Lantlôs - Lantlôs

6 de dez de 2009


- Lantlôs

It sounds rather clichéd, but as I was walking home at night recently, I passed by a cemetery, tombstones wrapped up in fog like a blanket, protecting the spirits of the dead from the evil of the living. This eerie backdrop was the setting for the debut of Lantlôs, a German black metal band, likened to bands such as Alcest (perhaps unjustly), whom are adored by numerous members of the listening public. This self-titled debut, which came out this year (2008), is a remarkably mature piece of work. I expected from this a highly primitive black metal act, reminiscent of other German black metal bands like Sterbend and Wigrid who, whilst being undeniably strong, are often adaptations of the work of Burzum. Lantlôs, on the other hand, are not an adaptation of any band I can think of. Whilst their music will undoubtedly establish some connections between themselves and other remarkable acts across the globe, their sound has a fresh appeal, leading to me believing that this self-titled effort is a tremendous and emotively charged outing. Records like this demand respect and should justifiably given it. The accessibility of this record is important to it’s marketable value. The distortion, which is present the majority of the time, isn’t too heavy and doesn’t overpower enough to limit the success of this record. Production value has a lot to do with this. The production allows the abiding aggression to ease it’s way into the picture, as opposed to forcibly inserting itself into it. The production is clean enough to give the bass room to breath, which is important to the instrumentation and the free flowing melancholic vibe that persists amid the classy construction of songs.

Whether we’re dealing with the majestic ‘Ëin’, or the superbly submissive effort, ‘Kalte Tage’, Lantlôs are a commanding, imperative and imperious act, establishing a diversely mature sound through solid musicianship and brilliant song structures which develop well the soundscapes that are ever present. Bands like this come along once in a lifetime. This isn’t to say that Lantlôs provides the listener with a truly unique offering, differing from the majority of it’s class, but it does provide a thoroughly enjoyable journey through the hidden realms subtlety. The commanding nature of this record is incredibly important to the outlook of the record, as a whole, in hindsight. Despite the fact that most people claim that every sound has been achieved within the genre, leading to a lacklustre influx of directionless and disappointing bands, Lantlôs provide, as stated, a fresh take on a sound that has become somewhat popular over recent years within the black metal scene. There are often debates as to whether or not Lantlôs incorporate various sub-genres of metal, and outside influences into their music. First, there are those who claim that Lantlôs are primarily a depressive black metal act, supported by the heavy down trodden distortion of both guitars, which produce highly depressive soundscapes and relentless rasping vocal work and second, there are those who claim there is a post-rock vibe coursing throughout the records veins, due to the slightly progressive nature of the music. I suppose, to an extent, one can understand the argument, particularly when taking songs like ‘Kalte Tage’ into consideration, with it’s formidable use of two guitars, interchanging and interlocking riffs which soar to abysmally bleak heights, as well as largely successful bass lines, which draw out the emotions of the listener like a hermit from it’s home.

Personally, I see Lantlôs as a specific black metal band, shown in songs like ‘þinaz Andawlitjam’, but meshed with slight experimentation, shown in the acoustic instrumental track, ‘Ëin’, which is simplistic and subtle in it‘s display of beauty and contrasted sorrow. Black metal is a genre that has slowly but surely developed hints of an avant-gardé nature. Elements like acoustics, a bass section in the foreground and sparse vocals which allow instrumentation to portray most of the music’s ideologies are finding their way into black metal. Lantlôs are one of these acts who’re trying and succeeding with ease to change the perceptions of black metal, as a global force. Much of the instrumentation is accessible, as stated. This allows often overshadowed elements, like bass, to be fully appreciated in the context of the record. The bass is used as an underlay to the work in which the guitars produce. It, effectively, produces a base for the guitars to build upon, much like a foundation for a house. All elements come together with inspired ease and swift simplicity. Although, as stated, this record doesn’t lean towards the most experimental side of the spectrum, there is enough experimentation, in all areas, to keep listeners interested throughout. Songs like ‘Kalte Tage’, with it’s melancholic lead guitars build a monument to the modernisation of black metal. Times are changing and Lantlôs are changing with it, not against it. For fans of the changing modern scene.

Original review at:

Black Metal/Post-rock, Germany
Full-length, ATMF Records
September 22nd, 2008

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