• Charlotte Hardman

LOUDER REVIEWS: 'Delicate' - Lastelle

It may not be the first title that springs to mind when one thinks of a metalcore band, but ‘Delicate’ is the perfect moniker for the new EP from Oxfordshire quintet Lastelle. The band have been on a speeding upward trajectory in recent months: signing to Year of the Rat Records in August of last year, and backing that up with a string of singles that have each been received with steadily increasing anticipation for the EP that will bring them all together. Now, it is here. Striking the balance between being heavy and having heart is something that is surprisingly difficult to do – however, if you’re looking for a shining example of how to do it, and do it well, then Lastelle have you covered!

‘Distant Bodies’ kicks off proceedings in unmistakably fine fashion. Boasting a huge opening verse full of operatic rock vocals, the full-throttle, darkly rich guitar tones, then break into a flurry of roughly-hewn uncleans. With emotion and fire contained here in equal measure, comparisons to the likes of Casey and Holding Absence are definitely warranted. It’s successor, ‘Only Apathy’, as the title may well suggest, is a touch darker and more despondent in tone. The ritualistic drums herald in something moody and shoe-gazing, but with enough passion flickering like flames at its edges to give it a cathartic feel. The chorus, however, is this tracks’ masterstroke: a huge skyscraper of a melody, full of soaring phrases and an impactful dichotomy of prevailing cleans and guttural unclean vocals. What is remarkable about Lastelle is their ability to keep the reigns tightly pulled on their melodies. They give their tracks enough room to breathe that they retain their ferocity without melding into an impenetrable wall of sound – this is moody metalcore, but with a brightness at its heart.

Slipping further into the darkness is ‘Coping Without A Cure’; its delicate opening piano notes crumble into a melody that is packed full of big, bruising ennui. The vocals float forward as if from underwater, as the radio effects laid over them provide a tender, delicate smokescreen to shield the raw pain from which they were borne subtly from view. Emotionally charged from the off, the lyrics are profoundly intimate. Speaking about this track in particular, the band revealed the heart-breaking inspiration behind it’s lyrics: “Coping Without A Cure… still embodies the wall of sound we have built in the past, but it hits a lot harder. The subject of the song is very personal; the lyrics personify someone suffering from Alzheimer’s, how they’re starting to forget the people they love. If you’ve dealt with this yourself, you’ll know how sad it is to witness.” Hard to hear though it may be, it is precisely this raw honesty and candour that endears Lastelle immediately to the listener.

Bringing us right up to the present is the band’s latest single, ‘Departure’. Hauntingly eerie, the guitar line thrives on melodrama, accompanied by more unclean vocals spat with a visceral venom. And, for those still not converted, the fist-waving chorus is proof that anyone who says metalcore vocalists scream because they can’t sing is sorely mistaken – the uplifting choral vocals are belted with a crystal-clear purity that scythes cleanly and truly through the grumbling bassline.

Following on is one of the only previously unheard tracks on the record, ‘Reverie’, a sub-two-minute instrumental interlude. At first, the low, humming intro is hauntingly unnerving, until something brighter creeps in with the higher-pitched synthesiser – this is darkness laid down like a thin veil, something which takes a creative precision that is definitely worthy of praise. Perhaps most daring is the inclusion of saxophones floating away in the background; a beautifully unconventional choice for a metal band, illustrating that Lastelle are capable of being fine musical craftsmen, as well as churning out gut-wrenching walls of noise. The same follows through into closer ‘A Letter Unread’. Drifting in its delicacy that has a slow, melting grandeur to it, the unclean screams rattle like pebbles in a freely flowing stream. Balance is perfectly struck yet again here: this is a band who know how to craft a sound which is passionate yet pertinent all at the same time.

'Delicate' is out on the 26th of February via Year of the Rat Records - pre-order the record here:

Check out the video for the band's latest single 'Departure' here:


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