REVIEW: Lanthanein ‘Nocturnálgica’ (EP)


LANTHANEIN
‘Nocturnálgica’
Self-released 2015
7/10

As a sumptuous taster before the Argentine doom metal maestros unveil their debut album, this four-track EP is more than enough to whet your appetite for all things Gothic.

Lanthanein’s wildly dark and dramatic music can be as bewildering as it is beautiful. From the very first moments of opening song ‘Lágrimas De Luna’ – featuring dream-like pianos, church bells, choral backing and thundering guitars – you know that this is going to be as understated as a nuclear war.

The band have a tendency to over-complicate their songs, squeezing a scandalous number of ideas, riffs and changes into every available space. And while this demonstration of relentless creativity is admirable, it does mean that the music is rarely able to settle and flow. When the songs do calm down a little, they can be stunningly effective: for example, the last minute of the title track shows the sheer power of a beautiful voice in combination with straightforward guitars.

Marili Portorrico’s bold, emotional soprano vocals are prominent in the mix and central to the band’s extravagant sound. It could be said that the growled male vocals are underused, but when they do appear they add a gruesome undercurrent and heavy edge.

The orchestration used throughout this EP is ambitious, ornate and textured, although sometimes it jumps from one section to the next as if desperate to get to the end of the song and start the next one. The choral arrangements that the band have created are often stunning, such as on the final track ‘Lacrimosa Et Gementum’. This is a glorious, instantly-loveable song that sounds like Carl Orff on steroids.

‘Nocturnálgica’ showcases Lanthanein’s ability to create numerous spectacular, magic moments of Gothic drama. If they can squeeze this many ideas into an EP, just imagine how action-packed their album is going to be.

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