I was in my moldy, walled-in hole, surrounded by stacks of dusty and worm-gnawed tomes, coughing into my fist, and staining my sleeve with the sweat from my brow, staring blankly at Ptolemy’s macrocosm as illumined by Heaven’s waning light as it passed through the filthy glass of my study’s windows, when, of a sudden, a bright green fire ignited in my periphery and, starting up from my chair, I stood witness as those brilliant flames wove and whorled and spawned a man of impossible bearing and physiognomy.
I asked – nay, I demanded – the otherworldly intruder to give me his name, his credentials, his place of origin, and as the greenish brume slowly diffused from my study, that strangely beautiful man – with his long, curly hair of a black so deep it shimmered blue, and with eyes twice as black as that, wearing a smart black suit and pointed black shoes – in answer to all my demands, the impossible man deigned only to reply:
“I am part of that force which eternally wills evil and eternally works good.”
Indeed, Laster’s Faust-inspired three song debut, Wijsgeer & Narreman, has, by now, been blogged about as many times as the Faust legend itself has been re-adapted and rewritten. And anyone even half-familiar with the legend can understand why it is so popular, among artists of sundry crafts: So long as humans remain capable of understanding their cosmic ignorance, but incapable of reaching beyond it; so long as man vainly keeps on his unilateral quest towards ultimate understanding then the fantasy of signing a pact with the Devil in order to know all, to comprehend all, to feel, simply, a moment of pure happiness remains perennially potent and maddeningly tantalizing. Though, the very appearance of a Mephistophelean peddler of execrable knowledge is revealing enough itself, insofar as answering at least one age-old question: What lay beyond this mortal realm? Well, for one thing, that crazy lookin’ fella came from somewhere, right? So there ya go. Probably not worth it after all. I mean, now that you’ve discovered that you do, in fact, have an immortal soul, since the Devil’s so eager to take it off your hands, perhaps you’d be best off just waiting a little bit longer on the whole absolute enlightenment thing.
Read the rest of the review after the jump!
Still, the theme remains profoundly cool. And quite kvlt, for that matter. If you’re reading this review then undoubtedly you’re aware that Laster ain’t the only BM act to release a Faust-based EP this year. But what makes the two Dutch dudes in Laster stand out from the other mortals supplicating the darkness for inspiration is that they seem to get it. Like a dude with a bowler covering his horns shows up to their practice space when they’re jamming at like 3 a.m. and gets their johnhancocks in their own blood, and he’s got a giant black cat with him, who, licking his paw, says he’s the official notary. There’s an unreal specter that haunts the three tracks of this EP. And it has little to do with the howling vocals, or the tempestuous guitar work. Or even the drumming that swirls around in your ears like a violent storm outside your closed windows.
Young artists, like Goethe’s Faust, drink lustfully from the crystal goblet of ambition without questioning what effects that elixir may have on the longevity of their craft. Laster is no different. These three songs were undoubtedly written in a short time, borne on nascent inspiration, recorded in an even shorter time, and it probably only took a few minutes to put Rembrandt’s etching against a black background beneath the band’s moniker. And all that’s precisely what makes this EP such a rewarding listen. It’s just teeming with that sort of youthful recklessness that makes young bands and their demos so special. These three songs are definitely not flawless, even given the graces of underground Black Metal. And the songs could be much longer. Most of the riffs and movements only see a few repetitions before flying or dying into the next part of the song. But these are the kind of mistakes young bands are wont to make. They’re also the kind of mistakes that make us love records. We want what we can’t have. Nothing is ever enough. Those who listen Laster’s EP will invite these songs into their hearts, like the Devil into their homes, and no matter how many times this EP’s replayed, they will still find themselves saying:
“Stay! Thou art so fair! To chain me down, I give thee power, to the black bottom of despair!”