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Alcest - Les Voyages De L'Āme CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.83 | 196 ratings

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4 stars I have not felt the drive (or honestly had the time) to write a review in a good while, but Les Voyages De L'Ame by Alcest has pulled me out of my nest and required me to write something. This was a black sheep buy for me--one of those occasions in which I grab something I know nothing about yet find somehow compelling (it's often an alluring cover, as it was this time). Sometimes the black-sheep-buying principle does not pay off, but this time it really did. I cannot stop listening to this lovely, lovely album.

This is a hard work to describe let alone categorize. The little I know of the group tells me that the roots are metal, but that's not what I really hear. The slightly spacey chorused guitars send me back to a number of 4AD groups, in particular the Pale Saints and Lush, but here that sound is stretched out with greater epic grandeur. Huge swaths of sound pour forth, maybe evoking My Bloody Valentine in a Goth mood, or perhaps Sonic Youth on a breezy yet melancholic day. There are even aggravated post-rock Slint-like moments to be found on later tracks. It's all post-something or other.

Whatever one calls it, atmosphere rules the day. There's a majestic moody beauty to the whole thing that keeps pulling me in. Since I have mentioned Alcest's metal roots, let me say that there are precisely two death growls on the album, but--dare I say it?--they are atmospheric death growls, more breathy than menacing. The singer Neige's voice in general is delicate and tends to mesh into the layers of overall sound. That the lyrics are in French may or not matter. This is not to say that there is no sense here, just that an aesthetics of the ethereal overwhelms all else.

In short, beautiful. A perfect Sunday morning or Saturday night record depending, I guess, on who you are and how you live those times of day.

questionsneverknown | 4/5 |


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