Écailles de Lune

Alcest – Shelter Review

Alcest – Shelter Review

Alcest’s trek to Shelter has been a long and gorgeous journey. Over the years, Neige has taken his most-loved project from black metal soil and sprouted upward, spinning his branches and leaves into beautiful, soothing soundscapes. His ambitions have long been combated by black metallers that thrive on ugliness and rebellion; Alcest’s inherent prettiness seemed at odds with the genre’s core ethos. Yet it was hard to argue with the results.” Does the beautification of black metal continue on Shelter? How much lush gorgeousness can the blackness take before turning that frown upside down? Valid questions all.

Alcest – Les Voyages De L’Âme Review

Alcest – Les Voyages De L’Âme Review

Every once in a while the scene gets a hair up its ass and decides that something that is explicitly not metal is totally OK to love. So, in the 90s, when I was first cutting my teeth on the extreme metal scene, Anathema and Katatonia were both giving up their extreme pasts and putting out records that were much more akin to sort of depressing alt rock than anything they’d previously been doing. Then there’s black metal guys’ love of swirly keyboard soundscapes (such that it ends up on Metal Archives, despite them actually banning other bands that I, and most others, would consider metal. Well, since the release of Amesoeurs really broke this sound in 2009, this sort of post-black metal shoegaze stuff has becomes the scene’s favorite non-metal thing. And, really, the description of it by one reviewer I read really sums it up: “Black metal that pisses off the indie kids and indie rock that pisses off the black metal kids. Brilliant.”

Alcest – Écailles de Lune Review

Alcest are a band hyped beyond comprehension, but not without merit or reason. In their debut, Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde, there is something beautifully otherworldly about the sound Alcest creates; A mysterious aura of pure ecstasy – a melancholic veil. I call it a veil because the beautiful melodies and personality of Alcest‘s music are just a disguise, hiding a narcissism and lack of ingenuity. The “oo’s” and “aa’s” which riddle Alcest‘s music may be very pleasant, but this angry metal guy finds himself screaming for Neige, the project’s motor and vocalist, to bloody sing something, rather than simply using his voice to portray nothing. It’s almost frustrating to me that I’m totally in love with this band.

Since the first Alcest record was released in 2007, Neige has gone into other projects, such as the ever-popular Amesoeurs. This has had the effect of helping to mature Neige’s songwriting and Écailles de Lune certainly showcases a certain maturity. It’s beautifully multi-layered, practically spewing thought-provoking and emotion-evoking power.