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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Laster - Ons Vrije Fatum [Dunkelheit Produktionen - 2017]

Laster are an atmospheric Black Metal band from the Netherlands. They released their acclaimed debut, “De Verste Verte is Hier”, in 2014 through Dunkelheit Produktoinen on vinyl and CD, however a limited edition cassette was also released via Broken Limbs Recordings.

Following on from that debut is “Ons Vrije Fatum”, their second full length album for Dunkelheit and the natural successor to ”De Verste Verte is Hier”. The new album continues to draw its influences from across the musical spectrum, going well beyond being just another Black Metal band.

From the moment the album opens with the title track Ons Vrije Fatum it’s evident that the band have really upped their game this time around. The production is a vast improvement from their debut, vocals are much clearer and feature higher in the mix, and the guitar sound is cleaner and warmer. It feels less jagged and more like a band who have learned from their previous work. The track itself is probably best described as post-Black Metal. A perfect blend of melody and brutality.

Second track Binnenstebuiten, opens with a spoken word intro over some killer shoegaze riffing, before heading into incredibly mellow guitar tones and whispered vocals. Again those great melodies are there to hook you in and eventually the vocals turn to more typical Black Metal fare and the second half of the track heads back into Black Metal territory, with splashes of keyboards and some fantastic melodies to keep it interesting and prevent it from sliding into the generic end of the Black Metal gene pool.

Bitterzoet could be Lush or My Bloody valentine were it not for the vocals. It starts life as a classic shoegaze track before the Black Metal elements return. Helemaal Naar Huis follows suit, more post-Black Metal musings with relatively clean vocals pave the way for a mellow mid-section of progressive riffing and spoken wordplay. The arrival of saxophones into the mix at around 7 minutes in is a welcome change and never feels forced or out of place. The track eventually finishes with a blast of more typical Black Metal riffery and vocals.

De Tijd Vóór is up next. Starting off with what sounds like field recordings creating a backbeat and an electronic drone, this short instrumental track kicks into life about the mid-point before electronic drums add a dance element towards the end. Quite an unusual mix of influences to be heard in such a short track, however it’s interesting to hear industrial and dance influences come into play alongside those already discussed.

De Roes Na begins in much more traditional Black Metal territory, before breaking down into something more progressive, with a mix of harsh and clean vocals. At over 10 minutes this is one of the album’s centrepieces alongside the 11 minute epic Helemaal Naar Huis. Mixing all of the elements of the previous tracks to great effect it produces the perfect mix of shoegaze, and post-Black Metal.

Final track Er Wordt Op Mij Gewacht continues the theme already set by previous. It provides the perfect mix of influences for a band looking to break out of Black Metal’s sometimes generic and incestuous world. There is a definite hint of the gothic about the clean vocals reminding somewhat of Andrew Eldritch or Peter Murphy at their best.

This is an enthralling album, packed full of interesting ideas, time changes, different playing styles and above all great songs. One can’t help but be reminded of Ulver or Enslaved in the way they effortlessly take Black Metal into new and exciting directions. Laster are really beginning to flourish, I look forward to hearing more in the future from one of Black Metal’s most exciting new groups.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Darren Charles
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