Review Summary: Lantlôs enter the new decade unbound in the search of uncharted metal territory
Ironically, the need for change might be the only constant thing through life. With new experiences, desires and plans, people often become (almost) unrecognizable when they look back at their former selves. In the Post Black Metal/Blackgaze scene, this also happened, to a certain extent, with a large portion of the bands that helped define the genre. Alcest completely shed their Metal tendencies on “Shelter”, only to return more focused on the atmospheric/shoegaze side of the music spectrum on later releases. Wolves in The Throne Room threw away vocals, guitars and drums on “Celestite”. Deafheaven teased indie and post-hardcore tendencies with the singles of “Infinite Granite” (still not released at the time when Wildhund came out).
German Post /Black Metal act Lantlôs are no stranger to such changes. Even if “Écailles de Lune” and “Sunbather” are regarded as genre benchmarks, Lantlôs album run through the 2010’s can be seen as the most influential and forward thinking out of all their contemporaries, especially with “Neon” and “Agape”, just like Soundgarden pushing the grunge envelope with “Superunknown”, back in 94. Adding this with a subtle urge to break free from genre tags (with the LowCityRain side project), “Melting Sun” came out as no surprise in 2014. The Black Metal roots were discarded, expanding the dreamy/pretty parts teased in “Agape”. The tremolo riffs gave in to a heavy post-rock with alternative touches from the likes of Deftones, with colossal compositions full of lush instrumentation and minimal lyrics from mastermind Markus Siegenhort’s deep voice.
With a 7 year gap between “Melting Sun” and “Wildhund”, Siegenhort had plenty of time to hone his already great compositional skills, as well as his newfound ones. By far the most noticeable improvements are Markus’s vocals and production chops. Listeners will notice it right away with the opener “Lake Fantasy”, which takes the formula of “Melting Sun” and shrinks it to a 4min riff oriented format, swapping the long soundscapes sections for catchy vocals with harmonization, glitch synthesizers keys and stellar drum passages provided by Felix Wylezik, who shines on the whole album with performances like “Magnolia”. The band follows up expanding those new strengths on tracks like “Coccon Tree House” and “Vertigo”, the later which could easily land on a Deftones Record. The shorter songs on the album allow the band to explore a great variety of sounds that keep the album fresh from start to finish.
Wildhund also takes the sound of previous Lantlôs releases and clash them against their new compositional approach. Album highlight “Planetarium” starts with a gentle clean guitar tone filled with electronic noises similar to “Eribo – I collect The Stars” or “Bloody Lips & Paper Skin”, only to pull a wall of sound like what listeners heard on “Azure Chimes”, alternating between softer and heavy parts packed with dreamy guitars and harmonized vocals. This song is the clearest example of the evolution the band underwent in order to arrive at “Wildhund” with a full control of their unorthodoxy tendencies for Metal.
The lyrical content of the band also sees great expansions alongside Siegenhort’s new use of his vocals. If in “Melting Sun” Markus contemplated a new color spectrum of feelings and sensations yet unknown to him, on “wildhund” he takes a full dive embracing everything that may come his way to unbound cathartic results , like depicted on “Magnolia” (“To feel it all at once”). Gone are the feeling of returning towards the within like “Intrauterin”. Now, all the surroundings are being pursued to keep him at touch with others and himself, like the lyrics sang on “home” (“I’m trying to protect what used to make me feel”). Markus complements the lyrics with a great use of his voice. Even without a great vocal range, the vocal melodies are amazingly crafted through the use of harmonies, great passion and a higher emphasis on his mid-range (“Dog in The Wild”). The vocal variety even welcomes occasional harsh vocals like the ones on “The Bubble” and “Amber”.
With “Wildhund”, Lantlôs takes his first step into the new decade with a perfectly crafted, unbound & forward thinking-sound. Like the previous decade, Markus continues to be a explorer into uncharted metal territories, discovering a new affinity to chorus, catchy orientated songs filled with all his previous musical endeavors, even outside Lantlôs. Even during pandemic times, the future looks new and exciting to Lantlôs.