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ALCEST

Experimental/Post Metal • France


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Alcest picture
Alcest biography
Formed in Bagnols-sur-Cèze, France in 2000

ALCEST started out as a black metal act but has gradually incorporated shoegaze and experimental/ post black metal elements into their sound. ALCEST is basically a one-man act consisting of Neige (Stéphane Paut) who compose, sing and play all instruments. ALCEST first release was the "Tristesse Hivernale" demo tape. At this point ALCEST was a three-piece consisting of Neige on Rhythm & Acoustic guitar, Drums, Vocals, Argoth on bass and Hegnor on lead guitar. The two latter are only featured on this release. Neige released the "Le Secret" EP in 2005 and in 2007 ALCEST debut full-length studio album "Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde" followed. 2010 saw the release of "Écailles De Lune", which became a critical success, and it's follow-up "Les Voyages De L'Âme" in early 2012 .

ALCEST has also released some split releases. Neige also hold membership of other prolific Frech underground acts such as AMESOEURS, PESTE NOIRE and VALFUNDE.

( Biography written by UMUR)

ALCEST Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy ALCEST Music


Les Voyages de L'ameLes Voyages de L'ame
Prophecy Productions 2012
$7.39
$3.95 (used)
KodamaKodama
Prophecy Productions 2016
$9.92
$4.49 (used)
Souvenirs d'un autre mondeSouvenirs d'un autre monde
Prophecy 2017
$12.39
$22.53 (used)
Shelter (digisleeve)Shelter (digisleeve)
Prophecy Productions 2014
$12.07
$3.49 (used)
Le SecretLe Secret
Prophecy (Dismanic) 2011
$8.86
$8.88 (used)
Ecailles De Lune (Digipack Edition)Ecailles De Lune (Digipack Edition)
Prophecy Productions 2010
$13.07
$14.41 (used)
Le SecretLe Secret
Prophecy Productions 2016
$18.70
$24.90 (used)
Shelter (colored vinyl)Shelter (colored vinyl)
Prophecy Productions 2014
$39.99
Shelter (deluxe edition)Shelter (deluxe edition)
Prophecy Productions 2014
$39.05
$38.19 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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ALCEST - Le Secret CD 2011 Prophecy Productions USD $12.73 Buy It Now
Alcest: Complete French Metal Band Studio Album Discography 5 Audio CDs NEW! USD $51.01 Buy It Now
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ALCEST discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ALCEST top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.90 | 132 ratings
Souvenirs D'Un Autre Monde
2007
4.02 | 280 ratings
Écailles De Lune
2010
3.82 | 197 ratings
Les Voyages De L'Âme
2012
3.51 | 88 ratings
Shelter
2014
3.77 | 69 ratings
Kodama
2016

ALCEST Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.90 | 10 ratings
BBC Live Session
2012

ALCEST Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ALCEST Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ALCEST Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.19 | 15 ratings
Tristesse Hivernale
2001
3.55 | 23 ratings
Le Secret
2005
4.25 | 4 ratings
Aux Funérailles Du Monde / Tristesse Hivernale
2007
4.00 | 10 ratings
Alcest / Les Discrets
2009
3.39 | 9 ratings
Autre Temps
2011

ALCEST Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Écailles De Lune by ALCEST album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.02 | 280 ratings

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Écailles De Lune
Alcest Experimental/Post Metal

Review by ProgAlia

5 stars The main word that comes to mind for this album: Gorgeous. A few others: Ethereal, dreamy, lush, soothing. Maybe sometimes also intense or somber. It's a succinct and heavily atmospheric album that knows its sound and knows what it wants to do with it, and thus ends up being quite a joy to listen to. I like the unpredictability of the songs.The harsh vocals bring a whole new level to Alcest's music. Far from being depressing, this album is beautiful, tinged with nostalgia as always. ALCEST combines several elements from shoegaze, black metal, ambient, and progressive all into one album. which is extremely impressive and something not a lot of bands can pull off and sound GREAT doing it. For fans of atmosphere and relatively pleasant-sounding, Écailles de lune is one of the most interesting and fascinating albums you will ever hear.
 Kodama by ALCEST album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.77 | 69 ratings

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Kodama
Alcest Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Luqueasaur

3 stars Great blackgaze, but that's all it is: 6.5/10

Blackgaze. Such a beautiful, aesthetic name for a genre. It combines shoegaze's immersion with black metal's heavy and bleak riffages, creating an atmosphere that feels simultaneously warm and melancholic; like a dismal cloudy day, whose dreariness is depressing but, strangely, comfortable. Alcest. Since their first EP, LE SECRET, they solidified their position as forerunners of the genre; however, in their 2014 album (SHELTER), apparently the band changed their directions to pure dream pop/shoegaze. Kodama. A beautiful, nocturnal, cryptic cover (one of my favorite covers ever! The only reason I tried this album, to be honest), with a strange concept (related to the movie Princess Mononoke), and ALCEST's return to their acclaimed blackgaze style.

I can't say as a knowledgeable authority this is ALCEST at the top of their game, but the production, songwriting, and musicianship seem to indicate that, at the very least, they're doing pretty well. Blackgaze's peculiar style is enticing and unique, and through KODAMA's forty minutes, my ears were engulfed in ALCEST's fogginess. While my experience was good, I found the sameness to be KODAMA's biggest issue. Offering little variation, repetitive riffs, annoyingly unintelligible screams (sound awesome but are absolutely impossible to decipher or accompany; additionally, the clean vocals are much better), there's honestly no effort to make the tracks feel different from each other. Perhaps intentionally, perhaps not, KODAMA is shaped, sonically, as a huge, forty-minutes-long song. But who is to blame? Not black metal nor shoegaze are known for eclecticism. ALCEST would naturally suffer from that hereditary dysfunction.

KODAMA (and ALCEST) didn't disappoint but neither did they astound me. While this will undoubtedly be a treat for shoegaze/atmospheric black metal fans, personally, I found it enjoyable but unmemorable.

Oh, let me add nuance to that last word: while I do remember my experience with KODAMA, literally any moment of it that pops in my mind sounds virtually the same.

 Kodama by ALCEST album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.77 | 69 ratings

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Kodama
Alcest Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Although I liked Alcest's first two albums and considered their particular take on the "Blackgaze" style of black metal/shoegaze mashup to be quite pleasing, their third album Les voyages de l'âme seemed to find the approach wearing thin, Neige and crew seeming to lose interest in the black metal part of their formula. Their fourth album, Shelter, only served to confirm that impression in my eyes, since it saw them more or less entirely drop the black metal aspects of their sound for a more purely shoegaze approach.

However, perhaps just this sort of diversion was needed to allow Alcest to recharge their black metal batteries, because the full blackgaze style is back on Kodama, a concept album inspired by the conflict between the human and natural worlds as depicted in the classic anime movie Princess Mononoke. The concept isn't as awkward a fit for atmospheric black metal as you may think - after all, aren't Wolves In the Throne Room positively obsessed with just such ideas? - and though the delivery doesn't seem to draw very much on traditional Japanese music (or anime soundtracks) stylistically, it does feel like a welcome return to form for Alcest, and perhaps even their best yet. If the previous two albums were a necessary detour along the way to making this one, then this leaves me slightly better- disposed towards them.

 Kodama by ALCEST album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.77 | 69 ratings

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Kodama
Alcest Experimental/Post Metal

Review by jammun
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I move slowly these days. I did not even know this crew had released a new album.

After the relative disappointment of Shelter, Neige and co. seem to have decided to return to earlier times and sounds in most ways. These are thoughtful compositions...moving from contemplative to aggressive in the wink of an eye. Even my cat has been surprised by some of the sudden tempo or volume changes, and he snatches birds out of the sky. The vocals either caress or scream. Yes! the screams are back! Yes the guitar washes are back! Everything that I loved about these guys is here in spades. Overall the production seems more fitting which is to say there is now a bottom end, something I complained about on the earlier albums.

I read something somewhere that said this was their "Japanese" album. I don't know what a "Japanese" album is, though I've always liked that song Sukiyaki. I guess, yes, Neige said it was influenced by the film Princess Mononoke. Well enough. It is all full of light and darkness, of earth and air, of death and life.

Of course I still do not understand the words (my fault, I don't speak French). Welcome back Alcest. I'd forgotten about you and it's good to see an old friend can still awe.

 Shelter by ALCEST album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.51 | 88 ratings

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Shelter
Alcest Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Gallifrey

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 point, although occasionally getting some good material in, or the artist will completely leave behind the style, maybe start a new band in a different genre, or just take a complete tangent to the it, alienating fans, but also creating new ones. I could take the example of a band like Marillion, who more or less invented Neo-Prog, leaving the style in the dust after just four records, because I think they felt it was getting dry already. And then their counterparts, IQ, who stuck with the style for their whole career, knocking away at getting it right, but never quite getting the same as the beginning (of course, for the sake of analogy, I'll ignore Frequency, which is obviously their best).

So Neige, frontrunner of this 'Blackgaze' genre that's been coming up for a while, has finally decided to leave it behind, with the fourth full-length album of Alcest, his main band, Shelter. It wasn't hard to see this coming, Les voyages de l'âme was more or less a dark Shoegaze album with a couple of blast beats and screaming parts, and mapping the natural progressions of musicians normally show them creating full albums based on small elements introduced in previous records. Hopefully this means the next Alcest album will be entirely in English sung by Neil Halstead?

Neige has little tricks that he uses, throughout all of the Alcest releases, an even over into his other bands, like Lantlôs and Amesoeurs. You'll know the delay-ridden acoustic guitar, the low rumble of what is often a loop of Neige singing a single note, the slightly jangly chord sound that often comes in after the aforementioned acoustic/delay part. Theory people will know the diminished chords and the resolutions on V and IV, just the little things that remind us of who's composing. But what Neige has done with Shelter, by cutting off any remnants of their metal past, black metal or not, he has essentially cut his list of tricks in two. Gone are the blast beats, the fantastic screams. Gone are the reverb-drenched overdrive riffs that pack such a punch to this dreamy music. And although I'm trying not to sound like a disgruntled metalhead who wants it to be br00tal, it means that this album is mostly one-sided.

And sure, you could argue that dropping the heaviness could open Neige up to new sounds, but honestly, this is just everything on the previous records, but without the metal. Sure, the addition of the string parts is new, but that just piles on the dreaminess even more until it becomes Valtari-levels of ambience. This album is more or less the same thing start to finish in terms of mood and atmosphere.

But as much as this is a change from the Alcest I love, this is still a great record. It's slow, I'll admit, but once you give it a few listens, even the tiny little melodies that each track develops become glorious. Alcest have always been about emotion, in all of their albums, and Shelter is no different. Except, unlike Écailles de lune, this isn't a depressing album that you want to listen to alone in a darkened room and cry about. This is an uplifting record, euphoric even. The same level of emotional saturation that Alcest have had is still there, but it's focused on happy emotions. Glory, peace, dreams, aspirations, the haze isn't a cover over darkened emotions anymore, it's a positive haze, like staring at the sun?

Oh yeah, I'm trying hard not to mention a certain big deal with a pink cover that people are inevitably going to compare this to, but it's just too obvious. Alcest have gone happy, the cover is a blurry picture of the sun with people covering it. It'll be hard to avoid mentioning the words sun, bat, and her. But in my honest opinion, Sunbather wasn't a happy record, at least not like Shelter is. People are inevitably going to say that Alcest are copying, or bandwagoning with, Deafheaven, with the concept and idea behind this album, so I feel we need to mention the fact that Deafheaven wouldn't exist without Alcest. Moving on?

I've a had a huge case of the lead single effect with "Opale", a track that I didn't think much of when its video was released, but now can't get enough of. The lead hook, the atmospheric aaahs and oohs that the album opens with in "Wings" may be insanely simple, but somehow Neige creates a beautifully uplifting atmosphere with such a simple motif, which is more or less the essence of Alcest's music. The same thing happens in "Voix Sereines", another of my favourite tracks, with that simple little motif that even a child could think of, but Neige uses his voice and his pedalboard to bring it to utter glory. But I have to comment on the lead riff of "Opale", which I'm still not convinced on. It just feels slightly off. I really like the notes and the progression, but the rhythm is weird and off-putting, somehow sounding like it's in an odd signature when it's really in straight 4/4. I thought that it would grow on me and I would get used to it, but it still bugs me 10 listens later.

The other highlight track here is obviously going to be "Away", Alcest's first English song, featuring Slowdive singer Neil Halstead. On my first listen to Shelter, I have to admit that it got a bit boring, as pleasant and pretty as it was. The songs just mix into a haze of ambient vocals and delay and reverb and (new on this record) strings. But then Away comes, with Neil's rather regular vocal delivery, speaking in English. Now, I have to admit my lack of education that, despite knowing about them for years, I have never actually listened to Slowdive (although I know exactly what I'm doing when this review is done), but the match of this simple voice with Alcest's dreamy instrumentation is nearly perfect. Neige's distant background vocals lift up the chorus to great heights, and with this song situated right around the point when you start to get bored of the same sound, it's nearly perfect in reminding you that Alcest are still moving forward.

Although I enjoy this record, I feel in terms of the sheer number of great riffs and motifs throughout Écailles De Lune and Les Voyages, this is always going to pale in comparison. The mood of the music is new and fresh and wonderful for Alcest, but I think in terms of the quantity of riffs that I say are amazing, this isn't their best. And I think, honestly, that's the only reason that I believe this is the weakest Alcest album yet, simply because of the quantity of great ideas. I love it, but taking the perspective of others, I can see how many who are not Alcest fanboys may find this 'boring'. I really hope Neige continues the happier mood onto further albums, but he really should develop some more great melodies to base the atmosphere on. Like the final track, 10-minute "Délivrance". Ever since "Eccailes De Lune", the idea of a 10-minute Alcest track has been in the minds of everyone, wanting another thundering epic. But Délivrance just sort of meanders, holding together its main theme in waves of ambience. It's pleasant music, but the fact that the 9 minutes of "Eccailes De Lune Part I" had more riffs than half of this album really shows how drawn out these pieces are becoming.

Shelter may not be a perfect record. It lacks the sheer quantity of great riffs and melodies that the past Alcest albums had, but I'm definitely loving the happier side. Allegedly this is the first Alcest record where Neige has stopped writing about his 'experience' (what it exactly is is still unclear), when he was a child, representing a moving forward of Alcest's music into something new. Even though I think that Les Voyages is their best record, I could definitely see where people were coming from when they said it was trying to recreate past glory, and Shelter is most certainly a big step forward. It does get a bit empty sometimes, and a few of the songs, for a significant amount of time, are just pleasant ambience, but Opale and Away are definitely amongst Alcest's best tracks.

8.0

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

 Shelter by ALCEST album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.51 | 88 ratings

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Shelter
Alcest Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.
 Shelter by ALCEST album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.51 | 88 ratings

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Shelter
Alcest Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Shelter by ALCEST album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.51 | 88 ratings

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Shelter
Alcest Experimental/Post Metal

Review by jammun
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Écailles De Lune by ALCEST album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.02 | 280 ratings

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Écailles De Lune
Alcest Experimental/Post Metal

Review by VOTOMS

5 stars Review n° 209

Alcest - Écailles de lune

Just sweet.

The best album written by the french musician Neige, who works in a lot of black metal and post-punk/rock/shoegaze projects, as Old Silver Key, Amoeseurs, Peste Noire, etc... Since I am very disappointed with Shelter (2014, too minimalist, non-catchy rhythmns, skippable tracks) and didn't found anything original as Écailles de Lune while listening to Les Voyages de Lame (2012, fine album, though), I came back to this one.

The shoegaze scene is currently very influential in some metal circles. The post rock/metal tag is growing like seaweed inside an abandoned bathroom. If you can't imagine a guy wearing corpse painting with a flying v in the middle of a bosk listening to My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, you don't know nothing about the modern rock. A large amount of this bands are just hipster bullshet, in my honest opinion. But there are great musicians too, and a lot of them. The sound of Alcest is very next to Les Discrets, Soliness and Agalloch.

Écailles de Lune riffs are creative and fully inspired. Deep, it can make your soul feel the crying. The theme song is a suite divided into two pieces, almost crossing the line of 20 minutes. A progressive masterpiece. The first act feels like the sadness hands holding your heart. The use of chords are very melodic, and I found interesting the modal & harmonic beauty hidden behind it. The beautiful painting covering the album reflects exactly what I see in the music. The second part of Écailles de Lune uses the same shoegaze oriented chord progression, catchy and emanating feeling, but this time the drums achieves the faster level, making an unique experience of "floating" while listening to the track. The vocals now are harsh but not that aggressive monster growls, it's something like a dying goblin, which penetrates your soul and leaves you thinking about your own bleeding.

About the other four tracks. Percées de lumière is an alternative/post/shoegaze metal with black metal vocals, and believe me, those vocals increases the despair and deception mood of this track. Some clean melodic lines too. Abysses, the fourth track, is a short, and the only one written by Neige's single bandmate Fursy Teyssier. Solar Song is a trippy, melancholic shoegaze. And lasting 8 minutes, the last track: Sur l'océan couleur de fer, featuring the lyrics by Paul-Jean Toulet. This track starts slowly. And it ends in the same way. There's no flaw in this album. All great tracks. The last track is not so interesting as the others, but it's just the calm soundtrack to the ending credits, and it fits perfect when I heard the album as a whole.

 Shelter by ALCEST album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.51 | 88 ratings

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Shelter
Alcest Experimental/Post Metal

Review by MJAben

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 adventurous nature of their previous works, gone is any sense of change or growth within the album (despite the sense that there seems to be a great deal of change and growth within the band).

The album, to me at least, feels stale. It's breathtaking, stunning, at times even jaw- dropping but it doesn't go anywhere... It persists, plateau's and then stagnates and this is despite the fact that I feel the two last songs are the albums best. Like Anathema's current albums it showcases only a part of the band and doesn't opt to change the sound or style throughout.

This is good in some ways, it gives a sense of unity and completion to the album but it is extremely detrimental in some other ways. On the one hand it lacks any ambition or creativity on the part of the album (not on the part of the band for making this album). On top of that the album begins to feel like a grind after a while and with so little originality between the songs it is difficult to differentiate one from another making the album, at least to some degree, forgettable.

My final point against this album is that it doesn't reward the listener with a close listening as almost all of the music is understood in its surface. This gives the album a more immediate appeal but also makes the album a bore on repeated listen. I don't dislike the album but I feel it functions fare better as background music than an album that warrants close and repeated listening.

I think this is a good album, and an album worth a listen if you enjoy modern Anathema or shoegaze rock. For everyone else, and for fans of older Alcest, I wouldn't recommend this album... Not a letdown because of its new style but because of the lack of ideas and musical change within the album.

2 stars

Thanks to UMUR for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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