Album Review: RINGS OF SATURN Ultu Ulla
In the band’s fourth studio album Ultu Ulla (Nuclear Blast), Rings of Saturn present a technical side to their work that plays more to entertaining the listener. The record takes on a playful approach in its spacey melodies and galactic chaos. Rings of Saturn have tread that line of deathcore act that portrays tech death vibes, and in Ultu Ulla, the music takes both styles to create a collection of explosive catchiness. This is thanks to the material flowing and pumping with delicious melodies that burst with energy, creating music that continues to entertain with each new song. There are a few similarities throughout the record, but they never clash, and are able to always present something wild and thrilling.
You don’t even have to wait long to hear this, for the first 30 seconds of the opening song “Servant of this Sentience” begins with a mesmerizing sci-fi sounding melody. This guitar work maintains itself through a large part of the track, evening out the heftier bass and drum work pummeling in the background. Slight tempo shifts also help to bring out the vocals, weaving together with the guitar to create a catchy rhythm. The melody from the beginning makes its way back by the mid-section, adding a tremendous energy and excitement that drives the work all the way to the end. “Parallel Shift” starts with a deathcore vibe. The guitar plays to a consistent chug, with strings of melody strung throughout the material. Towards the middle of the song, the guitar explores more colorful territories. By that point there’s a similar aura that was present in the first track, but this dissipates as the guitar chug returns. The most consistent element in the record would be the vocals. This isn’t a bad thing since the quality is nice, but they also don’t add much to the overall feeling of the album.
Within milliseconds, “The Relic” blasts the hell off like a carnival ride among the stars. The intensity of blast beats is met by a pure sonic aura. At once, the melody produces a radiance and ferocity, the tone of the song balancing a dark heft and soaring brightness. The track shifts into a laid back rhythm, continuing to string out melody through the guitar chugs. The progression picks up over time, returning to that playful carnival-like sound. This style is what adds to such a great part of Ultu Ulla. One of the strongest parts of this sound is the fact that it isn’t overly used, and is able to take on a different approach each time it pops up. The more deathcore moments aren’t overly common, for the band is able to inject their music with thrills that exude excitement and spacey delights. “Margidda” is a happy medium between all the previous work heard so far. There’s a strong undertone of that chug that comes to the forefront eventually, but Rings of Saturn toss in bits of groove and shredding melodies to set the track apart from anything else. The bass presents a bouncy tone, giving off a funky aura in the beginning. Towards the middle, the material shifts into this dark eerie style, using bright instrumentation to play against a looming weight. One song that absolutely needs to be highlighted is “The Macrocosm”. For all of Rings of Saturn’s love for space and aliens, this song is easily one of the most wondrous cosmic treats they have created. The material bursts like that of a solar flare, mixing speeds to present chaos and adrenaline. The track even settles at times, allowing the guitar to take on a gentle appeal, to then returning with pure adrenaline bliss.
Rings of Saturn is not the most tech death band around, yet they display some of the genre’s positive qualities. That being said, they aren’t just a pure generic deathcore band either. Ultu Ulla won’t blow your mind in the sense that it is a technical beast with avant-garde instrumentation, but that same instrumentation will blow your mind with joy. The best part to Ultu Ulla is that it is just an absolutely fun album to hear. The crushing adrenaline of the bass, drums, and vocals blend so well with the cosmic bursts and rays that the guitar plays to, creating a kick ass good time of thrilling energy. Rings of Saturn takes off in this release, providing their most blissful work so far in their career.