Rings of Saturn
Lugal Ki En


3.0
good

Review

by Alex Newton USER (48 Reviews)
October 10th, 2014 | 203 replies


Release Date: 10/14/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Rings of Saturn deliver a tantalizingly weird album that, despite being a chore to listen to all at once, is full of moments that make it worth probing.

Rings of Saturn have been a pretty polarizing band throughout their early career. The group began as one of those dreaded internet phenomenon, with a single song that spread virally and landed them a record contract within months, and they’re probably as notorious for a speed-doctoring controversy as they are for their hyperkinetic deathcore. Of course, there was never any substantial evidence that Rings of Saturn cheated by recording their debut at half-tempo, and their live performances have dispelled the notion that they can’t play it anyway. Now on their third LP, Rings of Saturn are starting to find a comfortable niche between mainstream death metal and the experiments of Cynic and Between the Buried and Me. While their brand of “aliencore” isn’t totally novel – Wormed, for one, have landed their spaceship here a few times – it’s also curious enough to deserve a few listens from the adventurous metal head.

The first thing you’ll notice upon spinning Lugal Ki En is that every member of Rings of Saturn has some insane technical chops. The bucket-of-knives tempo changes in “Lalassu Xul” and stop-start rhythms of opener “Senseless Massacre” are in the class of bands like Deathspell Omega and Ulcerate (genre disparities notwithstanding), which is awesome so long as you can make coherent songs out of such brittle textures. Guitarists Lucas Mann and Joel Omans alternate between seismic low-end riffing, spastic mid-range runs, and deedly-doo arpeggios, with one or the other usually holding down the fort via distorted power chords. Some of the melodic pieces here are jaw-dropping, such as the waterfall textures of “Infused” in which rapidly-descending sweeps are panned right and left between each note to delightfully dizzying effect. Drummer Aaron Kitcher spends his time blasting away behind the assault of guitars, pausing at seemingly random intervals that somehow line up with whatever the heck the rest of the instruments happen to be doing at that time.

Mann appears to again be the band’s (ahem) ringleader, and when Rings of Saturn decides to get weird, they get weird. “Lalassu Xul” begins with a harpsichord playing simultaneous Dm and D#m7 arpeggios, which basically means a bunch of weird microtones that throw the song’s tonal center completely out of orbit. The guitars take up the same otherworldly mantra as the drums enter in swing time…like, what are these guys thinking? And how does it actually sound pretty cool? The song breaks into some more relatively normal scattershot riffing as Ian Bearer growls and squeals his way into the mix, and just when it’s getting into a groove, everything drops out. That harpsichord comes back for half a measure, and then is promptly obliterated by more machine-gun riffing. It all makes for some volcanic songwriting, but you can only dice a measure so many ways before the carefully-calculated rhythms begin to sound like a huge, repetitive mess of noise. Then again, Cynic and Atheist made a career out of screwing with your head, so as long as Mann and company can keep from totally recycling ideas, there’s ground yet to be covered.

Give Rings of Saturn credit for employing just about every imaginable melodic and rhythmic technique at some point to keep Lugal Ki En listenable. “The Heavens Have Fallen” serves as a great climax to the album, and despite its seven-minute run time, is one of its more coherent cuts. Mann and Omans play about eleventeen different lock-step riffs throughout the song’s opening barrage, which is followed by a strange, choppy acoustic-led break. The song, which proves to be instrumental (much to everyone’s delight), resumes its slash-and-burn riffing for another minute before giving way to ambient keyboards. There’s no way to keep synth pads from sounding cheesy on their own, but as they give way to more acoustic(ish) guitar, they restore a sense of much-needed tranquility before “No Pity for A Coward” returns to mop things up and end the album on a typically furious note. For all their bonkers songwriting, Rings of Saturn are just crazy and coherent enough to bring you back again. So sure, they’re just full of BS as every other “technical” and “experimental” metal band (just listen to the vocal sample that ends the album), but when Lugal Ki En goes off the deep end, it's worth waiting to see what insanity Rings of Saturn have up their collective sleeve.



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user ratings (263)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
Tjler (1.5)
Lugal Ki En: Technicality ✓ Brutality ✓ Originality ✓ Enjoyable? Sadly not for me......


Comments:Add a Comment 
pedro70512
October 9th 2014


4166 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Good, bad, or just wrong? I've been negged before over recs so please let me know. >.>

Brometheus
October 9th 2014


310 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Great review for a great album.



I love the derp in Lalassa Xuls's intro. This is probably going to end up the most over/underrated album in tech death this year.





emester
October 9th 2014


8163 Comments


This is dweddle doody poop IMO

Digging: Spectral Voice - Eroded Corridors of Unbeing

pedro70512
October 9th 2014


4166 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I can totally understand that. There's a lot of dweedly-doo on here.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 9th 2014


10147 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Great review. Good album. I agree on all points.



I think you spelled Aaron Kitcher's first name incorrectly, tbh I didn't know he was the band's drummer.



I think the technical jargon in the third paragraph would be better served omitted. Not everyone knows these technicalities and it just confuses those kind of people.

Digging: Wolves in the Throne Room - Thrice Woven

pedro70512
October 9th 2014


4166 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

"The only bands off the top of my head you could compare to these guys stylistically would be Braindrill, Viraemia and maybe Archspire."



Wormed and Soreption aren't so far off, and the other two are good and somewhat experimental tech death from the last year. I don't know. Maybe I'll just list the first two so I don't mislead anyone.

Brometheus
October 9th 2014


310 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Recommended bands should be: Aversions Crown/Abiotic/Beneath The Massacre/Infant Annihilator



I don't think Jac gets it.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 9th 2014


10147 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Honestly those are fairly fitting Brometheus

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 9th 2014


10147 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Abiotic especially

pedro70512
October 9th 2014


4166 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

"I think the technical jargon in the third paragraph would be better served omitted."



I chopped some out so it reads more cleanly. Probably a good call there, thanks.

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 9th 2014


10147 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

It soundeds a little bit tamed but still fairly over the top. I felt the same way about dingirs production tho

Brometheus
October 9th 2014


310 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

The production is much much better on this.

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
October 9th 2014


24401 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

“Lalassu Xul” begins with a harpsichord playing concurrent Dm andD#m7 arpeggios, which basically means a bunch of weird-ass minor second microtones that throw the song’s tonal center completely out of orbit.




missing a space between "and" and "D#m7". also saying "weird-ass" in that sentence kind of throws off the tone. youre throwing down music theory, using clever metaphors, basically sounding sophisticated and proper, so "weird-ass" sticks out like a sore thumb. maybe "odd" or some variation would work better there



great review though, although obviously i disagree with the rating. these guys are insane on their respective instruments. have a pos

Digging: Protest the Hero - Pacific Myth

pedro70512
October 9th 2014


4166 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

@Insurrection -- Will do. It fits the music but not the tone of my review.



@Jac -- Yeah, I flipped Cynic for Wormed. That was an obvious change.

ikarus
October 10th 2014


576 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pretty neat album, much better than their previous.

adr
October 10th 2014


11706 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

not rly, it's still rly bad and the wankery is even more then before

emester
October 10th 2014


8163 Comments


Oh yeah great review pedro even though I hate this wanky wonky doody shit

Omeggia
October 10th 2014


191 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Good review have a pos

I feel a 3.5 is probably the highest any reviewer could realistically give this and still sound credible

Comatorium.
October 10th 2014


4791 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

dont get the hate for albums like this being tweedle dee bullshit... that's the fuckin genre

KILL
October 10th 2014


80846 Comments


and the genre sucks ballz3d



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