Wederganger & Laster Split

Wederganger Laster split

Dutch black metal has been higher on my radar this year, due in great part to the stewardship of Terzij de Horde and my experiences at Roadburn. The global community becomes far smaller when we have a chance to travel and meet each other. This is not something everybody gets to experience, but it’s become a goal of mine moving forward to feature as much metal from countries in which English is not the dominant language as possible. With this in mind, I had the great fortune of meeting a member of Laster earlier this year and he was kind enough to share his music with me. This split has more than impressed me over the last few months. I even managed to sneak in Laster’s lengthy contribution on my radio show a few months back.

With one track each, these countrymen make a strong case for The Netherlands’ role in the global black metal community. Wederganger opens things up with “Klaroenen Van De Dood,” which Google tells me means “Trumpets of Death.” Despite the title, the song feels less like a harbinger of the end and more like a ceaseless pain that would cause one to crave death’s release. There’s nary a polished edge to be seen here, with the blurred textures of the guitars serving to deepen the ugliness. It’s a lurching, hideous ride that is constant only in its queasy nature. Wederganger’s style is bleak in a way that should appease more orthodox palates without careening into full-blown traditionalist material. Mid-paced assaults seem to work best for the band, although the occasional shift in pace serves to keep the listener enthralled for the song’s entirety. Of special note is the singer’s robust delivery in the cleaner sections, carrying a defiantly human quality amid the otherworldly march of the song. It takes a skilled vocalist to hit the mark and this is exactly how it should be done.

Laster‘s offering, “Vederlicht Verraad” is no less potent, yet serves as a complement rather than rote repetition. While not quite as classically black metal in assembly, the approach and attitude fits well within the genre. It’s a song with swells of uncertainty met with triumphant heft. While the gang chant vocals would often hint at a hardcore influence, Laster manages to utilize it in a way that bolsters the size and immensity of the composition without cheapening the overall effort. While Wederganger flexes muscle in a controlling fashion, Laster seems to thrash wildly within its space. From frantic drums with surprisingly crisp cymbal work to the blankets of melody that hold it together, “Vederlicht Verraad” feels like it’s coming apart slowly throughout its duration. The brief lull in the middle offers some small hope, yet reprieve is short-lived. The feral orator manages to sound at war with himself while holding the reins just tightly enough to stay in place. In other words, this is chaotic without ever fully caving in. The sheer excess of the whole thing would be almost too much, yet it melts to static at the perfect moment, closing a strong split that makes the case for The Netherlands as a major force in this genre.