Receiving the Evcharist is our weekly feature where we pair choice albums with our favorite libations. Drink from the cup of heresy. This week’s offering: Laster’s Het Wassen Oog and Golden State Cider Company’s Gingergrass Cider.
The Metal: Laster’s Het Wassen Oog
Today, it is my extreme pleasure to bring our focus back to the Netherlands, and to talk about one of my most anticipated albums this year. Laster are a band that I have championed for some time, almost two years ago on this very column most notably, and any time the group teases new music is cause for celebration, but from the first notes I heard of Het Wassen Oog, the band’s first release for new label Prophecy Productions, I knew this was going to be something special even for them. Laster have never been shy about pushing boundaries with their unique take on black metal, but Het Wassen Oog shows the trio at their most breathtakingly adventurous. With a stronger emphasis on clean vocals and warped, lilting melody, the songs here are boldly creative, taking the Laster formula of black metal by way of prog and dance music influences and upping the ante with unconventional melodic shifts and outsider instrumentation (the genuine 808 hand claps on “Zomersneeuw” are an absolutely delightful). Even the album’s most ‘black metal’ tracks (“Haat & Bonhomie”) still feel like one is looking at the genre through a fish-eye lens, blurring and distorting at the edges as Laster’s influence pulls the genre further away from it’s purist past, allowing it to truly breathe freely as a real art form. Het Wassen Oog is both exceptionally weird and weirdly exceptional, the next logical progression of a band hell bent on reinventing black metal from the top down, and we are lucky to get to bear witness to it.
The Booze: Golden State Cider Company’s Gingergrass Cider
Folks, it’s time once again to venture into Cider Land. Today’s offering comes to us from the Golden State Cider Company, specifically the Gingergrass cider, an apple cider flavored with (you guessed it) lemongrass and ginger. These ingredients together are a guaranteed home run in my book (I’m a sucker for just about anything with ginger in it), but the balance in the flavors here is nonetheless exceptional. The heat from the ginger is not overpowering by any means, but it makes its presence known, the lemongrass gives a nice tartness to the drink, and the sweetness of the apple rounds things out perfectly in the finish. The sweetness, I think, is what makes this whole thing work; I tend to prefer my ciders on the drier side, but I think in this case if it was more dry the ginger and lemongrass would overpower the apple, and the drink as a whole would suffer for it. The apple is always the star of the show, as it should be in an apple cider, and the supporting cast of flavors does a good job of elevating the characteristics of the apple here rather than steal the spotlight for themselves. I’d be very pleased to try just about anything else this crew has to offer.
Cheers, and be good to each other,