Album Review: LAZER/WULF The Beast Of Left And Right
On the surface, it's easy to roll your eyes and dismiss Lazer/Wulf's most recent record The Beast of Left and Right as a gimmick to gain listeners and garner as much press as humanly possibly. The album has been described by countless media outlets as palindromic, which would mean the record plays the same backward as it does forward.
That is not the case. In the event the record were truly palindromic, the opening salvo and the closing moments would mirror each other identically. Instead, Lazer/Wulf comprises The Beast of Left and Right as a patchwork of used sections played forward, backward and and even chopped into different pieces. The album is nine track long, with the fifth being titled "Beast Reality (Center Piece)." If the album were truly palindromic then both halves of the album on each side of this song would add up- they do not. Instead they songs are supposed to mirror each other in mood depending on where they are on the album, as I've noticed after a few listens. The first track "Choose Again (Right Path)" and closer "Mutual End" utilize a lot of the same themes and even repeat sections wholesale. Think of the album as digging a hole to the center of the Earth and coming out on the other side, only to find you're right back where you started but everything is slightly off.
In short, you could call the album a gimmick. You'd also be wrong.
The Beast of Left and Right is an album that blurs the lines between progressive metal and math rock, the former generally having a much more sound structure to the music while the latter being more hectic and off-the-cuff sounding. Songs are chaotic and chock full of smaller riffs and passages that comprise larger chunks of a massive puzzle, yet they never stray far enough into the realm of insanity where the listener loses focus. Even with songs like "Choose Again (Left Path)" and "Who Were The Mound Builders" clocking in at close to nine minutes a piece, there's a center to the songs that is made evident throughout and allows a certain clarity in the madness. it's also worth noting vocals on the album are sparse and act more like a backing to the instruments than the other way around. It's an interesting take on the construction of an album and it works here, because hey- if you're going to experiment with an album you might as well go all the way with it.
Lazer/Wulf might be a trio, but they've written and pulled off an album that is complex enough to simultaneously intrigue confuse the living crap out of ten musicians. The Beast of Left and Right is an album we'll be talking about and referencing for the next few years, not only because of its unique concept and composition, but because it's such a good record regardless of the compositional aspect. if you're not blown away by the record, consider yourself completely jaded to ingenuity, curiosity and the fruits of talented labor.