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Howling and piercing the night - 100%

JosephPeratalo, December 5th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2010, CD, Lupus Lounge

If there was ever a rising force in the metal scene for the 21st century, I would have to say it would be in the form of post black metal. While I can nearly guarantee that founders of either of these rather-exclusive genres never imagined the two fusing in any sort of capacity, the bands that have been popping up over the past few years have created some rather stunning albums, and the fusion of the two sounds has mostly been favorable to both sides.

Enter Lantlôs, one of the genre’s latest and greatest additions. Headed by Neige, some fans may recognize his name from Amesoeurs, Peste Noire, and, in a more relevant sense, Alcest. While Alcest and Lantlôs essentially share the same genre, where Alcest focuses on the calmer, more relaxing side of the spectrum, Lantlôs seems to be Neige’s emotional outlet. Dark and contemplative, yet bursting with passion on all sides, Lantlôs’ “.Neon” is a rather spectacular achievement. From meditative, relaxing moments to cathartic outpourings, this album spans a spectrum not common in most metal and deserves several listens through.

This album starts out easy and dreamlike, but it doesn’t take long for an utter emotional outburst. The passion here is absolutely brilliant: the riffing is triumphant and cathartic. While almost every song has its calmer moments, the majority of this album seems to be about bringing together the wailing desperation of black metal and the soaring, heart-piercing guitar work of post rock into a brilliant, vibrant cohesion unlike anything I’ve heard before.

I would like to add, the song "These Nights Were Ours" is brutal for the heart, because it reminds us of that love that lost, and for some reason is no longer with us. The next song is "Coma", this makes me feel so angry but at the same time so powerless and vulnerable, is perfect to deal with any type of situation, especially if it is a very difficult situation or difficult to understand. And now the next song "Pulse / Surreal", the best album track, sincerely I don't have words to explain because for me this is the best song. I think that I would carry an entire review custom for that. I can only say that makes me feel so sad, because that reminds me a lot of things from the past, is perfect to relieve you and shout with all your strength with a view to the sky. Everything this song says is so true, damn and harsh reality. The riff is simply beautiful.

The melodies present here are enough to make one picture racing through a cloudscape, wind at one’s back. What impresses me the most is how naturally Neige brings together the two genres. He truly makes it seem like post rock and black metal were made for each other. Not only does he incorporate elements from both genres, he plays those genres simultaneously. So not only is there a post rock influence, he literally plays post rock that sounds like black metal. ".Neon" truly sounds like it should have been a collaboration between Neige and Explosions in the Sky.

What’s also impressive is that while this is still very much black metal with its mood of desperation, this album is, by far, some of the most hopeful sounding black metal I have ever heard. The lyrics are still somewhat dark (the name Lantlôs itself translates to “homeless”; Neige claims that he feels that he has no real home. That’s about as cold as it gets.). The vibrancy of the music creates an atmosphere so bright that I can’t help but visualize raw and utter beauty while listening to ".Neon." This album is appropriately named, as every bit of the music here is unreservedly luminous and radiant. Just when things start to get melancholy, the bright guitar work picks up again, and it never gets monotonous. Neige has poured his all into ".Neon" and it shows mightily.

Perfect Combination of Several Genres - 91%

IcemanJ256, January 10th, 2012

Since my recent discovery of Alcest, I have become somewhat of a Neige fanboy, researching every project he has been involved in. I actually wasn't too excited about buying this album after listening to a few songs, but I figured what the heck and bought it anyway. Glad I did, because it has turned out to be the best non-Alcest Neige album I have found so far and one of my top purchases of 2011. It is definitely much more on the black metal end of the spectrum than Alcest, but I'd say it fuses post-rock with black metal rather than shoegaze, and blends in quite a bit of jazzy and even progressive influences. Blastbeats and shrilling cries are prominent, and pierce through the surface of the warmer, bass-and-drum arrangements and melodic clean riffing just at the perfect times. By the way, the drumming on this album is top-notch.

I usually need at least a little variety and melody in my metal in order to be an interest to me. I think Lantlôs takes just the right amount of inspiration from black metal and spins it into their own creation. They create the perfect combination of several genres, without overdoing it and remaining true to themselves. The songs flow seamlessly from soft to heavy parts, and everything in between.

My favorite track has got to be "Coma," the main riff and its corresponding drumming is just magnificent. "These Nights Were Ours" is probably my second pick, starting with a calm, clean intro and burgeoning into a hellstorm you never want to subside.

It looks like Neige has quite a prolific career ahead of him, and I'm certainly looking forward to it.

Originally written for Amazon.com

Top Echelon Post-Black Metal - 95%

CrimsonFloyd, July 19th, 2011

Black metal/ post rock hybrids are popping up all around the world. Considering the variety within both genres (Tortoise is as different from Godspeed You! Black Emperor as Darkthrone is from Emperor) it is exciting to see the wide array of fusions that are emerging. Thus far, Lantlôs have reached the greatest heights in this young subgenre. Lantlôs fuse post rock/ metal in the vein of The Red Sparrowes and early Pelican with a heavy dose of jazz, a touch of shivering tremolo and sharp, screeched vocals. The elements fuse together with complete and utter ease. One never stops to say, “Oh, here is a black metal passage! Now here comes a post rock part”. The elements hold together as if they were never apart in the first place.

For “.Neon”, Lantlôs’s second release, the band is composed of Herbst, who plays all instruments, and Neige (of Alcest fame) contributing vocals. Herbst is obviously an extremely talented musician and probably has been professionally trained in jazz. His drumming is just gorgeous, grounding the music in a series of lavish jazz patterns, only breaking into pulsating blast beats during the more intense moments of the album. The guitars, bass and piano are all full and lush, giving body to the intense emotions of the songs. For the most part, the riffs are post rock/ metal but the main riffs of songs like “These Nights Were Ours” and “Neige de Mars” clearly have their origin in black metal.

Neige’s vocals really put the album over the top. His impassioned screeches are much less muted on “.Neon” than they were on the previous Alcest album, “Écailles de Lune”. Neige also contributes clean vocals to the song “Pulse/ Surreal” and I must say this is the best clean vocal performance of his career. His voice is robust and sullen, hitting each note to perfection and capturing the somber spirit of the lyrics.

Thematically, the album tackles issues of alienation and dehumanization in modern society. The music, vocals and lyrics come together to capture this modern dilemma and to a small degree, overcome it. Each song reveals the perspective of an observant human recognizing the degeneracy and absurdity of modern society. In recognizing this degeneracy and absurdity one transcends it, insofar as he or she no longer sees it as an inherent and irreducible dimension of who he or she is. However, this is not overly romantic music in which the human spirit tears off the chains of a crippled society and flies to great heights. “.Neon” expresses a much more controlled, restrained and realistic epiphanies.

The first song, “Minusmensch” (“Minus Man”) captures this style perfectly. The lyrics describe a drug infested, industrial city full of dispirited faces. The music shifts back and forth between reflective, jazzy passages and swelling moments of post-black metal. When the music finally breaks out into a sweeping post-rock crescendo, it is notably restrained. A single layer of guitar, bass and drums play out the peak—there are no layers of wailing guitars, blazing horns or wild fanfare. “Minusmensch” ends with a restrained, and thus a believably profound moment.

It is obvious from first listen that Lantlôs have created an exceptional fusion of post rock and black metal. However, I think the conceptual theme of “.Neon” is where the fusion reaches its highest point. Black metal and post-rock have both fought against the normative view of the human being. Post rock has embraced intense, neo-romantic emotions that run against the grain of the modern ideal of the controled and reserved human being. Black metal is attacks Judeo-Christian notion of the human being by embracing the darker, more primal dimensions of humanity. “.Neon” captures this shared thirst for a richer human experience and explores moments of overcoming the limited, modern notion of humanity through simultaneously dark and ecstatic waves of emotion. While many other bands have fused the sounds of black metal and post rock, Lantlôs has done so at both a musically and conceptually higher level.

(Originally written for http://listenwell-nocturnal.blogspot.com/)

Minimal and subliminal, soothing but sinking - 58%

autothrall, November 23rd, 2010

I'm sure my feelings on the most prominent of Neige's projects, Alcest, are already well documented somewhere out in the vast internet, but I've hardly got a hate on for anything else the guy has done. Amesoeurs wasn't all that shabby, and his earlier drumming for Peste Noire and Mortifera shouldn't be overlooked, but the man is hardly the savior of style and grace that many have lauded him to be, and I'm almost positive he'd agree. That said, the guy is enormously popular, so it's not a surprise the German Lantlôs, who run in similar circles of sound, would enlist the Frenchman to front their sophomore effort, the sequel to the well-received s/t album in 2008. His aggressive, tortured throat is perfect for the wall of sound, post-rock influences so fluent and important to the compositions here, and his cleans are actually a positive addition for this album's chilling, negative atmosphere.

Unfortunately, .Neon is one of the most perplexing albums I've come across lately in this entire field of post-black experimentation, because while it creates the skeleton of an amazing creature, the actual flesh upon the frame is wholly dull and numbing. I realize that is the intent of such a work, but I'm not referring to the emotional effect so much as I am to the notes and composition. Tranquil segues of drifting post-rock cycle into screaming patterns of melodic chords in "Pulse/Surreal", while some take it to the next level of Burzum and Weakling adoration, surges of streaming black metal vitriol still simmering with the weave of dreamy chords, as in "These Nights Were Ours". The resulting product is both Romantic and hostile, sincere and surreal, yet I just can't get over the fact that these guitars are not written in successful or memorable patterns, and thus I feel all too left out to dry.

Perhaps the one song where I felt a perfunctory momentum carrying me would be "Coma", but this is already pretty late on the album, and the following title track drags me straight back to the coma from which "Coma" ironically aroused me. The real shame is that, from a tempo standpoint, Lantlôs knows exactly when to shift to the fore and rear. The songs were crafted with some assurance that they would not drive the witness into cacophonous disinterest, but the blood and veins of the writing simply do not live up to the marrow upon which they are set into circulation. It's somewhat comparable to bands like Heretoir or Alcest, the latter being far more enamored of the tranquil side of the coin, but then, if you know me, then you know that's not really saying all that much. Lantlôs possess the structure for success, and obviously the personnel, but I feel that they need to dig in a little more in their writing process and really make those notes shine in patterns as hypnotic as they deserve.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Good, But Not Great. - 85%

Perplexed_Sjel, August 7th, 2010

Although Lantlôs have been around since 2005, their successful debut wasn’t released until 2008, a year which saw their reputation propel to a global level. Destined for future success, Herbst made a shrewd move in acquiring the services of the multi-talented Neige, most notably of Amesoeurs and Alcest. His reputation alone was bound to further instil Lantlôs as a household name in the metal industry as he has quite the following on the underground. There are those of the opinion that Neige is too involved in the scene these days, partaking in one too many projects and there are those who think everything he touches turns to gold. I’m going to sit on the fence on this issue as I happen to enjoy the majority of what Neige produces, to some extent at least.

However, his work for his primary project - that being Alcest - has seemingly suffered at the hands of his willingness to work with others. His latest exploits in ‘Écailles de lune’ saw a notable step-down in quality from the debut full-length, ‘Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde’. I seem to be in the minority when it comes to thinking that his exploits with other projects are affecting his main project. Of course, that isn’t to say a musician, especially one as talented as Neige, cannot divide his time between bands and produce several different albums under several different monikers but, it would seem to me at least, that Neige has been overexerting himself to an extent and because of this his work with Alcest has suffered.

Alcest, like Lantlôs, are signed to Prophecy Productions and have a five album deal, so there is plenty of time to set the record straight and recapture the glory of the debut, but given how quickly he seems to be willing to work, perhaps the quality of his services will see further depletions in the future? For example, according to Lantlôs themselves, the third album has already been written and recorded, a mere few months after the release of the much-loved sophomore. Given my experience with fast producing musicians, I’m somewhat sceptical in regards to the quality of the forthcoming record. Anticipation levels deteriorate as a result and anxiety replaces uncontrollable excitement which may affect my overall opinion of a piece of work when the finished product is unleashed upon the public.

‘.Neon’, the newest Lantlôs effort, definitely has that Neige touch to it and therefore will receive the stamp of approval by the majority of his followers regardless of content. As age creeps up on me, as does cynicism. Lantlôs have been completely transformed from the sound produced on the marvellous self-titled debut, despite the fact that Herbst still appears to have the majority of the creative control over the band. Neige has definitely left his mark upon this album as it has that mid-to-late Alcest era feel to it. Imagine the two Alcest full-lengths mixed in with a cleaner sounding ‘Le Secret’ EP and a touch of Amesoeurs thrown in for good measure and then you’ve got ‘.Neon’. The cleaner sections to the album, as shown on songs like the superb ‘Coma’, show a distinctive Amesoeurs feel to them. There is a possibility that influences from post-punk has been thrown into the mix alongside the post-rock influence of those shimmering soundscapes.

The increased presence of the bass is the only reason I think this as it was pretty much shunned from existence on the first album as the razor sharp guitars stole the limelight. ‘Minumensch’ is a good example of how the bass operates within this album. It provides a much jazzier feel to this album than it did the last, adding a certain amount of variety which perhaps wasn’t felt as much on the previous album. With Neige helping out on vocals, perhaps Herbst has looked to accommodate his particular styles for Alcest and Amesoeurs by incorporating jazzier, more progressive tinted music? It’s a possibility. Herbst has loosened the shackles which kept the self-titled debut on a leash, restricting it from unleashing its true creativity. The debut felt much dirtier, perhaps sharper in sound. Some of the atmospherics produce a lulling sound here as this album explores much softer soundscapes on a number of occasions. There are, of course, faster sections, with the bass and drums working particularly well on songs like ‘Neige de Mars’.

This sophomore is a largely clean affair and even when the distortion comes into play, the soundscapes don’t have that same dreamy haze to it that they did on the debut, as songs like ‘These Nights Were Ours’ indicate. There is a shoegazing feel to the guitars on songs like this, but the distortion isn’t as powerful as it was on the debut because there are other elements besides it to make the album feel more dynamic and less dependent on the distortion to carry the melodies. Seeing as Alcest is the sole project of Neige, a deterioration in quality, despite the fact that Lantlôs have so drastically changed, is not at all a possibility given that Lantlôs have Herbst to steady the ship as the main creative source. Herbst is the instrumentalist for this album and thankfully so.

I do appreciate Neige’s talents when it comes to song writing and craftsmanship, but Lantlôs is a Herbst project and I don’t want Neige to overtake it musically. The guitars for this album, although largely accommodating to a new and much more progressive sound, are still somewhat similar to how they functioned on the debut. ‘Neige de Mars’, for example, is a fast, cutthroat song, unlike most of the others, although they too do flick between slow, mid and fast tempos. This is shown delightfully well on ‘Pulse/Surreal’, a song which had been publicly released by the band some time before the actual release of the album. This song features Neige singing cleanly and a guitar backbone which is much alike the material on the debut, although slowed down. Neige’s vocals are fantastic throughout, particularly his cleanly sung vocals which adds to the sense of growing dynamism on the album, especially when his clean vocals are layered over the top of his powerful growls, as they are on ‘Pulse/Surreal’. It’s difficult to compare ‘.Neon’ to the self-titled debut because they’re so vastly different but I just feel that this sound is, as of yet, a little too underdeveloped. The next album will indicate whether or not these two can have a lasting relationship within the music industry. Solid, but requires work.

Holy. Shit. - 100%

Countenance, July 29th, 2010

I purchased Lantlôs's first album, their self titled debut, and I was impressed. It's some of the best music you will listen to. It's atmospheric. It's amazing. It's... beautiful. When I heard they were releasing a new album, I was overly excited. I counted down the days to this release. And when it came out, I ran out and bought it. And I must say, it is a better effort than before. This is near perfection, if not perfect.

The album starts of with Minumensch. The song itself is beautiful, starting off jazzy, and then progressing nicely. Next is These Nights Were Ours. It begins with an acoustic intro, then moves on to the more atmospheric black metal.

Next is Pulse/Surreal. In my opinion, it is the highlight of the album. It starts off extremely jazzy, with Neige using clean vocals. These vocals are beautiful, and fit into the part perfectly. It makes me wish the entire song was that way, but oh well. Maybe another time. The guitars and drums kick into full black-metal mode, but Neige's vocals stay amazing. Timed perfectly, pitched perfectly... I just can't stop listening to the song. Definitely the best song on the album.

Neige de Mars seems to begin differently than the others, fast. And it stays fast. This song brings variety, making the album a lot better. .neon, on the other hand, slowly builds up to a relatively slow beat. The guitar has an interesting riff, and the bass is interesting. About halfway through the song, you can hear a female voice talking in the background. I'm not sure what she's saying, but it fits in with the song. The drums use an interesting tom and bass beat, before progressing into an off-time pattern. These patterns continue throughout the song. The lack of Neige's vocals is interesting, but the song is still great.

Overall, the album is an atmospheric masterpiece. Herbst and Neige are composing geniuses. The song Pulse/Surreal has lyrics that are about a homeless person and their streets, their home. The name Lantlôs means "homeless". I like the connection between the two. If you haven't bought this album, buy it. Buy it now.

Passion in it's truest form. - 100%

burnoutfool, June 14th, 2010

Lantlôs is a relatively new band, even to the scene it hails from; which is relatively new itself. Post-black metal, blackened shoegaze or whatever you want to call it is a fairly new genre to the metal world. Unlike most post-black metal bands, however, Lantlôs usually uses faster drumbeats and higher oriented chords revolving around a jazz based sound. I first heard about them when they released their first album, and I fell in love with their sound. It was a fresh sound to the black metal scene, especailly since most bands these days just sing about the same shit over and over.

The album starts with a simple jazz oriented chordal opening. To be honest, I wasn't that impressed with the first song until the chorus, when the entire beat of the song changed up and they started using double bass. The song is good, but it just made it feel a little too slow with the simplistic jazz beat. The chordal structure was great, focusing on more then just 1/3 drops, power chords and reversed power chords, which is hard to do in the style of music they play.

Like most shoegaze, they used many effects, and an extreme amount of track overlay. I could probably hear 5 guitar tracks in the loud parts of the song, and each one had either a reverb or a gain blast on it making the album 20x more atmospheric then with just one guitar. I actually enjoyed it, even though I hate it when bands mask their sound with a bunch of delays and reverb.

The instrumental parts of the songs weren't too difficult. An novice could play most of the songs. The only real difficult parts were the switches, especially the 5/8 timing on some of the songs. I loved that they didn't stick to the traditional 4/4 or 3/4 timing in all their songs, so that also gave it a unique feel.

All in all, Lantlôs has surprised me again; in more ways than one. I can honestly say that of all the post-1990's albums, this is the best one I've ever heard. It ranks up there with Crack the Skye and Wormwood for me, which is hard for a band to do. I could even go as far as to put it as one of my top 10 albums of all time. It's the sweet melodic sounds that their jazz influenced shoegaze puts out. It just feels so right when you listen to this record. There is honestly no words to describe it.

Highlights: These Nights Were Ours, Pulse/Surreal, .Neon