Lantlôs – Melting Sun – 9.45/10
– The year started off with some great albums. Alcest, Periphery, Cynic, and The Kindred had already impressed me, and I was still anxiously awaiting that Anathema album. But this was a big surprise! In May, Lantlôs released their 4th album, and first album without Neige since their debut. I was wondering how this band would be without Neige, since he was the reason I got into them. The first album was almost pure black metal, except for some shoegaze moments. It seemed that Neige had brought the beautiful moments with him. The clean vocals. The great guitar tones. The emotional drumming. The high sense of melody. Agape and .Neon are classics in mind because of those. So what was Melting Sun going to sound like? A return to the straight up black metal? The answer is surprisingly the most beautiful album Lantlôs has released so far. The feeling of the album is beautifully captured in the album cover, which is one of my favorites of the year. As opposed to the dark colors on previous Lantlôs albums, this album cover is full of bright colors that give a sense of hope rather than despair. As for the music, the album consists of one 40 minute song that is broken up into 6 tracks. Beautiful clean vocals and chord progressions, and a overall more uplifting sound. This album is not black metal by any means necessary. No shrieks to be found. Just clean vocals and harmonies surrounded by droning guitar tones. It all starts one of my favorite tracks of the year, the 7 minute long “Melting Sun I: Azure Chimes”. The melodies are catchy and memorable, and give a great feeling that bands like Alcest are able to create. The album even has moments of progressive metal. More so than just adding dynamics of loud to soft and vise versa, this album has long moments of instrumental sections in the almost 10 minute long “Melting Sun II: Cherry Quartz” and the 8 minute long “Melting Sun III: Aquamarine Towers”, bathing the listener in an almost beautiful light before it plays around with rhythms in the 6 minute long “Melting Sun IV: Jade Fields”. The album takes a short 2 minute break with the ambient “Melting Sun V: Oneironaut” so that the listener can catch their breath before finally being carried away with the album’s almost 7 minute long closer “Melting Sun VI: Golden Mind”. It is a wonderful journey that I found myself being drawn to listen to over and over, and I was happy to do so each and every time.