It occurred to me a while back that a lot of the stuff that I converse with the most is one way or another—if only barely—connected to black metal. This was a revelation of sorts to me, as I’ve never considered myself a fan or particularly open to the genre. I have no interest for the politics or etiquette that the word pair, ‘black metal’, holds: I merely crave for music that connects with me, with my psyche; carries me, isolates me. Ultimately, makes me feel.

Lantlôs second full-length, .neon, does all of these things.

The surge of post-rock oriented black metal (or maybe it’s the other way around) is something that has really clicked with me. It creates the perfect canvas for emotionally and aesthetically vibrant expression, molding the folk-oriented ambient with a more contemporary, modern ambiance. It gives the depressive side of black metal contrast; optimistic, a more humane form.

I haven’t heard Lantlôs’ self-titled debut, but if the band’s new album is anything to go by, I’ve been missing out. The mental drift begins cautiously with the tantrum that is “Minusmensch”. The track shows the polar opposites of harsh and calm in perfect harmony. Whereas the opener has Agalloch being very present, the faster follow-up, “These Nights Were Ours”, leans more towards post-rock, with its clearly structured rhythm.

Alcest’s primus motor Neige is having one hell of a year with his partner in crime, Les Discret’s Fursy, as both are involved with .neon too. Neige lends his expressive voice and Fursy makes sure the aural has an equal visual. Both seem to feel like they’re right at home. While Neige’s and Fursy’s respective bands share some similarities with Lantlôs, .neon is definitely more urban compared to Écailles de lune and Septembre et ses dernières Pensées.

While the last three tracks—“Neige De Mars”, “Coma” and “Neon”—that follow “Pulse/Surreal” are anything but bland, the third track is definitely the peak of the album. At first it slows things down again, embracing the listener with the jazz of a golden summer night before shattering the stillness with frustrated despair and agony. The track is also a shining moment for Neige, as he does one of his best vocal performances here. When in peace, the track also has a very, Opeth-like vibe to it.

The seven minute instrumental “Neon” is a perfect, cathartic, closure to the album, especially after the slightly generic “Coma”. The track displays the effortless songwriting capabilities of Herbst, whose primary extension Lantlôs seems to be. Since digital promos don’t come with fully featured booklets, I can all but confirm that he’s behind every note, every instrument on the album.

While darkness lingers in the dimly lit room like cigarette smoke, ultimately .neon is a soothing experience: When you let go and dive in, it’s an album that you experience. It doesn’t consume you, it doesn’t haunt you. After the 40-minute session, your mind is clear—prepared—even if for a passing moment.

Black metal or not, Prophecy has yet another winner in their hands.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
June 7th, 2010


  1. Commented by: bast

    “Pulse/Surreal” has one of the best melodic black metal parts i´ve heard in a while, among other very good things this album has. Thank you.

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