Instagram Soundcloud Spotify

A Palimpsest of Sorts: Lazer/Wulf’s There Was a Hole. It’s Gone Now


Written by:

The discographies of rock ‘n’ roll bands are a palimpsest of sorts – a series of recorded texts, the ideas of which have been reconfigured for other, later recorded texts.

Let me explain.

When you listen to the acoustic songs “The Battle of Evermore” and “Going to California” on 1971’s Led Zeppelin IV, you realize that they’re palimpsests of the songs on 1970’s folky Led Zeppelin III.

When you hear the sound effects and Indian instruments on The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!,” and “Within You Without You” on 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, you immediately notice that they’re reconfigurations of “Love You To” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” from 1966’s Revolver.

It’s the notion of “rock ‘n’ roll discography as palimpsest” that makes delving into Lazer/Wulf’s EP, There Was a Hole. It’s Gone Now, so exciting. The EP, in addition being a surprising and energetic listening experience on its own, is the record just underneath the surface of the palimpsest that is The Beast of Left and Right, Lazer/Wulf’s first full-length and one of this year’s best records.


Lazer/Wulf construct The Beast of Left and Right as a progressive metal palindrome, with musical motifs recurring in opposite songs in different permutations (a palimpsest of sorts?). The LP simultaneously and somewhat magically captures the improvisational nature of free jazz and jam-band rock and the architectonic structures of progressive rock and classical symphonies.

A necessary listen in its own right, There Was a Hole. It’s Gone Now paves the way for Lazer/Wulf’s singular accomplishment on The Beat of Left and Right.

Take opening track “We Will Meet Again.” Guitarist Bryan Aiken, bassist Sean Peiffer, and drummer Brad Rice play as one, as if they’re in a musical conversation of which you want to be a part. The song is highly structured in movements that recall symphonies and progressive rock, but the performance is an invitation. Rice is the guiding spirit of the track, and all his precise hits embody excitement, grabbing you like great pop hooks. And Aiken and Peiffer’s complex picking and note selections make me think of Glass and Reich, just as much as I do Mastodon and Opeth.


“Song from the Second Floor” explodes from the noise with which “We Will Meet Again” ends (a palimpsest for the architecture of The Beast of Left and Right?). The surprise here is that slow, chanted vocals come mid-song, disrupting the guitar noise at the beginning of the track. Lazer/Wulf up the ante to close off the song, with Aiken raging on the guitar even harder than he does at its beginning. This is a Sonic Youth-worthy guitar freak out.

Arising from this noise is the 1:55 blast of fury that is “Bones of the Youth.” This piece is a treat because it vocals provide insight into Lazer/Wulf’s probable early interest in hardcore. “Youth,” in its sheer punk exuberance, is a glimpse into a band that cut its teeth on the likes of Minor Threat, Black Flag, and Fugazi and felt that they could somehow fuse the energy of hardcore with the styles of music that occupy them on The Beast of Left and Right.

“Morgue Nest (Sealed Hole)” ends the EP with some terrific metal music, with the band relentlessly pounding out the same riff, to which Aiken eventually adds a soaring solo. When Rice changes up the rhythm and slows the song down, he leads the band into an unexpected and satisfying atmospheric and contemplative place.


Listened to on its own, There Was a Hole. It’s Gone Now is a great record – a brief and intense primer to the sound world of Lazer/Wulf. Listened to in tandem with The Beast of Left and Right, the EP proves that Lazer/Wulf has that special drive that all great bands have – not to stand still, to innovate, to improve.

Lazer/Wulf’s discography is already a palimpsest.