Laster - Ons Vrije Fatum album review

Dutch post-black pioneers find themselves behind the times

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Last year was a strong one for the realm of post-black metal with stellar albums from Alcest, Harakiri For The Sky and Ultar, and now one of the scene’s originals have returned with their second full-length.

Following from 2014’s De Verste Verte Is Hier, the Dutch trio have tried to capture that same spark and fire swirling around the post-black community, but unfortunately come up short. With such artistic prowess being showcased elsewhere, Laster feel like they’re tip-toeing around the music, refusing to fully commit to the sound, lacking the majesty of Ghost Bath and the intensity of Deafheaven, struggling to reach maximum velocity throughout the album’s near one-hour runtime. The instrumentation itself is evocative, creating dark, moonlit imagery, but the melodeath-style vocals sound like a constant, poorly produced, inhale. There are flourishes of intrigue with the addition of electronics and sax, but there’s no conviction or standout moment to warrant a repeat listen.

Something truly wonderful could be lurking beneath, but the band seem content with drifting on the surface.