(To begin I've posted a review I wrote for my University Newspaper, "The Stag." If you like Norwegian Black Metal or Alternative Rock or any kind of music about Fantasy, then give Alcest a shot.)
Having been on the road for twelve years spreading their atmospheric Post-Black Metal symphonies to the global metal scene and beyond; French metal duo Alcest, have returned with yet another masterpiece. “Les Voyages de L’Ame” (The Journey of the Soul) follows on from the band’s Shoegazy 2010 release: “Ecailles de Lune,” (Scales of the Moon).
Alcest’s signature style is their combination of the early 80s Alternative Rock sounds of Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine-with the 90s Black Metal grinds of bands like Burzum, Immortal and Darkthrone. Mix those two beautiful elements of alternative music together and you’ve got the atmospheric melodies of front man Neige (Stephane Paut) and other half Winterhalter.
Each of the band’s releases has focused on the subjects of fantasy and “far off lands” which frontman Neige claims he had visions of at a young age. Many say the mind of a child holds the greatest treasures of imagination, and sure enough, Alcest have managed to capture imagined beauty and set it to their wall of sound. Luscious images of fantastical purity leap from the flowing guitar riffs of opening track: “Autre Temps” (Another Time) to the high pitched screams of “Beings of Light,” and end track “Summer’s Glory.” To be a tad picky, the song lengths are a bit big in length-with the longest clocking in at just under 9 minutes. But, for anyone who’s always hyped by fantasy, the weird and the extraordinary, this release sure is worth a listen.
Alcest are best described as an epic adventure novel put to music. If you wish to live that adventure, then check out “Les Voyages de L’Ame.” Or if you prefer to live out your adventures on the live music circuit, Alcest will be appearing alongside fellow French Metallers, Les Discrets and Soror Dolorosa at the Purple Turtle, Camden Town on Saturday 18th February. See you all down there.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5