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Rings of Saturn: Lugal Ki En

This has been a pretty good year for technical death metal and with this release, Rings to Saturn certainly makes it even better. I admit, I'm not sure I know what the band means by the label "aliencore"—shouldn't we be past the "-core" suffixes by now?—but the science fiction vibe of the whole thing certainly gives the term some possible meanings. This is music that aspires to the condition of science fiction.

This album has a concept, a guiding story. The title, taken from part of an ancient Sumerian cuneiform that translates as "King of the Earthlings, Lord of the Cosmic World," only vaguely speaks to the concept. As for the album's music and lyrics, they work together to tell a story about a group of aliens who, having already conquered humanity, have found a way to enter divine spaces and fight angels and demons, sacred and profane beings. I think the idea, played out a bit more deliberately in the music video for "Senseless Massacre," is that these aliens, whatever they are, not only walk among us, but are ultimately replacing the kinds of divine beings humans sometimes believe in. Like other sf stories, it's an interesting concept and one that could certainly raise equally interesting questions. Sometimes I wish albums like this would just give us a story to read in the liner notes. It would be cool to think about this concept in more than one setting.

So what about the music? It's extremely heavy and very technical, just the kind of music these guys tend to make. It's fun to hear a band playing with such boundless energy. Still, the guys almost never slow down to jam on anything. Instead, the music constantly moves forward, as if prodded by attacks from the bloodthirsty aliens themselves. I can't say I've heard extreme metal that sounds quite like this before. Sure, it bears a family resemblance to other technical death metal bands, but these guys are taking the genre and pushing it into areas—particularly in the technical sense—that aren't quite as familiar. I admit that things can be somewhat inaccessible at times; those who don't know this band will certainly have to adjust their ears a little bit. Some people might even want to check out Dingir, the band's last release and also one of their best recordings. I don't think band has surpassed that release with this one, but they certainly try to push past it, not only with speed, but also with tons and tons of killer guitar runs. I really liked "Lalassu Xul" and "The Heavens Have Fallen." "No Pity for a Coward" is good, too and has a somewhat funny audio snippet at the end of someone gushing about Rings of Saturn.

Track Listing:
1. Senseless Massacre
2. Desolate Paradise
3. Lalassu Xul
4. Infused
5. Fractal Intake
6. Natural Selection
7. Beckon
8. Godlesss Times
9. Unsympathetic Intellect
10. Eviscerate
11. The Heavens have Fallen
12. No Pity for a Coward

Added: October 24th 2014
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2214
Language: english

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