Rings of Saturn

If the novel “War of the Worlds” and any Zelda game ever created got together and had a baby, the result would be Rings of Saturn.  That’s about the most succinct way I can sum up this album.

On Gidim, the band’s fifth full length album, they have continued what they have dubbed “aliencore”, and that also is an apt description.  I could compare their sound to a more noodley Obscura, with a high-pitch almost beeping sound to the guitars and a style that is truly all over the place.  You have the death growls and the high pitched raspy screams (which is my #1 most hated thing in all of metal, but for some reason I was able to stomach it here and almost began to like it).   The how-the-hell-do-they-play-that guitars that dart up and down the fretboard and sound like a game of Pac-Man that has gone wonky.  The otherworldly drumming that beyond all logic keeps the package nicely tied together.

But you know what?  Somehow it all just seems to work.  I reviewed their third full length album, Lugal Ki En, and came away unimpressed and wrote these guys off.  But out of curiosity I decided to review this newest one, and I’m glad I did.  And in all honesty, it’s a hard review to tackle.  Each song can stand on its own, but fits together in their distinct and off-the-wall style.  I feel this quote from founding member and guitarist Lucas Mann encapsulate their style pretty well:

“I use a lot of music theory, but am not boxed in by it,” says Mann. “I don’t want to be held down by an outside construct. With music, it’s all pretty much been done before to some degree. But as far as my shredding goes, I create my own artificial scales, I use a lot of diminished phrasing, I use a lot of whole tone arpeggios, and the band uses these shapes that I have crafted – especially with arpeggios – from the beginning. I definitely have my own pattern and stylistic vision with RINGS. The technical ability is more about muscle memory, which is more like playing in the pocket. It’s very hard for new people to play RINGS. They’re usually not used to the shapes I play. Most of the time they’re like, ‘Woah, this is weird.’ But it’s supposed to be that way. It’s not supposed to feel comfortable, but once you play the music for a while it all makes sense. RINGS OF SATURN is new, experimental, and made to inspire people’s own playing without creative limitations.”

And further reading through the press pack, Mann reveals he actually used NINE (!) string guitars to further push their sound (not sure I even knew those existed).  The aforementioned drumming is handled by session drummer extraordinaire Marco Pitruzzella (Lord Marco), who you might remember drummed for the insanely fast and technical band Brain Drill, which is another good comparison to Rings of Saturn.  The other guitarist is long-time member Joel Omans and Ian Bearer handles the vocals.  There is also a good number of guest appearance on the album which also add more spice to the whole scenario.

So I would say check this one out, if nothing more than out of curiosity.  And definitely listen to Track 7 (“Mental Prolapse”) and tell me that is not straight out of an upcoming Zelda video game.





[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kevin E
November 15th, 2019


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