Laang continues to wander in the darkness.
Two years after the release of their second album, the band created in Taiwan by Haitao Yang (guitar/vocals/keyboards, Abyssius), then joined by Willy Krieg Tai (bass, Bloody Tyrant) and Zak King (drums, ShadowStrike, Uncured, ex-Dzö-nga) unveil Riluo, their third album, on Talheim Records.
The album opens with Baoyu, a torrent of raw fury where throbbing leads meet visceral screams and deep howls, while keyboards provide a majestic landscape. The elements blend and naturally complement each other while also welcoming a few colder notes, as on Taiyang’s Liuxue, where hypnotic melodies multiply between two waves of violence, sometimes overlaid with a fascinating dissonance that strengthens the aggressive vocal parts before taking us back into ominous sounds with Honghai and its sharp harmonics. The fast tempo lets an Old School blast lead the wildest passages, while the band turns to impressive keyboards to give its riffs greater scope, without ever neglecting the livelier side, which we find without delay on Zhemo, a composition that also plays on the various dark shades that the band knows how to develop between two eruptions of anger. However, there are a few more soaring moments, such as the final break featuring folk instruments, before Gui Xiang envelops us in his ethereal introduction, followed as always by a more virulent and intense charge where heart-rending vociferations lead the way. The track is very rhythmic, alternating very slow parts with scathing leads, and is followed by the oppressive Yequ, which places heavy, jerky riffs under a veil of dissonance before letting the drums explode. But the track is long, and it allows the band to manage its pace in a sometimes surprising yet extremely coherent way before offering us a brief moment of respite, followed by Juren‘s martial introduction, which carries us into the most suffocating darkness. Vocals are totally different, offering a terrifying experience before we extricate ourselves from this bottomless pit to discover Riluo, the final composition and eponymous track, which begins with a much more soothing passage, but soon reverts to a heady sound where the vocalist literally pours out his feelings, whether in saturated vocals or with a few more plaintive words, accompanied by choirs.
Without really being able to explain why or how, Laang bowled me over on first listen. Riluo is sure different from the band’s previous releases, but it’s just as seizing and heart-rending in its own way, letting its creators bring a battered soul to life.
Interview coming soon.