Review Summary: Lucas Mann's Ego: The EP
This is a weird one. Let’s see… Rings of Saturn, a band known for their weird techy style filled with alien noises lets go of their vocalist and drummer. So all we have left is two guitarists who love to be as wild as possible with their technicality and try to sound impossibly difficult with each guitar portion they write. I mean, the guitar work on the last several albums overwhelmed much of the vocal performance, so maybe going instrumental was the right thing to do! Well, that’s the weird part. For the first time ever, Rings of Saturn, or what’s left of the band, has made a project that feels like it should have vocals. Instead of embracing their technical, albeit annoying, style, the band (or duo now) has opted for a lackluster self-titled that leans heavily into trap influence and MIDI instrumentation.
I’ll give credit where credit is due. Rings of Saturn
is a bold shift in style and definitely shows the crew taking initiative with their new lineup, or lack thereof. However, this doesn’t make the project even remotely good. Each track is oversaturated with trap beats and 808’s that stick out like a sore thumb. They contrast the guitar work and don’t add anything other than being an annoying nuance in the project. I mean, I guess that’s what happens when there’s no longer a drummer in the band. In an equally annoying manner, Rings of Saturn
heavily relies on MIDI instrumentation, from orchestration and piano to synthesizers, none of which cohesively work together. Every introduction of a “surprising” instrument feels more like it was made for shock factor rather than genuine musical composition. It’s almost like it’s the band proving that they don’t need their old lineup to continue making inspiring
I could continue complaining about all the weird additions to their style, but the most offensive part of this new project is what remains of Rings of Saturn’s standard formula. As stated before, the band became known for their insane technicality with the guitar work displaying intricate sweep picking and crushing tremolo riffs. All of that is essentially gone. Instead, it’s been replaced by basic chugs and simplistic guitar harmonies. In fact, whatever alien noises that the guitars used to make in past albums have now been replaced by MIDI keyboards in Rings of Saturn
. And it almost seems like the band is aware of this. “Sector 80” is the closest to their original sound they had before, with dissonant harmonies and fun intricate riffing… but it’s literally 14 seconds long. With every other song, all of the riffs and melodies begin to bleed together, leaving it a jumbled mess that fails to stand out as even remotely unique.
I understand a band’s desire to change up their sound when faced with a new lineup challenge, but this feels like an ego project more than a genuine musical endeavor. If you like the old Rings of Saturn, don’t check this. If you like the new Rings of Saturn, don’t check this. I’m sure you can figure out what I’m saying… just don’t check this. Ironic how when given the musical freedom to write the craziest stuff possible, the Rings of Saturn duo opts to make a bland trap/tech metal project that fails at its own style.