MetalSucks Contributor David Lee Rothmund Boldly Defends Rings of Saturn Against His Evil Overlords


Rings of Saturn 2014Weekly “Shit That Comes Out Today” penman David Lee Rothmund gave us a hearty surprise with his favorable preview of Rings of Saturn’s new album Lugal Ki En in the October 14th edition of the column. Rather than get our panties in a twist about why such nice things could be written about one of our most hated computer users bands, we figured we’d step it up a level and give Mr. DLR a platform for a long-form, impassioned defense of the band. We still don’t get it, but whatever, man. Read on!

As a closeted fan of trendy, senseless violence à la Dead Alive and Dorf Goes Fishing, I’m set to publicly defend Rings of Saturn and their bezonkers take on technical deathcore. A few weeks back they dropped Lugal Ki En, which translates to “king of the earthlings, lord of the cosmic world,” or in the words of some: “one big fucking obnoxious dick in metal’s ass.”

As a hivemind refresher, the OMG sped-up and OMG MIDI and OMG tracked drums fisticuffs of yore had detractors all soapboxed and blood-red in the face, fingers a-typing, anuses a-prolapsing. Some Hindenburgs crashed and burned. Oh the butthurt, oh the butthurt. Yet others (me included) didn’t and couldn’t actually really give two shits. We either actually enjoyed the music for what it was, or just heard it as musak (which is okay too).

Before scheduling another colonoscopy or switching to PornHub, consider the following and get all enraged ‘n’ shit: Rings of Saturn are actually a pretty awesome band and Lugal Ki En is actually one of this year’s top albums.

Rings have moved the goalposts with Lugal Ki En despite the stacked odds. Let’s think success in the bigger picture. I caution believing that Rings of Saturn have made tr00 metal, or ever will – all the controversy is not unwarranted, and a new album can never be a fresh coffin for old, diseased corpses. But ironically enough, the worn points of contention might now be irrelevant. It’s all about modern times and doing something new, charting some new goddamn territory for once.

Technical death-whatever inspires and requires kickass musical proficiency and all-around meanness. It’s the shtick. It also necessitates being skillful without noodling our brains to death. The musicianship itself moves something in us, but shouldn’t destroy the musicality. It needs a theme. Purity is then inherent, as skill must be distilled and liquidized directly into the sound with no adulteration. Check, check, and check with Lugal Ki En.

“Oh, but the humans rocking those instruments have to really be doing it, man!”

Yes dude, but look what’s happened: guitarists haven’t been getting any better technically. Sugar-free fruitcake eater and all-around snob Rusty Cooley has been numbing minds for years – no surprise he has a guest solo on “Infused,” his largest achievement since learning how to use a webcam. He and his kin (like Michael Angelo Batio löl) have never been able to make, like, actual music. And actual music has never been able to incorporate their brand of wankerous style. To me that only sounds like an opportunity to capitalize.

So it seems that good technical death-whatever hits a ceiling where everyone is just too fucking good at guitar and drums to make any real sense anymore. The genre stalls and bands all start sounding the same, and fans like me get bored to death and start listening to post-metal. Is processing everything to computerized oblivion a solution? More specifically, is it worrisome that Cooley’s totally outrageous solo (knowing he for-real played it) actually makes musical sense in the Rings context? Should it trouble us that Lugal Ki En sounds so undeniably sexy?

Maybe so, maybe not, but at least Rings gave it a fucking shot. What I’m here to say is that this new album, if anything, is a respectable call to action. The Archspires and Soreptions and Beneath the Massacres of the world finally have some good curd to chew on, certainly denser than generic-brand cereal already in the cupboard. These bands’ most recent albums are the crème de la crème, but they cannot in any way be on the same level as Lugal Ki En. They’re now second-tier in terms of violence, technicality, madness, hooking, breading, and seasoning.

Rings of Saturn have followed the tech-death book: they’ve taken an otherworldly theme, laced it with extreme violence, and molded it anew from best-case-scenario technicality. This results in a mesmerizingly complex dozen of insultingly heavy songs, each one bespoke and catchy and raw and, uh, pretty fucking fun. The production is spot on, there are taco moments in every song, and the vocals could burn a hole through time. Check out the intro to “Godless Times” and all of “Eviscerate” which, if written by any other band, would be 100% guaranteed to please.

Lugal Ki En may not be an honest album, but an honest band sure as fuck better write something better than it soon. That’s what I’m waiting for and that’s why I like Lugal Ki En. Only in a challenge fought with swords and axes and miniguns of musicianship can technical-death-whatever get even better, which would benefit anyone like me who gives a shit about that kind of thing. Until that point, Lugal Ki En is the peak set of tits we’ve got, fake or not. Once other bands throw their bras away, then we’ll be fucking talking.

Give it a listen. Lay some tight coils of opinion below.

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