17 Apr 2022 - Thorsten
Atmoshpheric Blackened Hardcore Metal | Release date: 30 Sep 2021
There is something about the last 冷 (Laang) record 心疼 (Xinteng) that makes my heart beat faster and that are not the brilliant blastbeats! It is the perfectly executed mix of two of my all-time favorite genres: Black Metal and Hardcore! Sit back, take some time and let your ears be cleansed by this whirlwind!
To put this into perspective first: 心疼 (Xinteng) is not an album for purists as it’s not classical black metal and at the same time it’s not classic hardcore., it’s not even blackened hardcore. It’s basically atmospheric black metal with hardcore vocals. But the one thing that totally sets the band apart from all the other bands in this realm is their use of the keys: they use the piano notes in different ways: sometimes like a background melody supporting the vocals and sometimes like little moments of peace within the whirlwind they are concocting. The little islands serve the idea of giving the listener a moment to catch up with the vocals thrown at them and the riffs pulling at their limbs and skin.
The vocals are sung in Mandarin Chinese so we have to take the promo text as the basis for it all: the record is focusing on the terror and anxiety of a trauma-survivor having the face the fact of his own mortality, a hard thing to come to grasp with after having survived a traumatic event just shortly before. This fear, this anxiety and panic is really delivered well be Yang Haitao and totally fits the title of the record, which is translated as something like “emotional turmoil” or “love dearly”. That sounds a bit like survivor’s guilt.
One thing that should also be clear – this band gets no extra point from us for being from an exotic part of the world, Taiwan. Our judgment is only based on merits and skills – and those are things that Laang have myriads full of. Their knack for writing really good heavy metal riffs, incorporating some clean background vocals and the full-stop effect of their synth-work is just too awesome to overlook. When listening to their work, the idea of a very urban area comes to mind, with kids from the late 90s and early 00s meeting and finding their own rhythm and groove. The latter is also something that is really obvious right from the opener ”Candan” - the rhythm section of really talented when it comes to creating a groove without overdoing it. And when the track then ends in some simple aerial keys the whole thing becomes even more enjoyable.
These little bits and pieces can be found in every track on Laang’s second full-length and they help to turn every track into an outstanding testimony to the massive skills of the trio. These skills, together with the mix of hardcore, black metal and a mighty knack for effective use of the keys make for an outstanding record. Which genre this is? Don’t know, don’t care. Let’s call it “atmoshpheric hardened blackened metal”. Or simply: great music!