Lantlôs - _Agape_
(Prophecy Productions, 2011)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8.5 out of 10)
I was well impressed by Lantlôs' debut _Neon_ about a year and a half ago. Its musical approach, coupled with the presence of Neige from the rather fashionable Amesoeurs and Alcest, made it almost inevitable that the album would be lumped together with the surging post-rock and shoegaze drenched branches of black metal. Bearing that in mind, _Agape_ starts on a rather more aggressive and dissonant note than one might have expected, perhaps as a way to distance their work from such easy pigeonholing right from the start. Having said that, this is not a paradigm shift for Lantlôs -- before ten minute opener "Intrauterin" ends, we're being treated to the kind of atmospheric break one might expect in this subgenre, but in this case it ends with a satisfyingly harsh impact and some excellent vocals from beyond some distant veil of despair.

_Agape_ does not pretend to be an overly complicated post-black or incredibly dramatic 'suicidal' black metal album. Lantlôs discerningly pick and choose from both subgenres and add much of their own, seamlessly alternating mood and pace -- the succession of fast / slow / atmospheric sections never seems cobbled together, and the songwriting generally stays solid. "You Feel Like Memories" does stretch it a little bit, but despite the occasional shortcoming, I have seldom found an album that manages to simultaneously remain a good listen while exploring elements from two easily exhausting subgenres.

At just about 35 minutes, _Agape_ does not offer a lot to sink your teeth into; but what it tries to do in that time, it usually accomplishes very well. Despite its brevity, _Agape_ stands out as one of the best releases of its kind in 2010 -- though not necessarily the pinnacle of what Lantlôs might eventually achieve. If this project stays together, then Lantlôs will certainly remain a band to watch in the future.

(article published 4/3/2012)

5/30/2014 P Azevedo 7.5 Lantlôs - Melting Sun
10/10/2010 P Azevedo 8 Lantlôs - Neon
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