Lantlôs - .neon
As good as Alcest's latest album was, it is not the best album that Neige helped to create in 2010 - no, that honor goes to this release, .neon from Lantlôs. Not unexpectedly, Lantlôs is a very similar project - combining post-rock and black metal into a foreign, yet somehow friendly and uplifting, soundscape. The sound meanders and shifts through lighter and heavier phases - though even the heaviest sections where black metal roots surface in harsh screams and double bass rhythms are still made bright by the chord selection and layered production that keeps things feeling lush and full. The lighter sections are highlighted by jazz-inspired rhythms that work amazingly well in smoothing out the entire listening experience.
To be honest, the best description of the music here is post-rock with black metal and jazz elements - because, while we have jazzy interludes teamed with blast beats and Neige's harsh wailings, the song structures and overall approach to music are distinctly post-rock. This is an album that I will definitely label as a grower - the beauty in this marriage of sun and shadow, joy and melancholy may not be readily apparent. It may take a few listens (and certainly the right mood) for the emotional impact of this release to shine through; but believe me, it is well worth the wait. An excellent release that has me excited to listen to Neige's work for years to come.
Best Track: Pulse/Surreal