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Lantlôs - ".Neon" (CD)

Lantlôs - ".Neon" CD cover image

".Neon" track listing:

1. Minusmensch (7:49)
2. These Nights Were Ours (4:41)
3. Pulse / Surreal (8:21)
4. Neige de Mars (5:01)
5. Coma (6:07)
6. Neon (7:42)

Reviewed by on July 13, 2010

"Neige has poured his all into '.Neon' and it shows mightily. "

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.

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.

Highs: Magnificent and soaring, ".Neon" is raw emotion fused with black metal and post rock.

Lows: Some blast beats out of place.

Bottom line: Showcasing a more emotional and cathartic side of the Alcest frontman, this album is stunning.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)