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Alcest - Écailles de lune CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.03 | 293 ratings

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5 stars I often find that sometimes, when I'm lost in the dream-like state of my own conscience, when I'm drowning my mind in musical melodies, that it's hard to think of a single world to explain the feelings I may rouse within myself. However, it is with "Écailles de Lune" that I am no longer searching for the right vocabulary, as it comes natural.


Yes, astonishing is this album, and for good reason; for the 42 minutes it spins, Alcest takes the listener on a trip through space and time, through cohesion and sheer entropy, a musical tour de force that seems more like a spiritual journey rather than a listening exercise.

The opening two-parter, Écailles de Lune, starts with a smooth, brooding guitar rhythm that slowly expands into a post-metal dream - reverb-laden instruments, with solid percussion, and quaint French singing, a truly stunning creation. From there, the second part switches gears, beginning with the previously acquainted clean, dazzling guitar and drum work until the powerful growls of lead singer Neige cruise through the sonic landscape set forth. As the song progresses, the subtle exchanges between anger and serenity are gracefully dealt with as Alcest perfects the transition.

Percees de Lumiere, by all means, is a great track - it just feels too standard for me. However, since Alcest are so good at crafting beautiful melodies and hooks in true post- metal style, the lack of an original flare matters little. The relatively short song covers all of Alcest's preying grounds, from anger-enraged growling, to melancholic singing. The album's weakest song is Solar Song, a chillingly powerful song that starts with a strong riff and clean vocals, but just feels too repetitive over the course of listening to truly stand out with previous tracks.

The magnum opus of Alcest's career lies within the closing track, Sur L'Ocean Couleur De Fer, a slow, moving piece sung with sheer sorrow. As the song crescendos, and Neige provides us his best vocal performance yet, the album comes to a standstill, ending on a subtle yet provocative tone. Even though most listeners will not understand Neige's singing due to the language barrier, the emotion and feeling is conveyed wonderfully through the band's entire performance.

I owe very few metal albums the pleasure of a late-night listen. It is "Écailles de Lune" that became the first album to owe me the gesture of a lonely night turned into a thoughtful one, with a soundtrack suiting the most melancholy of eves. Looming and potent, Alcest has truly conveyed sorrow and beauty in 2010's most depressing record.

_glasgow_ | 5/5 |


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