The experimental shift of formerly black metal bands is so common that such a trajectory is almost an unwritten rule in avant-garde metal circles. This was true for a whole generation of Norwegian bands, but it’s also true for Dutch band Laster, who more than ever are swapping their long atmospheric pieces for shorter escapades into bizarre rock that’s both dissonant and catchy.
Formerly operating in the post-black metal niche, Laster retains only the blast beats, occasional tremolo and reverb of its shrill, depressive past on Andermans Mijne. Indeed, this fourth opus is a much more energetic and danceable affair than before. Musical structures are closer to left-field rock, with syncopated drum rhythms often marking beats 2 and 4. Sung vocals evoking indomitable lament are superimposed on an extended harmonic palette, while the guitar playing is complex and borrows freely from influences such as bossa nova, progressive rock, and funk. The reference to jazz is also evident in the diminished and augmented chords that abound throughout. The bass, very present in the mix, also contributes to highlighting the virtuosity of the musicians and the stylistic ingenuity of their proposal.
All in all, Laster offers a convincing demonstration of its willingness to grow and evolve its recipe. Andermans Mijne may well be the link that lifts the project into the ranks of the Ved Buens Ende, Lifelover, and Virus of this world. Time will tell whether this cleverly unbridled form of rock was a destination for Laster, or rather a stopover on an even more ambitious exploration.