Recently I guest-posted on a Canadian metal blog with the intent of doing something slightly regular, a here-and-there-ish 'when something my style pops up for review' level contributor. One post and it became pretty clear they weren't really interested in my style, but just in filling space. I am posting this here because their editor eviscerated it in the name of style-guides and I like it better the other way. Fucker.
Rings of Saturn
Lugal Ki En
(Google it. Lazy bastard.)
[Full disclosure time: I don't like much death metal, and I like even less 'core. In fact, this album /on its surface/ is nearly the diametric opposite of my own personal tastes - which lean significantly toward the atmospheric, the bleak, the noisy, the raw, the droning. This opposition is precisely why I accepted this particular reviewing gig. Call it a means to escape my shell /a review for people that would never give this a chance on its own.
Because it is fucking GOOD.
Death metal space-fury gone virally berserk. Be warned: the following has a lot of hyphens and copious use of words like fractal and spiraling. New concepts had to be invented, existing words had to be chopped up and blended to describe parts of this everything-but-chaotic album. I literally gave up on the thesaurus.com entry for "precise" and made something up at one point.]
digitalis in extremis
Rings of Saturn are inhuman post-digital precision, slick and clean even amidst the depths this style is clearly capable of plumbing. Self-described "aliencore" and absolutely drilling in its pointedness, this album is spectacularly tight and technical even when losing its mind entirely in the grind and the guttural. Right off the mark full destruction reigns, the opening track Senseless Massacre living up to its name and pulverizing from the first second before a beautiful melody flows seamlessly into the closest thing this song has to a hook. While this explosive leadoff symbolizes the blend of mercurial hyper-melody and impossibly massive sledgehammer rhythm to be found in abundance on the record, the second tune, Desolate Paradise ratchets up the intensity of both. Sparked by a spiraling lead break and elevated by perfect use of mood-bending near-ambience, demands of the listener to "wake from slumber" precede its going wildly off on a treble-happy shred excursion that drops into a breakdown that would leave the proudest hardcore kid in fear for his life.
Track 3, Lalassu Xul is an altogether different beast from the groove-laden doom I'm so used to. Bungle-esque carnivale-bounce frames the mechanistic and repetitive drillpress xeno-grind in an off kilter its-happy-music-if-you're-a-robotic-serial-killer kind of way. Following up that is Infused, one of the more humanoid bytes from this disc. A standout track, the cyborg blending of wicked thrashed out human guitarplay and galactic deathcrush virulence is top notch, near painful in its attempt to drive -through- the star rather than go around. After the short and appropriately-named interlude Fractal Intake, the midway point that is Natural Selection restarts the malevolence in a cauldron of pistoning meticulousness. Spiteful electronic spikes of twisting melody slicing through the jackhammer trigger-warning drums before Beckon calls the terraforming ships in to calculate and articulate how your planet will be destroyed, ending in a wonderfully lucid echo-driven final drive toward peace before Godless Times schizoanalytically (go look it up, I'll wait.) progresses from shrieking lockstep to doomed-to-drift breakdown to tech-splatter and beyond. An industrialized /solar/ intensification of death, grind, and deathcore tropes into a vicious exclamation of hybridization.
Unsympathetic Intellect is a peak moment, the first few seconds vividly portraying the wonderment that could come from the Eye or access point of a vast intelligence turning its gaze upon you before it begins to communicate /before it reminds you just how alien it can be/ before it ups the grind in unsettling/hectic/body hammer measure. Not to be outdone, Eviscerate flashes without segue between several modes of RoS' extraterrestrial stylistic choice, rapid-fire alterations and complications of their sound continue unabated as the instrumental The Heavens have Fallen shows a lush, almost comforting form. Maybe a reminder of technology's inherent promise hidden in ultimate wasteful destruction/a breath of resistance before the ferocious 12th and final track No Pity for a Coward (a Suicide Silence cover) brings ending in a violent, direct assault of laser-guided planet-glassing before our new overlords descend to greet us in star-wrecked climax.
The Alex Grey meets Voltron artwork sums up the tone of this release tremendously. There is no hope. The visitors do not come in peace. Surrender or face imminent annihilation.
(insert a video here!)
(I think the only thing that could ruin this album is finding out the sample at the end was used un-ironically.)