If last week’s offering was one of tried-and-true favorites, tonight’s pairing is one that is decidedly out of the box. Sometimes it’s good to shake things up a bit though, especially in light of the new year being upon us. Taking a risk on something that seems out there is always worth the experience, and in this case it has led to discovering a wonderful drink and one of the first great albums of 2017. The Metal: Laster’s Ons Vrije Fatum. The Booze: Apothic Inferno Red Blend.
The Metal: Laster’s Ons Vrije Fatum
I am extremely pleased to have an opportunity to talk about this band and album here. Laster are a band that I have been enamored with since stumbling upon their first demo, Wijsgeer & Narreman, some years back. Since that time, I have watched the band’s sound evolve from more straight ahead black metal into what the band refers to as “obscure dance music;” a sound that is harder to pin a genre on, but consistently more engrossing with each passing release. From the excellent De verste verte is hier to their split with fellow countrymen Wederganger, the band has shown that they are always striving to push themselves, and the culmination of that drive is Ons Vrije Fatum. While rooted in the very lush and romantic black metal the band has become known for, what makes Ons Vrije Fatum special is the myriad surprises the band incorporates into the songs. From hand drums in “Binnenstebuiten” to electro-pop synth lines in “Bitterzoet” and “De roes na,” to the full on cabaret jazz break (complete with saxophone) in “Helemaal near huis,” Laster manager to weave together influences from the most unexpected places. Yet as disparate as these sounds are, the band’s black metal roots act as the glue that holds the whole album together. Nothing feels contrived or out of place; Laster’s sound is completely organic, totally unique, and at it’s most absolute best here. Forget genre purists. The future of black metal is Obscure Dance Music.
The Booze: Apothic Inferno Red Blend
For an album as ambitious as I just covered, I thought it best to pair it with a drink that was just as far out of left field, with regards to both my previous columns and for the drink itself. That’s right, tonight is a wine night, dear readers. Contrary to what you may think, I do enjoy drinks that are not beer, and up there among some of my favorites is a good red wine, and tonight’s offering is a wine that was so unique to me that once I saw it, I knew I had to try it. Apothic Inferno is a red blend wine that has been aged in whiskey barrels for sixty days. The result of this combination is the best of both worlds: a tart and fruity wine with the added punch and spicy finish of a good bourbon. Strawberries and tart fruit hit the palate on the initial sip before quickly mellowing out into a long finish full of vanilla, spice, and oak notes. The aging process ups the ABV as well, giving it a nice whiskey-like kick in the back of the throat at the end. Inferno is a happy marriage of two drinks that I was not sure would suit each other well. Fans of either good wine or good whiskey will find something to celebrate in here.
There you have it. An album and drink that both flawlessly blend together things one would not normally expect would go well together. If you enjoyed reading about this pairing, use this as a lesson for the coming year: don’t be afraid to try something that may seem out of the ordinary. Comfort zones are good and necessary, but it never hurts to push yourself now and then. You just might find something new to love that way.
Cheers, and be good to each other,