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Rings Of Saturn - Ultu Ulla album review

Futuristic tech-metallers recalibrate their death ray

For years, Rings Of Saturn have been batting off rumours that they record their absurdly complex tech-death at half speed and can’t actually play it live. It’s not true, of course; one of their gigs will leave you in no doubt regarding their technical proficiency. In spite of the whispers, the Bay Area quartet have developed into an impressive proposition. Ultu Ulla is a world away from the band’s breakdown-heavy 2010 debut, Embryonic Anomaly, which focused on brute strength rather than brains, their latest showcasing a band who have now upped their songwriting chops and sonic vision. ROS have also been criticised in the past for their surreal ‘alien-core’ production that’s sometimes rendered them sonically synthetic, fuelling those accusations that the band are cheating instrumentally. But the futuristic atmosphere that permeates this record, and the demented lead riff of opener Servant Of This Sentience, sound like Space Invaders being played on a Commodore 64 – a sound that’s pushed ROS into a unique, stylistically and technically impressive universe of their own.