The Ritual Aura – Laniakea (2015)

Straight from Lacerated Enemy Records, I’ve got yet another bizarre approach from an act called The Ritual Aura. They’re in a sense, brutal death metal. But they use an awful lot of technical theatrics and keyboard electronics, which is something you don’t hear very often in brutal death metal, unless we’re talking about The Monolith Deathcult, perhaps. Yes, while tech-death is quite common; there’s just something about either the guitar wizardry or the keyboard antics that certainly drives me wild here. It’s very difficult to tell as to whether these amazingly complex riff and chord structures are being played on the guitar or the keyboards, which might drive some listeners away, but I find something very unique and different in these intricacies, especially when they’re placed during the normal furious drum bouts and monstrous vocals native to death metal. One can make their comparisons as far as the metal portion is concerned, but I can honestly say that I’ve never heard a disc that took time out to introduce three atmospheric tracks in lieu of what is an unbelievable flurry of technicality and pounding. Opener “Mythos Of Sojourn” (1:04), intermission “Nebulous Opus Pt. 1” (1:29) and the closing title track (1:06) all take a break from brutal tech-death in order to give the listener a moment to breathe (in addition to a few tasteful solos) before they’re pummeled once again. The Ritual Aura definitely deliver an over-the-top display of technicality that seems almost inhuman and I’m doubtful such a thing could be performed in a live setting. But even so, it still sounds rather awesome and I think you’ll enjoy it if you like to hear the sounds of a guitar being dissected. Laniakea is something of a brutal science project, so keep that in mind as you listen.

(9 Tracks, 25:00)

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