Bells, Whistles & Blastbeats: A Review of Laster’s Ons Vrije Fatum

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Is it just me or has 2017 already come out of the gates swinging? Isn’t January synonymous with down time? Here I am, still trying to pay due respect to my favorite releases of last year; and here comes Laster, kicking up dust, shaking the walls and rattling the cookware. If you like your black metal with a side of…well, all kinds of other shit, then come on in and help yourself to Laster’s new sophomore album, Ons Vrije Fatum.

Enough of the formalities, yeah? Laster hail from the Netherlands, and they have come to your shores to shake things up. Eponymous ditty “Ons vrije fatum” is a bang-up opener, a forceful statement of purpose which introduces us to the core of Laster’s style without giving away too many of the surprises which lie in wait farther into the record. That core is comprised of modern US-style black metal with a nice braise of hardcore’s straightforward aggression. The song’s flow from chiming chords and blastbeats to clean car-song melodies and back again is masterful, the result of a very steady songwriting hand. The only hiccup is the short outburst of gang vocals at 1:16. It is unexpected and, for this non-fan of gang vocals, thankfully never repeated. It is also a foreshadowing of the many hiccups to come. Some of which are delightful, some just kind of perplexing.

 

The next pair of hiccups jump out at us early in the second track, “Binnenstebuiten”, in the form of a twangy slide guitar and some chilled-out hand drums. This is an instance where the unexpected elements work in Laster’s favor, elevating what is at heart a loping and not terribly interesting segment to new levels. At around the halfway mark, after our first introduction to some soulful chanting, we return to the signature bright-eyed blasting, and all is well.

lastercover1And so it goes throughout the Ons Vrije Fatum‘s 55 minutes: Long stretches of Laster absolutely killing it with their modernized brand of black metal, accented or interrupted by strange timbres which any band who is not Solefald would never think to throw into the mix. In addition to the aforementioned Easter eggs you’ll find flourishes of sequenced synths, clean tremolos ensorcelled by reverb, swingin’ saxophone doom, echo-laden spoken word, scratchy electronica, and a whole caboodle of surprises I won’t ruin for you. The album is jam-packed from wall to wall with ideas; absorbing them all in one sitting can lead to fatigue, but it’s also a heck of a lot of fun.

 

lasterband1

There is an old saying about the process of creation: “Let’s throw a bunch of things at the wall and see what sticks.” Laster apparently threw everything they had lying around their rehearsal space—and it was a very sticky wall. Ons Vrije Fatum is the result of a band who does a few things very well and wants to do a whole lot of other things too but has not yet figured out which other kinds of things work and which ones need to be thrown out with the bathwater. Which brings us to another old saying: “Kill your darlings.” Learn to say goodbye to parts which, although you love them, do not work. To do so is painful yet wise. Just because one of your bandmates sequences this wicked awesome synthesizer bit doesn’t mean it belongs on the album somewhere. There are bands who make a career out of jamming every square peg into every round hole they can find. It rarely works, and here’s hoping Laster moves forward by doubling down on their strengths or strengthening their weaknesses.

3.75 Out ov 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

Imagine this is 3.75 toilets, not 3.5

Imagine this is 3.75 toilets, not 3.5

 

Ons Vrije Fatum was released on January 9, 2017 by Dunkelheit Produktionen. Available on CD, vinyl, digital and tape. You can compliment Laster on the smoothness of their skulls on facebook.

(Cover photo VIA)

  • I’ve made this comment elsewhere, but the band photo instantly reminded me of another band:
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/159500ba31a0df6adb92acac50640434d39111905c4083c08dd798d02e15bfeb.gif

  • Joaquin Stick

    Lol, that mask kinda looks like glowing Mr. Burns from the top view.

    But anyway, I am really enjoying this. I’ll probably like a lot more of the oddities than most, but those gang vocals made no sense. A very easily ignore-able 3 seconds though. Otherwise, I like my black metal to be as weird as possible.

    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/05MYuHpnycw/hqdefault.jpg

    • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

      Weird black metal for the win!

    • Joaquin Stick

      Alright, that part that starts at 4:00 of the fourth track is a little out there for me too. But still liking everything else!!

    • I like it weird too, obviously. Laster needs to figure out how to incorporate weirdness more smoothly, as opposed to just tossing it in all willy-nilly.

  • I like hardcore but gang shouts are too much Bro for me.

    • more beer

      Absolution just released an ep. First release from them since their demo’s in the late 80’s. It is about time they have a proper release. Since they were a very influential NYHC band.

  • Howard Dean
    • ≠ Voidscape Tyree ≠

      BYYYYAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!

      • more beer

        Did you see that Withered is on this upcoming Morbid Angel tour?

        • ≠ Voidscape Tyree ≠

          Fuck yeah! I’ll be making it to one of those dates for sure.

          • more beer

            So will I. I know they are playing in Pittsburgh. They are the only reason I am even going to go to this show.

          • ≠ Voidscape Tyree ≠

            I’ll be curious to see MA. Especially since Tucker is back. I hope they play shit off of Gateways and Formulas.

          • more beer

            I will stick around for their set. But I am going for Withered. Also Ethan sang one song for Khemmis last week when I saw them. It was pretty cool.I am pretty sure that was the only show on their tour that will be happening.

    • Dave Vincent’s Perm
      • Howard Dean

        Yeeeeeessssssssssssss!!

    • Óðinn

      So classic. Fucking love that album.

      • Howard Dean

        Yeah, gnarly stuff for ’83 that still holds up to this day. Love that looser, borderline unhinged speed metal sound.

  • Black Unbeard

    well, im usually part of the orthodox crew but i do like some hybrids that mix in some hardcore like Celeste. ill give this a further listen later

  • KyleJMcBride

    OT: William Peter Blatty R.I.P.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roqHaEjDPzQ

    • KyleJMcBride

      It can easily be stated that Metal would not be the same were it not for the influence of William Peter Blatty and The Exorcist .

      • KyleJMcBride

        However, I hope that his passing causes more people to discover this movie as well, an underrated classic that he viewed as the “spiritual sequel” to The Exorcist. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_tsGUy5joE

      • more beer

        There is a documentary coming out Sunday on Netflix. That claims the priest who inspired his role. Died after being spoken to by a possessed child. Then was pushed over by an invisible force. Causing his death.

        • KyleJMcBride

          Nice. I ‘ll watch it.

          • more beer

            I will too at some point. Even though I find the whole premise rather ridiculous. Since I find demonic possession as silly as having a sky god.

          • KyleJMcBride

            I believe that everything that is put down to “magic” will eventually be ascribed to science, even things like so-called demonic possession. Just because we can’t perceive it as of yet doesn’t mean it’s magic or demons. Everything has a reasonable explanation if you know how or where to look.

          • more beer

            Yea but most people just look at the old out of date silliness.

    • ≠ Voidscape Tyree ≠

      I wrote a comment but I noticed it disappeared. Must up gotten taken down for having either the word “N*zi” or “C*nting* in it. It was just a quote from the movie I used.

      Anyways, sad to hear.

      • KyleJMcBride

        You mean this? ^_^ One of the funniest scenes of all time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot9mcXHXHu4

        • ≠ Voidscape Tyree ≠

          YUP!!! HAHAHAHA One of my favorites.

          • KyleJMcBride

            “What’s for dessert?” : )

  • I am reminded, once again, that I have absolutely two ears for Black Metal whatsoever.
    Hehehe

  • Doc Torluv

    The part Richter mentioned in “Binnenstebuiten” reminds me a LOT of Virus. I love this weird stuff, but it seems maybe Laster doesn’t quite know what they are. Let’s say BDAGQ (black death avant garde questioning).

  • 2017 has definitely started with a bang. Here was me thinking I’d have time to catch up on stuff i missed last year.

  • The Tetrachord of Archytas

    2017 week 2: already behind on releases

  • Waynecro

    Excellent review, Richter! Never before has a rehearsal space with very sticky walls been a positive.