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Alcest - Souvenirs d'un autre monde CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.82 | 150 ratings

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Any Colour You Like
Prog Reviewer
4 stars It is always going to be an interesting result when you combine such enigmatic influences as shoegaze, black metal and folk, but that is exactly what French multi-instrumentalist Neige has done with his now solo project, Alcest. Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde (Memories from Another World) contains a sprawling 40 minutes of wall of sound guitars, lucid acoustics and harmonious vocals. Don't be put off by the black metal tag, for while Neige has dabbled in that style, this release doesn't even come close to what Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde is all about.

There is not much variation on each track here, each containing a heavy, but not dark guitar mash. Combine this with simple and effective acoustics and Neige's lovely clean vocals, and you have a simple but beautiful recipe. The shoegaze tag applies well here, as does post-metal. Genre definitions aside, Neige succeeds in developing a memorable and beautiful album that transports the listener to the brightest days of spring, wandering through the verdant meadows. "Printemps emeraude" starts things off, and provides a good base as to what the album would later develop - or not as the case may be. The title track is more acoustically focused, but is in essence similar to the predecessor. "Les Iris" and "Ciel errant" continue in the same manor, mixing gleaming guitar with otherworldly vocal harmonies. "Sur l'autre rive je t'attendrai" begins with a powerful riff, but soon gives way to a lovely female vocal section before continuing in a typical Alcest fashion. The final track, 'Tir an nog" finally sees some real divergence from the styles of the previous songs, with a bright and happy Celtic mood closing the album on an ethereal high. On their own, each song is well crafted and a pleasant listen, however, the almost constant buzz of guitars becomes a bit stale after 30 or so minutes. The lack of dynamic divergence on the album is not terminal by any means, but it does on some occasions feel as though a similar riff just takes off from where the last one ends.

One of the real positive aspects of this album are the vocals, it is refreshing to hear such melodious and pure vocals from a metal artist - Neige has obviously been listening to a lot of Sigur Ros. The vocals really do resemble a French version of 'Hopelandic'. The quieter acoustic sections are also very pleasant, and when combined with the occasional keyboard flourish, it creates an undeniably uplifting and happy tone. Having said this, I was disappointed with the overall repetition of the album, and perhaps with a little more variation, Alcest could well have cracked it here. As it stands, Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde is a beautiful and charming album that just ultimately falls short of what Neige appears to be capable of creating.

Any Colour You Like | 4/5 |


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