Lantlôs – Neon (Prophecy Productions/Lupus Lounge)

Tuesday, 19th March 2013
Rating: 8.5/10

Can someone come up with a name for Neige (Alcest) and his French art-metal comrades? Blistering is at a loss, primarily because we’re overtaken once again by a project involving the Alcest mainman and a similarly-influenced (this time German) metal musician. Alcest and sister band Les Discrets have already knocked two albums out of the park this year with Écailles de Lune and Septembre et ses dernières Pensées, and Neon, the third offering from Lantlôs does the same. They’re 3-for-3 this year.

In Lantlôs, Neige teams up with multi-instrumentalist Herbst for a foray into atmospheric, post-black metal. This isn’t too far removed from Amesoeurs’ (Neige’s now defunct art black metal project) more BM-tinged moments, save for the fact that a lot of what is presented here sounds like Neige could have written it for Alcest and the aforementioned act. The chord structures and movements are total Neige…and it’s simply breathtaking.

Of the six songs on Neon, the duo keeps matters downtrodden and introspective, with Neige letting his throat-crippling screams paint the walls on “Minusmench” and “These Nights Were Ours.” A cavalcade of melodic, fuzzy guitar riffs spiral into oblivion during “PulseSurreal,” which sees Neige bust out his vary capable clean vocals, only to spin back into full shriek mode.

The album is highlighted by the 1-2 punch of “Neige de Mars,” and “Coma,” the latter of which could very well be the song of the year. The riff at the 2:16 mark of “Coma” does the trick, emerging as one of those riffs that shall forever lay embedded in one’s cranium. Plus, the song is perfect…excuse our incessant ramblings.

One of the year’s most defining black metal albums (granted this is not “troo” BM), Neon is stocked with an array of moments to die for, with an atmosphere and overall vibe that is unparallel at the moment. It’s not like everything Neige touches turns to gold (Herbst deserves the bulk of the credit), but man, what a hot streak he’s on…

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