Lantlôs – ‘.neon’, Lupus Lounge/Prophecy Productions; 2010

Marking the second release from black metal/post-rock Lantlôs, a side-project currently between Herbst and Alcest mastermind Neige; ‘.neon‘ seems to come across as an attempt to gradually wean themselves away from the harsh intensity of the former genre whilst maintaining that established sense of distance and nostalgic loss.

For one, the high-pitched guitars and higher distortion are gone – replaced with a more muted counterpart to blast out hazier notes. Secondly, and more tellingly; so is the nightmarish atmosphere from the black metal elements on their previous record, making way for a different sense of negativity: the unreal, stagnant dreariness of indie rock and to a lesser degree the pained longing of blues. Not a surprise considering the new vocalist’s credentials, and all the same it feels like a logical progression from nightmare into never-waking reality.

However, something that will come as a definite surprise to those most familiar with Lantlôs‘ earlier fare is that aside from ‘Neige De Mars‘ and a recording of brief German on ‘Neon‘ (a likely throwback to the previous album and perhaps the only one at that); the lyrics are in English. On the one hand, it could be to make the bleak worldview envisioned by Herbst and Neige more accessible to non-Continental speaking audiences which it does. Some may wish to ask though, whether performing in a presumedly unfamiliar language may affect the duo’s ability to express themselves in the most natural way possible; yet from listening to Neige’s anguished delivery on ‘These Nights Were Ours‘ or ‘Pulse/Surreal‘ it may be that this isn’t the case.

Pain and heartache have no language barriers, and neither does displacement.

7/10

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