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Alcest - Écailles de lune CD (album) cover

ÉCAILLES DE LUNE

Alcest

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.04 | 239 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Polymorphia
4 stars (As seen on MetalMusicArchives) 4.5 out of 5.

Black metal often causes listeners to feel as if they are being intruded upon, as if they were being constantly punched in the gut from an uncomfortably close range. Some listeners find thrill in this, while others are deterred. In contrast, what can be called metal in Alcest's catalogue can be said to have a certain distance to it. This album isn't there to brutally force your submission, however thrilling that may be. From dreamy, moonlit guitars and sirenian crooning to hazy distorted guitars and reverb-soaked screams, Ecailles De Lune calls you from far away, like another world.

And a far off realm is exactly what the band aims to communicate. Alcest was inspired by experiences had by frontman/guitarist Stephane "Neige" Paut of what he referred to as "Fairy Land." "I think reality is always subjective," Neige explained in an interview with Metalblast. "We don't know what's real apart from the fact that we see it with our eyes, we smell it, we touch it, but we don't know more." This hazy, impressionistic take on reality was likely inherited from the shoegaze scene. In fact, although Ecailles De Lune is labelled a black metal record, it listens like a shoegaze record and it acheives nothing short of that shoegaze-y bliss that celebrates itself. Of course, this record takes a more fantastical approach to reality than even most shoegaze and some listeners may understandably find it less believable, but those who beckon to the call of that far off world will find themselves more and more in love with it.

The two part title track is the centerpiece of Ecailles. After an intro with cold, shimmering guitars, Part I kicks in with a longing riff that dangles over a mid-tempo drum beat as soft, honest vocals intermingle with the guitars. The song continues to cycle through a series of riffs, each a treat to experience, before reverting to its dreamier state and abruptly returning with the first hint of metal on the album, a lunar riff that is stranglely the brightest moment in the song.

Part II starts in a similar fashion to Part I; however, this time, the band enters with shreiks that are almost overwhelmed in space, as if they were recorded a valley when no one was around. Acoustic guitars enter as the screams subside, and the song continues in the silvery fashion that one grew to love in Part I.

While human longing, compassion, and ecstasy are certainly present on the album, Ecailles is more of an ethereal experience than an emotional one, utilising both the sanguine and the phlegmatic sides of dream pop and shoegaze to communicate Neige's feeling response to a distant place. But however far away that world is, it seems to live and to breathe, and with the feeling that Neige conveys this place, one starts to wonder if his experiences with "Fairy Land" might not have been so far-fetched after all.

Polymorphia | 4/5 |

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