Lantlôs is a band built upon the idea of homelessness, the feeling of desolation; Lantlôs itself being an old middle-high German word meaning “without a home.” With their sophomore recording, debut for Prophecy Productions, the band has created a collage of emotions created in part by the way the musical compositions work with the lyrics of each song. The concept behind .neon deals with the relation between reality and the inner core, along with the larger concept of feeling out of place. This record has hit home with me ever since it came out. I get a strange feeling when I listen because I can relate to so many aspects of the music and lyrics. I feel .neon came out at a time in my life where I can understand very closely what Herbst was feeling while he was writing the album.
.neon opens with a track titled “Minusmensch.” It hits with a bang, imploring an extended chord voicing that is ominous and full sounding. After the chord in the guitars and bass sustains, the drums pick up a very jazzy swing beat and soon clean guitars come in. This quiet section soon massively builds up to the first verse where Neige’s tortured hauls enter for the first time. Many might not realize that the second vocal entrance is actually Herbst, not Neige, which is very interesting to hear that he himself has very powerful growled vocals. “In the flush of a thousand cold lights, through this night of neon, that I'll never belong to.”
Neige’s voice has added a perfect touch to Lantlôs’ music. If you are familiar with the debut self titled release, you will feel an immediate difference in atmosphere with the change of vocals. I feel like I can relate to his voice and the way he sings Herbst’s lyrics in a much more personal way. It is also the first time we hear Lantlôs lyrics in English and not German. I personally love lyrics in German, but English is the most ‘common’ language for lyrics and Herbst has stated that he wrote the lyrics in English because it was what fit the band at the time being.
“These Nights were Ours” begins with a beautiful clean guitar chord arpeggiation and soon explodes with all possible blast-beat fury. I get many personal feelings while listening to this track because of its simple power and lyrics. Anyone who has lost something, or has felt abandoned, can see something for himself or herself in this track. “Loving hands, caring words, our footsteps in the snow, faded.”
“Pulse/Surreal” is the end of the first side on the vinyl and is the peak of .neon. Beginning with a drum fill, the song puts a trance on the listener. Clean guitars and swing-feel drums and bass are soon met with Neige’s clean singing. Hearing Neige sing in English is very special, and for sure, is one of the stand out moments on .neon. The shimmering chords and floating vocals are soon turned into a cascade of atmosphere when distortion begins, becomes a mosaic of senses so to speak. A new melody is used before harsh vocals hit you in the chest. The song continues mid-tempo then after a very post-rock quiet part, turns full force black metal. The screams are some of my favorite vocals ever recorded; they evoke so many personal feelings and emotions. After a exhausting assault, the song soon drops out and again, a clean guitar riff plays under a trem-picked guitar melody while strange sounds pan back and fourth giving a very uneasy feeling. At this point of my life, this song captures all the small feelings, hardships, and pleasures. I can’t say enough positive words about this track. “Matter is running through my fingers, time is laughing at me, this is the world, Pulse/Surreal.”
“Neige De Mars” opens with a very memorable guitar riff in major tonality. It has a very nostalgic feeling and gets stuck in my head over and over again. The track’s feeling is different than the previous, which is a positive aspect for the over-all shape of the album. The fact that Herbst can write lyrics in German, English, and now French is an astounding task, let alone that his lyrics are not cookie-cutter metal lyrics, rather, deep words that express many emotions. “Un ciel linide, sans lequel je déambule.”
“Coma” cuts right to the point and delivers a hard-edged assault. There are post-rock elements as well that provide the album’s genre tag as Post-Black Metal respectably. I feel “Coma” deals with ideas surrounding drugs, and the numb feeling you perceive under the influence. “Conscious coma, life is grey visions, barely perceptible.”
“Neon” is a perfect closer for the album in my opinion. I love the fact that Herbst closed .neon with an instrumental. With the beauty of the lyrics of the previous songs, “Neon” captures the atmosphere and feeling of the entire album perfectly with only melodies and chords. It begins with a quiet guitar vamp, then hits with a doomed out post rock melody, reminiscent of Herbst’s other project, Liam. The melody keeps growing, larger and larger, layer upon layer, until a new section is introduced. A delayed trem-picked guitar melody sores over the rhythm until it is cut off by a spoken female voice. She is speaking German, which I love hearing again in Lantlôs, unfortunately, her message is not a happy one. She says how she feels empty inside and hopes that she will meet someone who can take her out of her misery. She basically feels lost. It is a perfect spoken section that makes you think about yourself and how the whole album has affected your perception. “Neon” ends with a fade out of gorgeous guitar melodies and a very strong performance by Herbst on drums.
.neon is an album that has gotten under my skin and has influenced me in more ways than most records. It has a certain power over the listener because of the immense amount of emotion in each aspect, guitars, bass, drums, piano, and vocals. I highly recommend this record to anyone looking for music with deep emotion, but with the grit and power of the heaviest metal. Listening to this while walking at night is pure ecstasy.
Purchase this masterpiece from Prophecy Productions