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




Experimental/Post Metal

3.82 | 150 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Souvenirs d'Un Autre Monde' - Alcest (7/10)

When Alcest's second album 'Ecailles De Lune' came out, I became instantly enamoured with the music of this French post metal band. Now backtracking through this project's earlier work, I have heard them back when they were a pure black metal act with the demo 'Tristesse Hivernale'. Having a solid context and knowledge of how Alcest has developed over the course of a decade, I can appreciate 'Souvenirs d'Un Autre Monde'- Alcest's debut- for what it is; the project's frontman and mastermind taking several steps back from the metal vista towards his more atmospheric influences. Make no mistake, the music on 'Souvenirs' is not black metal, as is the genre that most associate with Alcest. Instead, this debut album takes the listener on an uplifting and dreamlike journey, played in a style called shoegaze. Although 'Souvenirs d'Un Autre Monde' is driven by a very tame palette of sound, the emotional gravity of the work is undeniable.

Although it is quite clear that Neige took the Alcest project to a new echelon with the sophomore, 'Souvenirs d'Un Autre Monde' already has many of the things I first fell in love with the band for' incredible melodies, dreamy textures, and the distinctively mellowed and effete vocals of Neige himself, which are typically washed into the mix in fair shoegaze fashion. Each track here is quite simple in construct and performance for the most part, often relying on uplifting chord progressions and added layers of string plucking or leads to add to the richness of the sound. Although the songs rarely change their direction much from where they first set off, the songwriting here is indeed very pleasant, even if it is a little on the simplistic side. Neige has a naive way of executing the music here as well; his vocals can sometimes sound a little amateurish, but they do manage to strike a feeling in the listener; the closest comparison may be Jonsi of Sigur Ros, but Neige does have a particular sound to his voice that would certainly be difficult to find anywhere in the metal genre.

All of the music on 'Souvenirs' flows much like a dream, and perhaps the only major flaw to the album is that it all flows in the same direction, at the same pace. Very rarely does a song ever throw in an unexpected curveball at the listener, or even cover much of an emotional variety. Instead, Alcest is deadset on one particular sound, then milks it for all its worth throughout the course of the debut. The debut feels quite novice, but the beauty and heartfelt nature of Alcest's music is heard deeply here. Although now in the shadow of the vastly superior 'Ecailles De Lune', 'Souvenirs' remains a pleasant debut from a band who seems fixed on bringing dreams to life.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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