by Thomas Bedward February 01, 2019
A transgender multi-instrumentalist and innovator, Lana Laws has gone from relative obscurity to national identity in only a few short years. Using her talents for singing, keyboards, guitar, and bass to create symphonic metal compositions that flow with definitive grandeur, Lana has recently championed the release of ‘Kalasin’, a debut album of unexpected magnitude.
Taking its name from a province in Thailand where Lana spent a significant period of her time facing her transition from male to female, ‘Kalasin’ is a powerful, almost autobiographical album that is spiked with references to Lana’s life. Built from six instrumental tracks and one vocal track, ‘Kalasin’ is an album of unique, daringly progressive sounds.
Arriving with a flourish of electric keyboard notes, opening track ‘The Chasing of Perfidious Mists’ sets the stage for the album, building an eclectic atmosphere of contrasting styles and overlapping audio streams. It’s a track that blends rapid metal with almost serene orchestral backing, culminating in a sound that is sometimes bewildering, something anthemic, but always intriguing. Further into the album, ‘Identity : Prosperity : Obscenity’ breaks into more electronic territory, opening on a wave of digital beats than evolve into a dark, rolling cacophony of sounds. It’s a song the breaks from the mould that the opening tracks set, but the deeper you travel into the world of ‘Kalasin’, the more you realise that nothing is certain in the album.
‘A Tortured Score’ begins at breakneck pace, bringing together rapid fire percussion with ravaging guitar riffs, building relentlessly before dropping into a lasting squeal of fading guitars, and as soon as it all began, the album is over with final push of ‘One Final Swell, the Fatigued Orchestra Resigns, Farewell’. For a time, there is a faded silence where ‘Kalasin’ lets you rest and try to take stock of what you’ve heard, but it’s short lived, with ‘The Skin That I’m In’ soaring into your consciousness with unapologetic fire.
It’s a hard album to review, mainly because it’s orchestral, almost operatic style is pushed so forcefully into the world of metal that is takes a few moments to really break down what’s happening. Unique to say the least, ‘Kalasin’ is an album of unexpected directions, uncertain movements, and spontaneous, combustible sounds. It’s an album that will have you engaged and entertained the whole way through, even if it’s just because it’s so entirely overwhelming that you’ll feel compelled to keep going.
With ‘Kalasin’ is out now on over ninety platforms, including Spotify, Bandcamp, Amazon Music, and iTunes.
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