Experimental/Post Metal

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Alcest Shelter album cover
3.42 | 84 ratings | 8 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

01. Wings
02. Opale
03. La Nuit Marche Avec Moi
04. Voix Sereines
05. L'Eveil Des Muses
06. Shelter
07. Away
08. Délivrance


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Stéphane "Neige" Paut / all instruments, vocals
- Jean "Winterhalter" Deflandre / drums

- Neil Halstead / vocals on 7

Releases information

Label: Prophecy Productions
Release date: January 17, 2014

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
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ALCEST MP3, Free Download (music stream)

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Buy ALCEST Shelter Music

Les Voyages de L'ameLes Voyages de L'ame
Prophecy Productions 2012
Audio CD$12.98
$14.29 (used)
Shelter (digisleeve)Shelter (digisleeve)
Prophecy Productions 2014
Audio CD$9.20
$8.98 (used)
Souvenirs D'un Autre MondeSouvenirs D'un Autre Monde
Ecailles De Lune (Jewel Case Edition)Ecailles De Lune (Jewel Case Edition)
Prophecy Productions 2010
Audio CD$9.99
$32.96 (used)
Shelter (colored vinyl)Shelter (colored vinyl)
Prophecy Productions 2014
$42.13 (used)
Le SecretLe Secret
Prophecy (Dismanic) 2011
Audio CD$7.06
$14.49 (used)
Shelter (deluxe edition)Shelter (deluxe edition)
Prophecy Productions 2014
Audio CD$37.99
$42.84 (used)
Opale (White Vinyl)Opale (White Vinyl)
BBC Live Session (Black Vinyl)BBC Live Session (Black Vinyl)
Import · Limited Edition
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ALCEST Shelter ratings distribution

(84 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
Good, but non-essential (34%)
Collectors/fans only (14%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

ALCEST Shelter reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Second Life Syndrome
COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams
4 stars The progressive community always gets to me. When a band doesn't change from album to album, they're called stale. However, when they evolve and enter new eras, their fans denounce them for progressing. What?! This makes no sense at all. This is the case with the new Alcest album "Shelter". Alcest was known for their mixture of black metal and beautiful ambiance, but the band has decided to explore other musical territory.

Indeed, Alcest does sound different. Gone is the blackened palette, and in comes a style of shoegaze rock somewhere between Nosound and Anathema. It has a bit more clarity and structure then the former, but less variation of sound and emotion than the latter. So, yes, the band has abandoned their signature style, but this is not the first time a band has done this. I just hope fans calm down and give this gorgeous album a chance.

"Shelter" is definitely a beautiful work. The towering guitars are front and center here, with such melody and such expression of light and joy. Stephane Paut is the pillar of the album, as he performs almost every instrument and also the vocals. Jean Deflandre is on drums here, and does an admirable job of driving the melodies higher and higher. Yes, this album is definitely all in the upper range. Some may find this strange, but I enjoy it as it seems to hit all the right emotional notes. I do feel that it does hit some of the same notes over and over again, though. This album, while excellent, is surely lacking in variety somewhat.

The album does have highs and lows, though. After an amazing opening in "Wings", I feel the album dips a bit, though it is still enjoyable. However, when "Voix Sereines" begins, the album reaches an all-new level. This track is the best on the album in my opinion, as its melody climbs and climbs until it reaches a guitar-fueled climax of intense proportions. After this, the album doesn't let up at all. Every song is as wonderful as the last, and when we reach "Away" (the only English-language track) and "Délivrance", we meet the next two best tracks. Light and ambiance, emotion and smooth vocals: This is what "Shelter" is all about from beginning to end.

So, is it as textured and darkly beautiful as Alcest's previous works? No. Is it a worse album because of it? Not at all. I appreciate evolution of sound, and I respect when musicians feel they are ready to move on to something new. Alcest has done that, and has managed to craft an excellent outing.


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Send comments to Second Life Syndrome (BETA) | Report this review (#1130302) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Review by jammun
4 stars Well this ain't like the others.

But there is a certain ring to it. The song Shelter is more or less perfect and as good a summation of arena rock as you are likely t hear. I do not mean that in a derogatory way.

Put a little smoke in the bowl, my brothers, and fire it up, (these things are legal where I live) and travel with Neige into that aural ether, where you float upon guitars and there is still no credible bottom end. But by the time you get to Délivrance and there's gotta be some Celtic thang going on there, yer hooked.

I personally do not remember hearing guitars that ring just so in the last decade or so.


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Send comments to jammun (BETA) | Report this review (#1152636) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, March 23, 2014

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Shelter' - Alcest (65/100)

To be honest, I'm surprised Alcest haven't been featured in a Subaru commercial already. If that's a stretch, it's at least a near-certainty we'll be hearing them on a movie trailer for some coming-of-age romantic comedy. Regardless whether this prediction is meant to be taken in jest (It's not), it's pretty clear that Alcest have, by this point, drifted away entirely from the metal sphere. While Les voyages de l'âme suggested that the band's frontman Neige was more inclined towards the shoegazey end of the so-called 'blackgaze' fusion he's said to have pioneered, Shelter is proof of the band's completed shift. For all the discussion and debate this transformation has caused however, surprisingly little has changed in the band's atmosphere and approach. Reverb-laden guitars, fragile vocals and a Romantic longing for childlike essence are all familiar ideas for Alcest. Shelter holds the fort for the most part, but save for a handful of (admittedly brilliant) standout moments, this album does little to compete with the excellence of the first two.

I might describe the work of Alcest as 'dreamlike'. Not surreal or twisted by any means, but rather the sort of innocent atmosphere you might find in a child's storybook. For about as long as Alcest's existed as anything but a demo black metal outfit, they've sought to unlock that Romantic notion of inner-looking melancholy in their listeners. On a more technical level, their fusion of black metal and traditional shoegaze aesthetics has since earned them a legion of imitators. While it's certainly surprising to have seen them turn their backs so absolutely on a style they're said to have invented (or at least popularized), the move into undisputed shoegaze territory hasn't resulted in too much of a practical change in sound. After all, even at their most intense, Alcest were never 'particularly' metal to begin with.

If anything's really evolved since the third album, it's the emotional tone. Particularly on Écailles de lune, Alcest have been caught in a tug-of-war between feelings of sad melancholy and purely optimistic hope. Although the final decision isn't as absolute and one-sided as the metal-shoegaze debate, it's clear that Alcest have taken a turn for the bright and cheery. If the album cover's any indication, the darkness has been swept away; whatever hints of sadness remain are left as suggestions at best. The much-talked about single "Opale" is an example of happiness at its most pure; shimmering guitars, lively leads and gentle vocals convey a rare sense of carefreeness that even Alcest have never before explored. The trite video, which may be summarized as a pair of amorous teens chasing each other around with neon paints, highlights the sweetness to the point of diabetes-inducing saccharine, but the song itself is quite solid.

Let it be known I have nothing against happiness or optimism in music, but listening to Shelter as a whole, I recall the perennial debate whether or not great art is possible without unhappiness. The general quality of songwriting is roughly consistent with "Les voyages de l'âme", but the streamlined emotional palette leaves Shelter feeling a little empty. Looking at "Opale", for example: where the cheerful leads may have been counterpointed with a tinge of sadness on past albums, there's scarcely depth beyond the surface impression. It can be said that others (like "La nuit marche avec moi") lend themselves better to emotional interpretation, but Shelter is largely defined by surface-value cheer and atmosphere.

The clear exception (and emotional highlight) here is the ten minute closing track. "Délivrance" has been earned some well-deserved praise individually, and having seen Alcest close off a live set late last year with it, I can confidently call it one of the best tracks they have ever done. Where most of Shelter sounds like a pleasantly typical shoegaze record, "Délivrance" achieves the sort of transcendental beauty I knew Alcest were capable of. It may take a while to get going, but this mini-epic is structured with purpose and intention. Building gradually, it eventually erupts into a quasi-choral idea that falls nothing short of being gorgeous.

On the topic of voices, Neige's clean vocals have always been fragile, but I have always thought that sense of vulnerability worked well for the tone they were going for. On Shelter however, his voice too-often crosses the boundary into whininess. The voice itself hasn't changed much since the debut, but there's the impression Neige has become a little too confident with his vocals. Where they may have been comfortably muddled in the mix on the debut, they now come front and center relative to all else. Even when I may have found myself annoyed by his voice on past albums, the voice took shelter in the waves of distortion and effects. Neige has little such protection on Shelter; he can still be praised for having a relatively distinctive voice all things considered, but the static elfishness does little to sway me. On a tangential note, it's a shame Neige decided to let go of his harsh vocals; I'm by no means prejudiced against a non-metal Alcest, but his shrieks were among the most impressive and atmospheric ingredients the band had to offer. His relatively mediocre clean vocals could have even worked here, but I'd have hoped to hear them play a more subdued role. It should also be noted that Neil Halstead (of Slowdive, Neige's favourite band if I'm not mistaken) offers his voice on the song "Away". Maybe you need to be an existing fan of Slowdive to appreciate the guest spot, but I think his performance sounds terrible. It's no doubt a great honour for Neige to have one of his musical icons contributing to his work, but Halstead's low-register croon doesn't translate well here.

To put it briefly, it generally feels like Alcest have stayed their natural course with this one. Even if the stylistic evolution is noticeable, the shift towards shoegaze isn't surprising. Shelter sounds remarkably pretty, and it's well-executed, but I'm not hearing a lot of inspiration amidst the reverberated guitars and lilting voices. Am I condemning Shelter for being 'too happy'? Not at all- Anathema's latest couple of albums are even cheerier than this, and they move me plenty. In most respects Alcest have crafted a solid album here, but it pales in comparison to what they've done in the past. In that sense, I cannot help but feel disappointed.


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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#1160672) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 12, 2014

Review by Warthur
3 stars I'd found the previous Alcest number, "Les voyages de l'âme", to be rather disappointing, but in retrospect it's clear that it was a transitional release which suffered from Alcest's increasing disinterest in the metal half of its black metal/shoegaze fusion. Here, the problem is solved by Alcest abandoning metal altogether, yielding a pure shoegaze release which manages to turn in a decent but not revolutionary performance in that genre. Metal fans will find little to love here, shoegaze fans will have heard this all before, and if you're one of those who feels really excited about the aesthetic possibilities of blackgaze, you'll probably find this a deeply unambitious release.


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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#1164149) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Latest members reviews

4 stars No Exit It was always going to come to this. When you are the forefront of a genre, you can imagine the difficulty when you inevitably get tired of what you've created. Historical examples come in plenty, either an artist keeps plugging away at the same thing, most of the time missing the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1165526) | Posted by Gallifrey | Friday, April 25, 2014 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Well this was a surprise, gone is the black metal of 'Ecailles de Lune' and 'Souvenirs', what we have here actually reminds me more of modern day Anathema, very ethereal and truly gorgeous music. That being said, we lost a lot to get to this point, gone is the layered majesty of Ecailles, the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1134848) | Posted by MJAben | Friday, February 21, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I described this album to my friend in a text message: "This is an album that metal fans would rip to their friends and then enjoy behind closed doors." The Old Alcest is gone. The Juxtaposition of black metal infused with an almost trace-like beauty of shoe-gaze is gone. The black metal element ... (read more)

Report this review (#1128949) | Posted by Drew | Sunday, February 09, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Neige continues his musical trip in uncharted waters... After the magnificent and colorful "Les Voyages de l Ames", he takes a trip to Iceland and mesmerized by the landscape (call me Sigur Ros) creates his new album. Or should I say a new prog post subgenre... If you want to labelize his musi ... (read more)

Report this review (#1110850) | Posted by Sophocles | Thursday, January 09, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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