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Rings Of Saturn - Ultu Ulla Award winner

Rings Of Saturn
Ultu Ulla
by Andrej Romić (Nekrst Fanzine) at 13 August 2017, 2:00 PM

Although I wasn’t always a big fan of the band, mostly because it was hard to get into them, in the last few years I’ve been following the works of RINGS OF SATURN and other projects of the band’s members. The jokingly named “aliencore” title pretty much suits the band right from the start, dating back from their debut back in 2010 until this very day; through the independent release of “Embryonic Anomaly” until their fourth full-length album “Ultu Ulla” released in 2017 through Nuclear Blast Records, they have surely proven that they have some massive talent in the genre.

I enjoyed their debut, with it being the album that got me into them. Their second studio effort “Dingir” was different, and it was slowly but surely approaching the point of popularity. With massive speedy breakdowns and ultimately technical riff work, they continued marching on towards bigger and bigger fan bases. One would think “Lugal Ki En”, their third studio full-length album, was the peak of their career – as it boasted the fastest vocals in Technical Deathcore, the fastest and most uniquely played riffs and drums and melodies - and it might’ve been until July 28th, 2017, when their fourth album came out.

As I have mentioned, I enjoyed their previous work, but you will see how much more they managed to mature on this release, and in my opinion it’s their best one to date. This  Nuclear Blast Records release will surely solidify this year for this un-crushable label, with not only the new RINGS OF SATURN album, but with new records by ORIGIN, DECREPIT BIRTH, and a lot more! Now, let’s dive into this album.

Servant of this Sentience” is already enjoyable, starting off with the classic 8-bit sound influenced guitar riffs, the “sped up” and energetic breakdowns, and of course the fantastic vocals that keep on dominating throughout the song. What amazes me on this album is the fact that the band have kind of slowed down. Unlike the previous record, it feels a little bit more human (in a good way of course) because “Lugal Ki En” might have been impressive for its speed, but it was too robotic, even though I did enjoy it. This first song has mini breakdowns combined with massive ultra slow breakdowns plus screams, growls and a lot of furiously melodic and technical riffs, which is an incredible start already.

Parallel Shift” sure has a lot to offer, and I know the band’s main genre is Deathcore twisted into many forms, but this song leans hard on the Death Metal side, with sharp blast-beating drums and amazing atmosphere. The key of this album is the atmosphere, and it is definitely why this is my favorite RINGS OF SATURN release ever. Unlike the previous ones, instead of just focusing on beating speed records, the songwriting is amazing, the riffs are godlike and the vocals are inhumane. The addition of Miles Baker to the band a few years ago sure did them good, especially considering that this is the first album he has officially played on, not counting the live performances. I can definitely hear his incredibly talented guitar parts, being that I’m a big fan of his instrumental project INTERLOPER. The track “Unhallowed” provides moments you all will surely hear later on too, but I bet you already did on the official video of the tenth track. It’s a relaxing, salsa-like instrumental with calm guitar riffs, preparing you for the next assault, and giving you a tiny rest.

Immemorial Essence” sounds exactly like I expected it to sound, but in a surprising way. It sure is fast and relentless because that’s the only thing we could have expected after the calm intro, and the vocals also sound familiar, as they are exactly like the ones on “Senseless Massacre”, from the previous album. Yet they don’t remain like that for too long. The dominant growls take over, and keep things in place. The atmosphere is beyond words, the riffs are shifting between notes with the speed of light, and the bass is super tasty.

Not even half of the album had passed, but the Bay Area, California (US) quartet definitely proved what they had to prove. Not only they can play their instruments, but they play them with precision, patience and skill. The songs are amazing, unique and awesome. “The Relic” once again gives me a feeling the band took various influences and studied them well before creating this record, because yes, it sounds unique – like a blend of many things. It’s kind of hard to explain, but the band learned to be patient on this record. Not only have they managed to slow down at certain points whilst still remaining fast when needed, but they took their playing to a new level, making this record definitely more mature than its predecessor. I really like the variation of the vocals on “Margidda”. You can hear both sick Brutal and Technical Death Metal growls, lots of sick Death core parts, and of course the killer shredding instrumental parts.

This is by far the most atmospheric release by the band, and that is a fact! It’s charming, beautiful, and somewhat magically mysterious – and it’s the first release that actually managed to bring an alien feeling to the entire thing, not only with the music and the background parts. “Harvest” has a really weird intro part, but what the rest of the track contains is beyond normal, it’s twisted, and mind-raping. The vocals don’t stand out too much here, but the instrumentals are impressive over and over. It actually ended up changing my mind though, as the first half of the song contradicted everything I said, and became the most beautiful song not only on the album, but in their discography.

Embrace yourselves for the last fully instrumental track on the album – “The Macrocosm”. I always admire a perfectly written instrumental part, and this song is just beyond good. The guitars get to fully dominate here, giving you an entry to a world you haven’t seen before. Experiencing this song through headphones might be the best thing you can do on a certain day. Prepare for a cosmic journey through space and time and of course immeasurable blast-beating, amazing riff work and super sharp bass work too. If I wasn’t too blown away by the last track on the album, I’d say this is my favorite after that one. “Prognosis Confirmed” is definitely a nostalgic one, giving us a taste of their earlier works. Finally, you can experience for the last time the twisted intro from the official video – where you can see an alien holding a little version of Earth, planning on destroying it. As bizarre as the video gets, I have to admit that it is fantastic, with the whole idea of the band playing in a sunset based environment with alien ships flying around randomly. The song itself is incredibly sick; the vocals are slightly scream-based and later get super heavy and growl-based. Catchy isn’t even a word for this song. The instrumentals once again manage to impress me, and this last song is just out of this world – literally!

I know the band needs no introduction, but if you’re by chance not from Earth and need some good music to blast and you’re a fan of BRAIN DRILL, VIRAEMIA, THY ART IS MURDER, BENEATH THE MASSACRE or FALLUJAH, then definitely give this new album and the band’s discography a listen! A loud one, if possible!

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Notability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1.Servant of this Sentience
2.Parallel Shift
3.Unhallowed
4.Immemorial Essence
5.The Relic
6.Margidda
7.Harvest
8.The Macrocosm
9.Prognosis Confirmed
10.Inadequate
Lineup:
Lucas Mann - Guitars
Ian Bearer - Vocals
Aaron Stechauner - Drums
Miles Dimitri Baker - Guitars
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records
     


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