Rings of Saturn Lugal Ki En 01I want one thing to be perfectly clear in your mind before you begin reading the body of this review: I hate Rings of Saturn. The band is the antithesis of everything I like about heavy music: they’re popular, smug, and have a fanbase largely made up of teenagers with gauged earlobes and fitted caps. Their guitar tone is incredibly clean, their drums make St. Anger look like The Destroyers of All, they have no bassist, and they throw around breakdowns as often as they throw around new age/horror sci-fi horseshit lyrics. Their records are so polished that they might as well be electronica, and they do, sadly, replicate the sound on stage. Given this, it may be a great surprise to you that I’ve been eagerly awaiting my promo copy of Lugal Ki En for quite some time now. Because Dingir was fucking excellent. Every reason I had to not listen to the album purely out of principle was absolutely blown away by the quality of the album’s writing. The sense of melody was inseparable from the brutality on display and moments of pure brilliance sprinkled themselves into the album almost effortlessly- see the solo on “Fruitless Existence.” And so Rings of Saturn became that conceptually appalling band that made one hell of an album. It’s now their chance to do it again.

To their credit, the band hasn’t changed a bit. Lugal Ki En is just as hyper-technical, hyper-clean, and hyper-driven as Dingir was and even more unapologetic. “Senseless Massacre” opens this album in the same manner that “Objective to Harvest” introduced Dingir, though a touch less effectively. From the get go, there’s an obvious tendency for the leads and riffing to take a much less dark and abrasive path than they did in Dingir, which sported proggier tonalities only after already earning a few neck injuries. This album dives right in to much brighter songs almost immediately, starting on “Desolate Paradise” and really picking up speed (so to speak) on “Natural Selection.” Sadly, neither of these turn out to be very good songs.

The greater prog influence does Lugal Ki En few favors overall. Instead of adding interest and robustness to what would otherwise be a technical take on standard deathcore tropes, cheezy and often irritating interludes get tacked on to songs that don’t need them at all. Most aggravatingly, “Lalassu Xul” begins with an unbelievably annoying circus-music melody that, just to add to my irritation, has been shifted out of tune out of what must be pure hatred for reasonable listeners. A few notes of it are picked up again later in the song, only to be mercifully put to death by a bad breakdown. Graciously, the entirety of Lugal Ki En isn’t submerged in this sort of pretentious nonsense, although it comes up pretty regularly (see the outro to “Beckon”). “Infused” deserves to be at the very least mentioned in the same breath as songs like “Shards of Scorched Flesh” from the last album, and “Godless Times” manages to breathe life into the album’s latter half.

Rings of Saturn Lugal Ki En 02

“The Heavens Have Fallen” redeems the last few lackluster songs and is an excellent end to the album. I say this not because of its relative length, which makes it stand out from the rest of the album’s three and four minute songs or because it features some of the album’s best integration of melody and heaviness, or even because of its peaceful acoustic guitar and synth outro. No, I say this because “No Pity for a Coward,” the song that actually closes Lugal Ki En, is the most uninspired, insipid, and juvenile piece of music I’ve heard all year. It’s an encapsulation of every reason anyone has to hate this band. After making you sit through two and a half minutes of bizarrely uncreative deathcore riffing, the band introduces a bore-you-to-tears breakdown featuring a repeated vocal line that ends with the cookie-monstered phrase – I kid you not – “pull the trigger, bitch.” I doubt a more infantile attempt at being a tough bro has ever been put into song before, and to cap that steaming fecal mass, they apparently couldn’t help but to insert a few audio clips of some unnamed chucklehead talking about how great Rings of Saturn is.

I can’t say that my expectations for Lugal Ki En were very high to begin with, but the degree to which the album fails to live up to its predecessor is monumental. It’s self-congratulatory wank peppered with laughably pretentious and cheesy arrangements served on a plate of completely run-of-the-mill backing riffs and tragically sidelined percussion. It’s the Lucas Mann show for a good forty minutes followed by an advertisement for the Lucas Mann show. Dingir so successfully combined melody, technicality, and brutality into every moment of every song and in doing so, overcame how wanky and computerized it was. This album rarely can combine even two of those elements together in an effective way. It doesn’t matter how ridiculously fast or technical the leads and solos are – they’re not going to be memorable if the composition behind them is neglected, and Lugal Ki En is the unfortunate testament to that fact.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 4 | 320 kbps mp3
Label: Unique Leader Records
Websites: RingsOfSaturnOfficial | Facebook.com/RingsofSaturn
Release Dates: EU: 2014.10.20 | NA: 10.14.2014

Share →
  • AndySynn

    That last song you mention is in fact a cover of the “classic” Suicide Silence track “No Pity For A Coward”… and about what I would expect from this band.


      ‘”classic” Suicide Silence track’


    • Kronos

      That explains that.
      Actually, I think that was in the promo blurb but I got so angry at the track that I forgot about it.
      Good catch.

      • Gghh88

        Do you understand how shitty you are at your job to write an entire paragraph lambasting a band for the lyrical and musical structure of a fucking cover and then to go on about how fucking conceited they are to play a soundbite of an “unnamed chucklehead” who just happens to be the recently deceased member of the band that actually wrote the song they were covering? While I was reading that I was cringing with embarrassment for you. I thought: “What an embarrassing display of utter incompetence the writer of this piece is displaying right now. He’s going to feel like such an ass when he realizes he actually posted this shit on the Internet on the job without having a clue what the fuck he was talking about.” And then I come to the comments and see you, the imbecilic twit that wrote this garbage casually dismissing your own failures. Where first I was just embarrassed for you, now I’m glad you didn’t have the intelligence to edit the article. By discrediting yourself with such arrogance, everyone can quickly ascertain the level of professional with which you approach your work and dismiss you readily.

  • DrChocolate

    Tech-post-deathcore-slam whatever is just the 2010s version of ’80’s hair metal to me. (Yes, I’m possibly incorrectly pilling these guys in with the Asking Alexandria’s of the world, so what.)

    There’s a distinct sound and songwriting pattern that few stray from. A distinct fashion sense that is adhered too. There’s a lot of emphasis on lyrically over-masculinity (and a weird undercurrent of girlfriend-hurty-feelings and partying). A uniformity of imagery and on stage antics. The “fans” seem like they’re going to fall away when they get to college and then laugh about what they were in too when they were kids. “Oh shit Bra! d’you remember this Miss Mayfire song!” “Chyeah bra! Your throat tat was a bad idea. Huehuehue. 2012, good times….”

    Ugh. I can’t do it. I’ve sincerely tired to see the value in bands of this ilk, but I can’t find it. Old man on his porch yelling about kids these days here I come….

    • Welcome to the Geezer Club! Now let’s chug Ensure and tell those punk kids to get haircuts and stay off the damn lawn!


        You misspelled “Emmure”.

      • DrChocolate

        Scoot over and pass the metamucil. I’ve been bitching about this garbage for years, and to anyone who would hear it. All the 20-somethings at my work have heard it a thousand times. I’m that guy. Mark my words this shit is the Poison and Cinderella of our times. One of these clowns is ten year out, at max, from hosting a dating show on VH1.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Oh come on, I can’t believe they can even screw up this formula they have developed. Dingir was a glorious mess of brain-fuckery and I’m sure I’ll be just as numb after I listen to this one. The only thing they get wrong is the breakdowns and stupid deathcore riffs but I can get past those if they aren’t too distracting. *fingers crossed*

    Yeah, I’m still gonna listen to this. My curiosity is definitely getting the better of me…

    • Kronos

      If you liked Dingir a lot, there should be enough on here to keep you occupied, but in my case the writing just does not make up for all of my complaints like it did on Dingir.

  • sui

    I tend to shun this album based on the review, but with no harmful intention–‘It’s self-congratulatory wank peppered with laughably pretentious and cheesy arrangements served on a plate of completely run-of-the-mill backing riffs and tragically sidelined percussion.’–that’s a long object conceptualised upon a not-so-subtle western cuisine-based analogy concealing an equally protuberant contempt against a narcissistic yet paradoxically unassertive cognition in fecundating a conduct not essentially different from a nascent being bawling for attention…look, I don’t know what I’m talking about, I guess (or imagining) listening to an album like this just induces wankery.

  • Gothmog

    Guitar wankery/dick swinging competition: Example A

  • RagE

    The song posted does nothing for me. well.. maybe it annoys me a bit.
    *Puts on Autotheism*

    • TonightYou

      Fucking awesome album.

  • watchtower90125

    Ouch – doesn’t even sound download-worthy…

  • Ryan Ward

    Good review. Never been much a Saturn of Rings fan either.
    Pretty Medicare record, I agree.

    I lol’d at your usage of ‘gauged’ though.

  • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

    Ha, their tremolo bit in the posted song sounds like a MIDI file exported from GP6. Wait, wasn’t this the band where the dude on guitar recorded himself playing along to a GP6 MIDI file?

  • s7ian

    looool 2/5… Pls listen to this cutting edge album one more time pls. Or admit that this is not your fav. style.

    • Literally the first sentence of the review.

  • Ryan Gamble

    You sound like a moron at the end suggesting that rings wrote no pity for a coward. Do you even listen to metal? Those are the late mitch luckers’ lyrics. Do more research into a genre before being so critical.

    • Easy with the name calling, sport. We try to be friendly here. And if you equate knowing Suicide Silence as knowing metal, you may be on the wrong site to begin with.

      • Ryan Gamble

        I will amend my statement: flaming a band for lyrical content that isn’t theirs makes you sound uninformed. And as a reviewer this is a detriment to your credibility as an expert. Is that better steel druhm or are your feelings still hurt? I don’t assume knowledge of suicide silence is as important as you suggest but the album clearly thanks them for permission to cover this song. So all I’m saying is do your research before flaming someone for lyrics they did not write.

        • I was never hurt. It isn’t my review. I just don’t like people calling the staff names. This isn’t Blabbermouth.

  • lugalkiendeservesbetter

    Mitch Lucker is the one talking at the end of No pity for a coward..

  • Cssbrob

    What a terrible uniformed review. That’s suicide silence. The chucklehead your referring to is in fact Mitch lucker(deceased ex vocalist for SS). Get your facts straight man. Reviews are written by well informed people who don’t make shit up on the fly.

  • Bruce Ricci III

    The fact that “No Pity” wasn’t mentioned as a cover makes me discredit this entire article.

  • Whattheactualfuck

    Unnamed chucklehead? That’s mitch lucker you fuck