Lascar — Wildlife
Ever since I stumbled upon this project's 2016 full-length debut, Absence, I've been intrigued with Lascar's particular brand of post-black metal. Since the aforementioned debut album, the Lascar has released another full-length, an EP, and now this third record. Absence was a solid debut but didn't really stand out from a lot of the other releases from similar artists at the time. Subsequent releases have seen the project expand and mature its sound and song-writing skills, and Wildlife is no different.
Sonically, Lascar features a lot of bright, colourful guitars juxtaposed with muffled, shrieked vocals. At times, additional guitar tracks lend hallmark black metal riffs and tremolo runs both in layers over top of the cleaner guitars, but also in their own dedicated passages. Wildlife is 6 tracks, and runs about 40 minutes; as is typical in the post-black metal genre, the material longer than your typical 3-4 minute songs. The variety in the compositions keeps things flowing nicely, and even the 7 and 8-minute long tracks don't feel like anything could — or should — have been cut.
For the majority of the album, Wildlife presents itself as fairly typical — albeit well executed — post-black metal. There are a few moments, however, where the Lascar ventures outside of their niche, such as the dirty bar rock breakdown from about 2:00 to 3:36 on "Fatigue" or the brooding piano flourishes in the opening of "The Majestic Decay." Each track feels like a piece of a coherent album, and the minor experimentation in the final leg of the record helps keep everything fresh and engaging. For much of its running time, Wildlife features a somewhat droning lead guitar being backed up by crunchier, more distorted guitars when necessary. The closing track, "The Majestic Decay" features some sections some traditional metal power chord progressions and it both: worked really well and made me want to hear more of this in future material.
If there are knocks on the album its the somewhat one-dimensional vocals. It's not a huge problem, and there are some moments of variety in the delivery, but everything is so muffled and distorted that the lyrics are moot and sometimes the contrast with the instrumental doesn't quite work. Overall, though, everything sounds very good. The guitars are sharp and clear, allowing the main melodic riffs to punch through the buzz of the dirtier backing guitars. The drum playing is solid, though tonally it sounds very clearly like an electronic kit or some other form of triggered drums — it's noticeable but doesn't really detract from the material. I would love to hear this album engineered with a huge budget, because it sounds great even if it's a complete DIY effort.
While I would be exaggerating if I said Wildlife was an essential release for post-black fans, I still give it a strong recommendation for any fans of the genre. Lascar have yet to disappoint with any of their offerings, and this new record is easily their best work yet. Fans of Deafheaven and Wildernessking should be able to appreciate what's going on here.
Yet another one-man black metal project, this time hailing from Santiago, Chile. Lascar have been steadily releasing quality, atmospheric post-black metal for a few years and Wildlife is easily their best effort to date. A steady pulse of buzzing riffs and anguished vocals, with a dose of somber melody to balance everything out, this album is a quality example of how offshoot black metal genres have become a worldwide phenomenon. Wildlife is a strong entry in the post-black metal genre, showcasing a continuing maturation as Lascar's third full-length offering.
Release date: October 25th, 2018
Record label: Throne Records
Gabriel Hugo — everything
- The Disdain
- The Zenith
- The Majestic Decay
Published: October 26th, 2018.