Review: Laang – Riluo

Introduction

Band: Laang
Album: Riluo 日落
Origin: Keelung City, Taiwan
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Label: Talheim Records

Now, as the tides of black metal aggressively sweep shores the world over, we continue to scavenge the Scandinavian scene, all the while as we unknowingly look over what’s happening within the genre in places like Chile, Ecuador, India, and Taiwan. Black metal truly is the finest art; a language spoken by so few yet pervasive in its influence as one of the dark arts’ most important forms of provocative expression.

From out of Keelung City, Taiwan emerge Laang – an aspiring atmospheric black metal collective whose ambitions stretch far beyond the bonds of 90’s BM worship. Uber-contemporary in their approach to the craft and boasting a style that falls somewhere between Trivium and Wolves In the Throne Room, for Laang, the realization of their vision is a matter of not only brandishing their many talents but also of attempting to create the most immersive experience possible. So, stash the corpse paint and hang up the bullet-belt for a bit. These dudes wear regular clothes and their latest LP, “Riluo 日落”, sounds nothing like “Dark Medieval Times”…

日落

From its subtle progressive moments to its very Metalcore-like sense of rhythm/melody and overlaid by the drama of epic atmospheric components but ultimately driven by conventional black metal riffing patterns underneath a fierce current of percussive onslaughts, “Riluo 日落” is possessing of all the stuff that typically creams the silkies of today’s extreme metal fiend. Ever picked up Darkest Hour vibes from a black metal song? Me either until I took in the opening track “Baoyu” with its possibly unintentional but palpable core sensibilities. Vocally reminiscent of DH’s earlier works, namely “Undoing Ruin” and complete with all those catchy melodic breaks and popping rhythms but always alternating back into the familiar tremolos, blasts and ethereal, “The Haunting” era Sear Bliss-worshiping atmospheric components that constitute the atmospheric BM experience.

You know when you listen to an album cut, and you can hear another band’s style permeate throughout its every minute but yet you can’t fucking place the comparison even though it’s right there before you? That’s what’s going on here. Much to take in and tracks like “Giu Xiang” with its, ah, there it is, Killswitch Engage “As Daylight Dies” vibes and “Yequ” that towers over every other cut on the album with an almost Septicflesh level of grandiosity.

Conclusion

Like almost every group of young musicians, Laang swung for the fences with their latest record and put together what sounds like every outstanding idea they could think of; forgetting or perhaps having not yet grasped the concept of less is more. The result? A rather convoluted recording. “Riluo 日落” falls short when it comes to feeling like a real black metal album. It’s without the same heart & soul, and devoid of that element of sinister that we all have come to recognize and feel when we experience black metal. It feels very much like one of today’s many SiriusXM Liquid Metal, trendy metal albums. But all things considered, “Riluo 日落” does stand as a respectable extreme metal record. The cultural influences are stunning and the atmosphere engaging, Laang just don’t seem to be in touch with or care much about tuning into the essence of what makes for genuine, heartfelt black metal.

Our rating: 6.5/10

Experience “Riluo 日落” by Laang right here:

YouTube player

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