Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Lantlos caught my attention by being one of the more obscure projects associated with Neige (Alcest, Mortifera, etc) and it took me a long time to obtain a copy of the debut album. Imagine my surprise to discover that Neige is not present on this record; he is slated to appear on the band's sophomore effort "neon" due out later this year on Prophecy.
The fact that i didn't know this only points to the mystery surrounding Lantlos. A very quiet, understated band by black metal standards without succumbing to the isolationist auras summoned by more depressive minded projects, Lantlos exists in a realm of aristocratic elegance, creating a very refined and and majestic form of post-black metal that has more in common with Slint and Woburn House than Burzum. That Neige would be attracted to such a project is easily imagined; this is the sound he had been questing for with Amesouers and feel short of.
With those points of reference you should easily be able to approximate Lantlos' sound. A moderately angular guitar presence, long extended compositions and a vague focus on dreamy, technical melancholy. It's extremely well done, to be sure, but somewhat unengaging overall. To me it lacks any sort of visceral being and there is nothing up-front or immediate about the work as a whole. There is an urban, distanced gloom omnipresent but nothing near as suffocating as Shining or Lyrinx, nor is there the rain and stormcloud-bathed beauty of Alcest despite the heavy use of ethereal dream-pop mutated guitars and aching melodies. Perhaps i'm missing the point and trying to make Lantlos into what i want it to be rather than what it is, although it's equally likely that this record just misses the mark of what it actually wants to be.
It's not unenjoyable. If you were looking for some blackened post rock anguish then this would certainly fit the bill, and there are many moments throughout the record's five tracks where a sort of bludgeoning hypnotism is achieved by way of relentless instrumental passages and a near-endless parade of triggered double bass work. It's just that when i compare it to, say, Amesouers' debut EP (which Lantlos seems to take almost all of its aesthetic from directly), i find it falling short of the desired levels of unease, malaise and claustrophobia that i expect from music like this, the sort of feelings that Neige was able to call up so masterfully. Lantlos is deconstructed black metal trussed up with excellent musicianship and a far-reaching idealism; the end result of those interests is a slightly above average slab of gloom metal. I'm very curious to see how Neige's involvement will change the band; at the very least we can expect the vocals to be in French rather than German. Whether Neige will have an overarching compositional presence is another matter entirely, and regardless of this record's shortcomings i know i'll be ordering "neon" as soon as it's released.

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