Lasher Fest 23 is a reflection of an uncompromising music scene in Aalborg, Denmark, and its tendrils reaching out into the world. It’s a lightning bolt into the city’s oppressive musical darkness. Musikkens Hus and 1000Fryd proudly presented a festival program curated by Lasher Agency, showcasing intense and liberating music that delves deep into the extremes of the musical spectrum. This year’s Lasher Fest promised to be an auditory adventure like no other. The lineup featured an array of international and local talent, each pushing the boundaries of music in their unique ways.
Consisting of two skinny twins from Brooklyn, Venus Twins can fill up a stage really well with personality alone. This is good because there are no other stages to speak of.
The sound is manic, aggressive and explosive. Short bursts of intense releases of energy, where both twins punish their instruments like they hate them. A noisy, intentionally arrhythmic, possibly insanity-fueled pandemonium. And for every change in rhythm, the drummer’s face contorts in a new way, like he’s exorcizing a demon, or having a particularly powerful stroke.
And the drummer is by far the most entertaining thing to look at, having his own little party in the background. He plays around with weird sound effects and barks along with all the dog noises and punching sounds. Even the lighting seems a bit off, and I rarely say this, but this would have been perfect for strobe light.
The place is about half full, and at first, the crowd doesn’t really seem to know what to make of the two Americans on stage, but if nothing else they can grab people’s attention, and the people there seem to catch the vibe after a little while. Unfortunately, the set is only 30 minutes long, and over just as it’s getting good.
I would definitely recommend Venus Twins to everyone looking for something out of the ordinary.
Watching the Danish band, Vægtløs (Weightless), turned out to be a pretty emotional experience, for both the band and the audience.
Musicwise, they spend a lot of time on the ambience and buildup, which is always a gamble. But in this case, it paid off in a big way. The lead singer does a great job, his screams and yells are like a mix of melancholy and repressed, maybe even controlled, anger. So when the music suddenly explodes after a monologue of longing screams, it’s very powerful. Between songs, there’s an eerie synth sound, like some avant-garde dystopian movie from the 80’s, and they even incorporate poetry.
This kind of music isn’t for everyone, and the crowd fluctuates in size during the show, but everyone who’s there picks up the vibe straight away and is silent and focused. I saw no one talking during the show, and looking around, it seemed like everyone was entranced when the lead singer made a heartfelt speech about the people there and his friend who couldn’t be. Some people were even hugging at the end.
In regards to the visuals, there wasn’t a stage show as such, but the lighting fits well, with two simple colours, a cold blue and a warmer light in the background. This works well for a band where a big production would probably just be a distraction. And of course, who doesn’t love a lead singer who isn’t afraid to crowd-surf?
All in all, the show seems more like one long story, than a setlist of songs. And it’s not every band in this kind of genre, who are as convincing in their performance as Vægtløs. It seems like the band allows themselves to actually feel what they’re trying to project to the audience. There’s a degree of vulnerability from every member on stage, and that’s what makes it an experience rather than a performance, and that authenticity is what is needed when you’re trying to draw the crowd in with you.
Hiraki is very hard to place genre-wise. It’s like they took the parts of every kind of metal they like, and threw it all into the blackest cauldron they could find. There’s some punk, some black, and some parts are polished while others are very raw. There’s even elements of synth
The lead singer, Jon Gotlev, has a distinct voice, that works incredibly well with the most aggressive parts, but maybe a little less so on most of the rest. The variation in the music is so big, that most vocals would have a hard time following it.
The crowd isn’t all that big, but the people in front are having a blast, and there’s even a small pit going at one point. All in all, there are great parts about Hirakis’ performance and some that need a little polishing.
If Vægtløs represented soulfulness, and Venus Twins covered mania, the underlying feeling with Telos is definitely RAGE. A mix of hardcore and black metal, they have a high tempo, hard sound and some very angry vocals. Telos lead singer seems and screams like a caged animal, but can also deliver some fairly deep growls.
The crowd is far bigger, compared the some of the other bands, and the atmosphere is way more intense. Even the lighting is good. Just as aggressive in colour and tempo as the band is in sound and movement. Perhaps one of the most intense bands of the night, I would definitely recommend checking Telos out if you ever need to let off some steam.
Full of Hell
Full of Hell wasn’t off to a great start, being delayed by half an hour, but the crowd standing outside the closed doors didn’t seem to mind waiting for a bit. Talking to some of the people there, it became clear that a lot of them had come to see this band especially. And while I suppose they technically were the only decidedly grindcore band of the night, they seemed to have a very broad appeal and a lot of fans there.
When the band finally takes the stage, people are already riled up from the wait, and they dive straight into it, with all the violent blast beats, explosive drumming and savage vocals they’re known for. By the end of it, the crowd is thinning out by a lot, but they get a huge applause from everyone who made it through.
Oxbow is perhaps the most unique band on the roster of Lasher Fest. With a mix of old-school heavy metal and blues, they take the stage and start out with a long buildup, that perhaps goes on a bit too long. Once they get going though, it’s clear that this is a band with their own kind of sound, developed over many years. And it HAS been 24 years since they last grazed Aalborg with their presence.
With a heavy smell of incense from the stage, the lead singer Eugene Robinson, starts singing the slow and soulful tunes the band is known for. And it really is a slow burn, for most of the set. If he weren’t singing as well as he does, you would think he was sedated, standing there with eyes closed throughout the show, ears taped with what seems like duct tape. After the first song, he takes of one of two leather vests, and after the second, the pants come off too. For a moment, he even turns his back on the audience and twerks a little for the audience.
The band does have some up-tempo songs though, and they certainly have stage presence, and not just because of the slow striptease. The heavy metal sound is slow and dirty, and mixed well with jazz and blues it does have a certain appeal. They could have been an early prototype for a band like Zeal and Ardor.
In the end, the crowd isn’t that big, but that doesn’t seem to faze the band, which makes it all the more of an intimate experience for the people left.
Local band Bogwife is one of the few doom/stoner rock bands on the Danish scene. And if you’re into that, you won’t be disappointed. The sound is slow and heavy, and even being a member short, they deliver well in the rhythm section.
The term ’wailing on a guitar’, seems very on point for this band, as there are some heavy melancholic solos mixed in. The crowd isn’t all that big, and as the band keeps going for perhaps a little too long, there’s only a handful left at the end. No one I talked to afterwards disliked them though, but that long of a set of slow stoner rock can overpower most people.