It’s always a hard discussed theme, when a band has line-up changes, especially if they – even if the new members have nothing to do with this – change their style according to their new output. Lantlôs impressed the scene with their selftitled debut and the change to the calmer .neon did cause both: Admiration and dismissal. The promotional text to Agape promises, that it will surpass the post-black metal and make it obsolete, but isn’t that to farfetched? Can the band really surpass a genre, that they shaped in such a short time?
It’s clear, that Lantlôs did release one of the most celebrated records of post-black metal with their second output .neon. One of the reasons for this enormous success could be a certain uniformity with other projects of Neige, as his voice alone is a quite remarkable thing and especially in terms of post-black metal it’s remarkable enough to shape whole projects. Agape goes some steps further which correlates with the statements of the promotional text – but later more. The record offers round about 35 minutes playing time – and therefore lacks 4 minutes compared to their first two outputs – distributed on five songs.
If you want to review this record, you’ll surely have to describe the opener Intrauterin in some way, as it’s clearly the first rejection of post-black metal. The song starts really slow, dark and sluggish and you could think, that Lantlôs changed their style to doom metal which also is underlined by the hoarse screams of Neige. After some time in which the passages were repeated multiple times there is a change to dreamy but unsettling melodies and some light jazz-drumming, which soon gets accompanied by the typical clear vocals of Neige. Right before the end there is another change, and everything gets harsher again, without being as doomy as the intro was. So, why should anybody describe this song? Because nearly every song on this record follows this scheme, or at least a reversed version of this theme.
This means, that there are a lot of doomy passages which are interplaying with those light, jazz passages and post-(black)-metal. In addition, every song has those really calm passages with similiar dreamy but unsettling melodies as those of the intro, Intrauterin. Although this indicates the developement the band made, and although the jazz influences are really nice, it’s also providing long-drawn structures, which are on the edge to become boring as there are so little accents. The harsher passages are – at least for Neige - unexpectedly hard which isolates Lantlôs from his other projects. Besides this structural similiarities, there are some akin passages as well in terms of style. On the one hand it’s good for the composition, as everything seems to be completely rounded but on the other hand it’s drawing you into this listening flow, and nothing really remains in your head.
This flow isn’t limited to the record as this, it’s also active in each song and so the record seems to lack high-lights and a real arc of suspense. This is fortified through the fact, that the songs are so longdrawn and after you have waited for several minutes for anything to happen there is no real reward. The only song which bursts out of the structural scheme is You Feel Like Memories, as it’s the instrumental of the record. It features calm melodies and a huge jazzy influence, and although it isn’t doomy at all it’s long-drawn as well and therefore is borderlining to become boring. Besides all of these compositorial flaws you have to admit, that the orchestration is solid and especially the vocals of Neige are convincing here, as he is a lot harsher compared to Alcest or Old Silver Key.
Agape turns itself away from the post-black metal – although there are some influences noticeable – and changed its style to jazzy post-metal with doom influences. It’s still unsure, if this record brings any improvement to the genre to make post-black-metal obsolete, but I hardly doubt that. Nevertheless, it’s the consequent developement of the style which had begun to take shape on .neon. Agape does surpass the post-black metal locally, as it has a clearly new style – which heads by the way in quite a similiar direction as Neige’s other projects – but it has to be proven that this style is good enough to survive. If you loved the “black” in post-black metal just don’t buy, if you don’t mind risk an ear.
Date of release: 28.10.2011
|3.||Bloody Lips and Paper Skin||04:47|
|4.||You Feel Like Memories||04:31|
|5.||Eribo – I Collect the Stars||08:20|
|Total Playing Time:||35:23|