(In this post Austin Weber reviews the new album by The Ritual Aura from Perth, Australia.)
In the past few months here at NCS we’ve had the honor of premiering two songs by The Ritual Aura from their newly released record Laniakea. Both songs (featured here and here) showed off a wide range of technical death metal influences and differing songwriting styles. The diversity of both “Time Lost Utopia” and “Erased In The Purge” is no fluke, as the rest of the Laniakea is just as varied and dense musically. To my ears, their colliding mass of many different tech-death influences sounds similar to Decrepit Birth-style progressive melodic death metal mixed with The Faceless, Beyond Creation, and Necrophagist. It’s very pissed off, yet frequently abounding in gorgeous melodies and spidery slithering riffs amidst sci-fi key/synth flourishes and interludes that help lend a sense of balance and space-like texture to their music.
While I know not everyone is into records having intro and outro tracks, at least the ones present on Laniakea are both barely over a minute while consisting mainly of pleasant piano playing. The album features two instrumental songs as well, “Nebulous Opus Pt I.” and “Nebulous Opus Pt. II”, with the latter being a very intense and complicated track in line with the rest of their music except sans vocals.
With all of that aside, the album also includes a surprising amount of mind-melting musical ideas, creative and frenetic guitar playing, outstanding 8-string tapping, focused NS/Stick bass playing, demolishing intense drumming, and ravenous growls and shrieks layered over top like a rotten cherry. Also of important note is the album’s super-lean run time, clocking in at just under 26 minutes.
Much like this year’s equally excellent record by Continuum called The Hypothesis, Laniakea’s brevity is for the best. No song hits the five-minute mark, and only a few tracks revolve around verse-chorus-verse and heavy-repetition-focused song structures. This allows The Ritual Aura to hit you with full-force, but in a manner more like a surgical strike than an extended war campaign where you are often left exhausted or dead before it ends. Music this extreme and demanding works best in short, compact allotments. Some may disagree with me, but this is precisely why I think Origin and bands of their ilk are at their best when they deliver shorter songs, as opposed to Antithesis, which was brilliant, but too much to listen to front-to-back over and over.
The Ritual Aura have definitely caught my attention and admiration with Laniakea, and although it’s not perfect, its damn interesting music and one hell of a debut statement as a band. I’m all but sure you’ll find a lot to love here on each track — a lot of different ideas are cycling in and out at all times. Definitely a record that I’m already unable to stop replaying over and over. Give it a spin and buy it if you like it.