Berlin-based Lares made a striking first impression with their 2017 debut release, Mask of Discomfort. Induced to explore it by a description that recommended the music “for people who like dark doomy and sludgy riffs with a touch of black metal covered in clouds of psychedelics”, what we found was a big juggernaut of sound that took us on a hellish road trip, with slower detours that were both staggeringly crushing and nightmarishly hallucinatory, and the music proved to be melodically memorable as well.
We’re told that since then Lares embarked on a new path of evolution that began in late 2018 with the formation of their current lineup, and that path led them to the creation of a new album named Towards Nothingness (adorned by the distinctive artwork of the great Polish painter Mariusz Lewandowski), and to a partnership with Argonauta Records, who will release the record on June 20th.
We have been eager to learn where the journey of Lares has taken them, and now we can share with you a signpost, a stunning first track from Towards Nothingness entitled “Grey Haze“.
This new song is a bone-breaking and soul-spearing experience that plumbs dark depths of despondency and desperation, yet also manages to create an enthralling connection despite its visceral, emotionally bruising impact.
The tonal patterns in the song are varied, which in part accounts for its success in both crushing the listener and weaving a spell. At first, Lares abrade the senses with screeching feedback and distortion-drenched guitars that boil in a murky mass (a mass in which gleaming tones also seethe), accompanied by tumbling and battering drums and searing blackened howls whose echoes claw within the listener’s skull.
The immediate emotional vector is one of wrenching delirium nourished by pain. At moments when the rambunctious drumming drops into more subdued cadences, methodically snapping at the neck, the music falls as well, pulling the mood into even more desolate territory, ringing in tones of abjection and despair. After a moment when the drums vanish altogether, the lead guitar swirls in a piercing wail, the melody grief-stricken yet entrancing, as the bass murmurs and the drums clatter and crash.
The bass is given the role of providing segues more than once, and also joins with the other stringed instruments in establishing a mind-mangling and marrow-excavating presence as the band hammer and scream their way to the song’s finish line.
In a nutshell, as a first impression of the new album, “Grey Haze” is a damned powerful one.
Towards Nothingness was recorded at Hidden Planet Studio and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege in Portland, Oregon. Lares are:
Flavio Cafiso (IT) guitar, vocals
Jörn Zennberg (DE) bass
Simone Lamberti (IT) guitar, synths
Mike Alksnis (US) drums