Review By Alex Slakva
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As a whole, metal is a genre traditionally define by testosterone driven competition; Whether, it’s 90’s European black metal, or millennial death core, there is a certain reptilian-brain need where fans/bands feel the need to assert their superiority as the most ‘heavy, brutal, ect’. The subgenre hair has become split beyond being painlessly explainable, which is why Rings Of Saturn falls into their self titled genre, Aliencore. If their 2012’s release, Dignir politely suggested that it was never really competing with the terrestrially bound, Lugal Ki En broadcasts it to be heard on even the most remote of locations.
This highly anticipated, October release, is the third in the ROS discography. While a vocal minority does criticize the band about relying on digitized effects, the individuals most likely to be surprised by this record will be the conservative fans, who merely expect Lungal Ki En to be good. Surprise! It is actually downright great. It does all the things an outstanding album does: acknowledge and fix the weak points of previous records, while remaining recognizable, and taking new creative directions.
First and foremost, Lucas Mann and Joel Omans, the irrefutable spinal of every ROS record, are back. This time around, their asymmetric duality seems to be much focused to create more believable atmospheric sound, which permits the rest of the band to really shine. While their speed of light guitar sweeps still baffles their fans, there is a strong focus of precision, in the sense that Messugah focuses on precision. It incredible how effectively they succeed in painting an entire pendulum swing worth of imageries and emotions. From the divine sounding solo in Godless Times, to the many psychedelic diversions on, Beckon, Heaven Shall Fall or Fractal Intake that send the imagination wandering. Of course there are still the traditional-open-up-this- ROS tracks: Senseless Massacre, Desolate Paradise. Ian Bearer (vocals) has considerably improved his delivery. Dignir was a technical masterpiece, however it always struck me Ian not having become completely comfortable, and as a result predominantly sticking with the low gutturals for most of the album. This time around his style sounds more lived in and in control. You can really feel it, in the less technical, groove based tracks. This is best represented by at 1:23 on Natural Selection. Lastly, the album actually hits it’s full stride in the last 3 songs: Unsympathetic Intellect, Eviscerate, and the instrumental track, The Heavens Have Fallen.
If the future of Rings of Saturn lies in the direction of those tracks, they will likely achieve Suicide Silence levels of success. Speaking of Suicide Silence, check out Rings of Saturn’s cover of No Pity For a Coward, it is the last track on Lugal Ki En.