heavy metal

RINGS OF SATURN: "Ultu Ulla" Album Review

ULTU ULLA For the past seven years the evolution of this band's sound has definitely grown as they have matured as musicians. This album takes the alien, out of this world, 'Rings' sound to new levels and heights that I didn't see happening.. As in each of their previous records Embryonic Anomaly, Dingir, and Lugal Ki En there is an evolution in sound that has always struck me that they are band that is constant motion to find out who they are as a unit.

This is technical death metal that sounds like a brutal alien lifeform, or rather lifeforms, with a mental capacity 100 times greater than humans decided to drop some skull crushing metal, to which end, would make any aspiring guitar aficionado want to go home and cry. It is a technical death metal ferociousness that is all their own.

Each turn is marked with a specific intention toward each movement. Dangerously mashing up sounds in a way that made Mr. Bungle famous - there is a certain playfulness in the 'Rings' sound that no one else has. Before anyone gets judgmental about the wall of arpeggios on end and cliché progginess. My friends, the aliens have landed and they brought an epic carnival of madness along with them. My friends I present to you 'Ultu Ulla.'

Right of the bat I can tell there is a definite order to what they are trying to accomplish with this record. The opening track, "Servant of This Sentience", shows me that there is a greater organization of melodic theme that gives way to crushing breakdown only to find relief in melodic return. The opener has much greater listenability than I have heard on previous albums. Certainly this is due to fantastic writing and post production. We can thank Nuclear Blast for signing them in May of 2016.

The second track, "Parallel Shifts", is trade mark 'Rings' gutteral ferociousness peppered with melodic dexterity that is both epic and has a great groove to it that bounces on the back beat. These guys are not taking any shit on this record. Check this out!

See! I told you so! I needed a towel and a cigarette after the first time I watched it.

Moving forward - on to the next track, "Unhallowed". It begins with a Spanish guitar minuet that is quite interesting to hear on a Rings record. It is then interrupted by the frantic "Immemorial Essence" that is an offering of harmonized arpeggios and hammer ons from another planet invading the expected djentiness. I do appreciate the fact that there is a definite structure to the songs on this album that is not present on previous ones.

'Harvest' starts out sounds like a carnival of horrors being played on a harpsichord that explodes in descending hammer ons in perfect harmony. I imagine a carnival secretly being hosted by aliens for a mass abduction and all hell breaking loose.

Let's jump over to one of my favorites "The Macrocosm". It takes a gentle melodic theme played on a Spanish guitar and the guys run with it. This the instrumental Opus of the record. The time changes are fantastic. I can actually hear bass player, Lucas Mann, get in there and do his thing during the time change that was quite enjoyable to listen to. Cliff Burton would be proud of the composition. The dissident notes that give way to the main heavy theme that is absolutely fantastic.

"Inadequate" is another Spanish guitar intro that gives way to piano. Then the violence of chugs accented with chugs. I think the aliens are vomiting what's left of us humans at this time. It's as dark and foreboding as it is violent and intense.

I think this is their best album thus far and it is highly possible that it may be the most technical of death metal albums to be released so far this year. I admire Rings Of Saturn because of their ability to grow and maintain the identity of who they are as artists.

Below is the track listing:
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

Head on over to the Nuclear Blast website and get your copy HERE!

-Brian Biggerstaff

Remaining Tour Dates:

8/09/2017 Sunshine Theater - Albuquerque, NM
8/10/2017 The Marquee - Tempe, AZ
8/11/2017 City National Grove of Anaheim - Anaheim, CA
8/12/2017 The Novo - Los Angeles, CA
8/13/2017 House of Blues -S an Diego, CA
8/15/2017 The UC Theatre - Berkeley, CA
8/17/2017 Studio Seven - Seattle, WA
8/19/2017 The Summit Music Hall - Denver, CO
8/21/2017 The Cabooze - Minneapolis, MN
8/22/2017 Concord Music Hall - Chicago, IL
8/23/2017 Bogart's - Cincinnati, OH
8/25/2017 The Majestic - DetroIt, MI
8/26/2017 -Agora Theatre and Ballroom - Cleveland, OH

Lucas Mann: guitars, bass, synth
Ian Bearer: lyrics, vocals
Aaron Stechauner: drums
Miles Dimitri Baker: guitar

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Tags:  Rings Of SaturnUltu UllaParallel ShiftInadequate Technical Death Metal

    August 08, 2017

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