Lantlos - .neon

Lantlos is a post black metal band from Germany that features, most recognizably, vocalist Niege from Alcest and Amesouers. His partner in crime, Herbst, deals with everything else, from drums to guitar to the lyrics. On their first album, the band performed raw, extremely distorted black metal in the vein of depressive black metal with some progressive features. Now, Lantlos have stepped into an even more progressive vein with ‘.neon’. Interestingly enough, Niege’s other projects have also grown much more progressive within the last year, with Acest seeing a huge turn around in sound with its second album recently, and now Lantlos is doing (almost) the same thing. There’s no denying that Niege is one of the core masterminds of the band and that his influence from other projects is showing through even though Herbst seems to do most of the work.

While Lantlos’ last album, ‘S/T’ was much more raw and distorted, ‘.neon’ cuts back on the fuzz a little bit to offer a much more progressive black metal album to shine through. Most notable is how the drums take on a more percussive beat. While there’s plenty of edgy, black metal riffs and those high pitched shrieks, there is also a lot of quiet moments too where the band can really show off their drumming skills and even a few melodic notes that aren’t as raw or electronically distorted. ‘Minusmensch’ offers some of Herbst’s extreme black metal guitar work mixed with Niege’s vocals while keeping the drums a very slow, steady pound. Every once in a while though the buzzing guitars will let up and there will be some very soft string pickings while the drums show off some great Pink Floyd influenced flavour along with Niege‘s distorted clean vocals. And suddenly, just like that, the black metal will take back over. One should expect that, as this is mostly a black metal album. Many tracks such as ‘Niege De Mars’ and ‘Coma’ are just flurries of blast beats and raw, agonized screams that mirror much of Lantlos’ first album. It’s raw, aggressive power, but sadly lacks the progressive beauty of what the first track seemed to try to accomplish.

However, there are still a few prog metal gems in the mix. ‘These Nights Were Ours’ offers some great soft guitar work on the introduction that sounds a lot like something Opeth would do before launching into the heavier styles, but there’s a certain way the guitars create a synth-like aura around the drums and rapid riffs. It is still heavy black metal, but offers a subtle beauty. ‘Pulse/Surreal’ is a very jazz influenced track and offers a rare moment of Niege’s clean vocals without any sort of electronic distortion before again becoming full blown black metal. His clean vocals certainly are more appreciable than his harsh ones, but the harsh ones carry plenty of raw emotion much like ex-Emperor vocalist Ihsahn. The music on ‘Pulse/Surreal’ is just as raw and extreme as the other tracks but sounds a bit more distorted and depressing than the other songs, and even offers a wailing section where the soft, progressive strings can be heard again.

While Neon is only six tracks, many of them clock over five minutes. Perhaps it is a good thing that Niege decided to keep Lantlos an extreme black metal project mixed with some progressive elements still, instead of letting the progressive elements dominate the music like his other projects have lately. Altogether the music is still crafted beautifully and while this isn’t Satanic black metal, it is still wonderful black metal anyway with each buzzing note of the guitars. The drums are great when they aren’t the usual nonstop jackhammer, and the mixed vocals are good to hear, even if one outweighs the other. Certainly for fans of bands like any of Niege’s side projects, Amesouers or Alcest, or progressive black metal bands such as Ihsahn’s solo work or older Agalloch or Xasthur (RIP).

  1. Minusmensch
  2. These Nights Were Ours
  3. Pulse/Surreal
  4. Niege De Mars
  5. Coma
  6. Neon

Prophecy Productions
Reviewer: Colin McNamara
Oct 18, 2010

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