If there ever was a band dedicated to weirdness, that band is Laster. From their on-stage presentation with weird masks and over the top dance moves to the highly schizophrenic music that disregards labels and genres, Laster is all of the best kinds of weird put together, if you ask me. And they have just put out what is already my favorite album of theirs: Andermans Mijne.
Having roots in both extreme metal and avant-garde, Andermans Mijne sees Laster taking another big step to position themselves on the latter. Don’t get me wrong, you will still find your blast beats and black metal moments here, but their knack for experimentation takes center stage on their new album, with plenty of moments that will impress both prog metal and even jazz enthusiasts. That is immediately clear with the first (and title) track, that is a perfect resume on where the band is right now, sonically.
“Kunslicht” is an immediate standout for me as it highlights my personal favorite aspect of Laster: the bass. I love it when the bass takes center stage and feels like the moving force for a song, and this is a perfect example of that. It starts with those very opera-inspired, epic vocal lines that are found frequently in avant-garde metal, but in true Laster fashion, it features a very danceable interlude. “Poëtische waarheid” starts with this surf rock riff that morphs into a spacey keyboard solo that is accompanied by a blast beat. “Achterstevoren” is a song that starts in a very proggy rock structure and evolves into a complete horror show, with a somewhat haunting aura, before it goes back to the prog. It’s this juxtaposition that makes Laster stand out. You never really know where a song is going, and the experimentation always work in favor of the tracks instead of against them: they are very out-there in scope, but remain straightforward enough to sound like complete and thought out songs and not just random experimentation.
I was lucky enough to attend their show at this year’s Prophecy Fest, where we got a first hand experience on some of Andermans Mijne‘s songs, such as “Vorm alleen” and “Stegen spiegel”. These had me hyped for the album immediately, and as everyone was there either amazed or put off by their weirdness, I was just vibing there thinking ‘man, this is exactly my kind of stuff‘. And of course, their studio selves are just as good. The silent interlude in “Vorm alleen” makes it a total banger, and “Stegen spiegel” might be my favorite in the album overrall, with a bassline that seems crafted exactly to my liking.
“Afgelopen tijd” (I have no idea how any of these songs names are pronounced) is another big favorite, as those riffs just sound like they could fit right into a Castlevania game OST. And once again, the bass power here is just too much to handle. And it has a clapping outro??? Please stop spoiling me. The final song “Doodgeboren” is a true perfect ending, with some of the band’s best moments sprinkled throughout it. There is shouting, there is melodic riffage, there are blast beats, and it makes you wanna hit play on the album again once it ends.
Andermans Mijne sees Laster not only venturing further into experimentation, but also finding great maturity in their songwriting and crafting their identity amidst all the sonic chaos. You may notice I haven’t even compared the album or any song to another band at any moment in this review. That is because I find Andermans Mijne to be truly unique. Laster sounds like Laster, and other bands should aspire to this level of identity.
Those unfamiliar with them may find a perfect entry point for their music here, as even though they embrace and add more and more layers to their music, they have never been more accessible than this, and anyone into different and inspired music will find a lot to love. And even if that is not enough to sell it to you, do it for the sexy, sexy bass. You know you can’t resist it.