- Rings Of Saturn
- Technical Death Metal
- California, USA
- October 25, 2019
- Nuclear Blast
Rings Of Saturn have been around for a bit perfecting their insane brand of techno death metal, and with this latest album they prove they can soar alongside current titans Infant Annihilator and Cattle Decapitation. 2019 keeps upping the vocal game and setting an impossible standard that most just can’t compete with. Add an overgrown child prodigy of a guitarist and you’ve got the essence of RoS, it’s excessive… and fancy. Utilizing brutality with finesse rather than toxic bravado. I’ve heard so many albums try to reach this peak but fall short, so it’s not without pause that I consider this one of the greatest tech death works of like… the decade? Imagine if Dragonforce was good.
What exactly is Tetris metal you ask? Well it’s a subgenre of death metal that is so technical you probably don’t even know what exactly is happening. Sweeps, mutes, whammies and even kill-switches. They’ll throw an acoustic or two in there as well and it’s still metal af. Anyone would think Buckethead joined the band. Despite how prominent the guitar is in the song structure and mixing, it doesn’t overshadow what is clearly a record crafted with synergy between the members. They aren’t afraid to show off their ability to mess with timing together – there’s stunning moments where each instrument essentially mutes themselves in unison like a damn fancy boy flash mob.
It’s not all technical jargon and brutal screaming though, there’s certainly melodic and outright wistful tunes as heard in bits and pieces throughout “Bloated And Stiff”. Electronic elements are present too but in rational amounts. There’s a strong variety on the album that gives it a lot of life. They don’t tie themselves down with the expectations placed on them, it’s about being compelling more than servicing the meme. Though they definitely do that on social media. The hyper speeds and ridiculous tendencies reveal themselves with the levity of a treat rather than heavy handed nonsense, they’re grounded in a solid structure, reminding me of Between The Buried And Me’s highly entertaining form.
I’m not as familiar with RoS’ earlier stuff, only really hearing Ultu Ulla (2017), but by the standards of this entire year, this is a mile above most. It’s music intended to be enjoyed, it is designed to be highly listenable while still managing to trivialise heroic feats of metal. I’m sure if I listened real hard and put my cunt cap on, I could come up with some criticisms but ultimately it’s the kind of album that doesn’t need criticism. They just did it, and I am happy for them to keep doing whatever “it” may be. It’s also a relatively long album, rendering this effort all the more impressive because they nailed down ten tracks without making bad decisions. It’s like they kept getting to a point where someone asked:
“So what goes here, between these two tracks?”
“Ohhh k… the same music?”
“No, different music. Good music, every minute”
“Ah yep, got it”
…how do we end it? A minute long outro track?”
“Nah, more of the different music”
“Alright, so that’s 45 minutes of music”
“Yep, we’ll call it an album”
“Now we draw aliens on the front of it?”
“Nah, Saturn this time and we got Mark again”
“Fuuuuck, we’re really good at this!”
This album makes me miss Guitar Hero. I bruised my hands on that shit and would again if they released a Tech Death version. Guitar Hero Cosmos.
Fuck it, 10/10.