Prophecy Productions

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.

Falkenbach – Asa Review

Falkenbach – Asa Review

“There’s music meant for a summer drive with the top down (old Van Halen), hitting the weights hard (Slayer, Pantera) and a night of hard-drinking in sketchy beer mills (Fireball Ministry, Orange Goblin). Likewise, the new slice of folksy Viking metal from Falkenbach proves perfect for chopping wood in the brisk Fall air. While I recognize “wood chopping” or “lumberjack” metal is an under-served medium, I feel confident saying this is the finest chopper album I’ve heard all year.” Grab thine axe as Steel Druhm weaves his tales of Viking rage and folksy tomfoolery.

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.”

Helrunar – Sol Review

Helrunar – Sol Review

Well, we’re certainly off to a great start for black metal in this shiny new year. First we get a righteously good release from Belphegor and now the unheralded German unit Helrunar erupts from relative obscurity with a double album of masterfully grim, bleak blackness. Yep, you read that right, a DOUBLE ALBUM of massive black metal clocking in at ninety minutes! So, you might be asking, who do they think they are? How dare they release a double album? Well, the short answer is, they’re Helrunar and a whole lot more people are going to know them REAL soon because Sol is going to stamp them firmly on the black metal map.

Náttsól – Stemning Review

Náttsól – Stemning Review

Norwegian metal is famous for two things in modern times: the rise of modern black metal, and more recently, Norway’s fall into disrepute within the metal scene. Since the latter occurred, we have often been hailed with the new band that is somehow breathing new life into the old scene or still making black metal in the old style,and the next band to be hailed in that line is Náttsól, whose debut album Stemning hits European shores in June and the American shores in July. Náttsól we are told, breathe a new and icy life into the dead Norwegian scene that has been a disappointment to us all since the early 2000s. Surely, they’ll be the ones!

Les Discrets – Septembre et ses dernières Pensées Review

Les Discrets – Septembre et ses dernières Pensées Review

It would appear that now defunct, scene-polarising French black metal troupe Amesoeurs have another project place under their name, this time in the form of bassist Fursey Treyssier’s Les Discrets; a post rock-meets-shoegaze project that still has that very noticeable smell of metal that Amesoeurs and it’s sibling project Alcest gave rise to.

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.