Album Review – Lascar / Saudade (2017)

Blending modern elements of extreme music with feelings of loss, fragility and desperation, this one-man band from Chile offers us a unique interpretation of the apparent conflict on the naturalistic experience.

Hailing from the alluring city of Santiago, the capital of the mighty Republic of Chile, here comes a Post-Black Metal one-man army that goes by the name of Lascar, who since 2014 has been delivering truly captivating music by blending modern elements of extreme music with feelings of loss, fragility and desperation, offering a unique interpretation of the apparent conflict on the naturalistic experience. After the releases of the demos Lascar (2014) and Depths (2015), followed by the band’s debut full-length album Absence (2016), it’s time for Lascar, the brainchild of Chilean multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Hugo, to mesmerize us once again with beautiful Atmospheric Black Metal in the full-length opus Saudade, a Spanish word that can be translated as “yearning” or “nostalgia” (albeit there’s no specific word for it in English), implying a sense of abandon and a nostalgic mourning manifested within an artistic environment.

The opening track, entitled Tender Glow, is Atmospheric Black Metal at its finest, bringing forward a bucolic start with the sound of the guitar thoroughly blended with the wind while the music remains gloomy, desperate and anguished at all times thanks to the demonic gnarls by Gabriel, who effectively vociferates the song’s poetry-like lyrics (“The sun expands through the morning air / with its astral constant energy. / Ornaments of ice melts / through the cracks of crystal moments in an hyperbole. / A heartbeat rumble through a fragile atmosphere. / Echoes of lost dreams trespassing the ethereal. / Seasons of purple blossoms falling through the hands of time. / Ornaments of ice melts / through the cracks of crystal moments in an hyperbole.”). Thin Air continues from where the first song ended, impregnating the air with visceral blast beats, old school Black Metal riffs and tons of agony and melancholy, resulting in a wall of dark sounds built up by several distinct layers that will crush your soul mercilessly. Furthermore, Gabriel keeps growling like an uncanny entity until a gentle break brings some peace to our minds, with this paradox of negative emotions and gentle sounds being absolutely fantastic.

The third track of the album, Uneven Alignment, couldn’t start in a more melancholic manner, with its smooth sounds and nuances mesmerizing our senses before Gabriel returns with his visceral roars and frantic drums. Put differently, this is a solid and beautiful depiction of modern Black Metal with Gabriel taking us all on a whimsical journey through the obscure realms of Lascar. And lastly, the acoustic guitar by Gabriel kicks off the final breath of Post-Black Metal in Saudade, a 14-minute aria named Bereavement, showcasing all elements from Atmospheric and Depressive Black Metal fused with traditional Doom and Black Metal, with devastation and despair flowing from all instruments from start to finish, therefore ending the album on the highest note imaginable.

It’s quite difficult to express in just a few lines what the music by Lascar truly represents, which means that, if I were you, I would definitely go take a very detailed and focused listen at Saudade in its entirety on YouTube, as well as follow Lascar on Facebook. Hence, in case Saudade has all the elements you’re searching for in obscure extreme music, you can purchase a copy of the album at Lascar’s BandCamp page, at the ATMF’s BandCamp page or webstore (as a regular CD, a regular LP, or a collector’s edition translucid purple vinyl LP with white speckles), at the Throne Records’ webstore or at Discogs. The feeling of loss followed by a strong and deep sense of yearning might not be something easy to deal with inside ourselves, but with the lugubrious music by Lascar as the soundtrack at least we have a very good reason to let those feelings and thoughts consume our minds in the darkest way possible.

Best moments of the album: Thin Air and Bereavement.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 A Sad Sadness Song

Track listing
1. Tender Glow 10:25
2. Thin Air 8:49
3. Uneven Alignment 8:34
4. Bereavement 14:25

Band members
Gabriel Hugo – vocals, all instruments