album. It's a much more dynamic release. While previously flying to and fro with quite strange, even random vigor, the band is now pulling out more consonance from the dissonance, and more melody from the absolute chaos. I'd also say this album has more of a "djent" feel than both of the previous releases combined. Even so, this is still very much the Rings of Saturn we know. Get abducted.
"Senseless Massacre" rips open the album without sympathy, meaning the album singles have something in common. I'm looking at you, track 9. This was an excellent choice for the first "Lugal Ki En" single / album opener. Not only does it remove your insides, it shows you a summary glimpse of what you're getting yourself into. Several other tracks also stand out among the fleet. Take the aforementioned tack 9 for example. "Unsympathetic Intellect" is one certifiable skull cracker of an addition. My favorites on this release would probably have to be "Infused" (featuring the guitarist madman Rusty Cooley), "Desolate Paradise", "Godless Times", "Eviscerate", the epic instrumental trip "The Heavens Have Fallen", and of course "Senseless Massacre". Interestingly enough, the band also covers a Suicide Silence song as a Mitch Lucker tribute to close out the album. To be more specific, they cover "No Pity for a Coward" and actually do a damn good job of it.
The album isn't all quasars and nebulas though. As mentioned a read back, Rings of Saturn have a bit more of a melodic, musically driven approach on "Lugal Ki En". Most of the time it works well, but a few times the songwriting sounds too forced, even cheesy (though this is likely done on purpose). Take the opening of "Lalassu Xul" for instance. Another flaw found in the new approach is that the band will pull off something really awesome then awkwardly transition into a slow paced deathcore breakdown. Speaking of which, for such a fast and capable band, they really like the slow breakdowns. At least some are more imaginative than others.
On a humorous note, the band pulls off a "joke's on you" with the song "Godless Times". After being accused so many times of using midis and studio supplementation, the band includes some Guitar Pro soundbankage on the track. Worth a chuckle and it still manages to sound good.
In the end, "Lugal Ki En" successfully pulls off the xenocide. This is a damn worthy addition to the abrasive, growing Rings of Saturn discography. It very much stays true to the band's sound while branching out for the better. It shows growth and greatness. This album gets 8 probes out of 10.