Lascar – Absence (A Sad Sadness Song)

Sunday, 4th December 2016
Rating: 6.5/10

Defined as “a sailor or militiaman from South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Arab world, and other territories located to the east of the Cape of Good Hope, who were employed on European ships from the 16th century until the middle of the 20th century,” Lascar is a curious name for a band playing depressive blackgaze. The product of Chilean Gabriel Hugo (who does everything; perhaps the band should have been named “Hugo” instead), Lascar’s Absence full-length debut Absence bears all the shortcomings of a band and/or gentleman who has yet to properly figure out how create a song on the level of far greater bands ala An Autumn for Crippled Children and Falaise.

Working with virtually all of the basic blackened shoegaze fundamentals like a searing, hazy guitar tone (it’s fuzz), mourning melodies, and a washed-out production job, Absence never properly finds footing. Perhaps the main issue lies with Hugo’s odd placement of vocals. He’ll go extended periods without any vocals then suddenly his buried-in-the-mix screech will show up. Obviously, vocals are the least important element in this sub-section of black metal (see: AAFCC), but they can at least be a linchpin. Hugo’s songs rarely hit the penultimate moment; they’re just a wide assemblage of quasi-anguished moments and mid-tier riffs.

Blackgaze generally doesn’t have too much trouble entering into the BM discussion, if only for its polarizing nature. A band like Lascar, however, aren’t going to do much, if not at all, when it comes to blackgaze’s tenuous spot in extreme metal. Anguish feels somewhat incomplete, making it all the more of an oddity in a sub, sub-genre of BM that will soon have its requisite flood of copycats.

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