Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Review: Alcest - Les Voyages de l'Âme

 Since it's inception back in 2000, the musical project that is Alcest have succeeded in entrancing all listeners with their dreamy metallic charm, mixing the darkest of black metal styles with the otherworldly shoegaze styles of My Bloody Valentine. It's relentless sense of grace and wonder that makes up the fantastical musical mind of frontman Neige one of the greatest musicians to prove that heavy metal can in fact serve as a true piece of art. If you want to see if such a statement is true or not, look no further than their third album, Les Voyages de l'Âme.

 This awe-inspiring beauty is found right from the opening of Autre Temps as the lone guitar picking and gloomy backing vocals really conveys a sense of solidarity and melancholy before kicking into heavier riff based territory, which in it's dreamy flowing structure inspired by more-shoegaze based artist has the kind of etheral charm and beauty that makes Opeth look like Cattle Decapitation.
 And this ideal is prominent across Les Voyages de l'Âme with each track reaching a new era of beauty and artistic credibility, as the atmosphere of Là où Naissent les Couleurs Nouvelles present an atmosphere of anger and vulnerability with the results of listening being generally tear-jerking, similar to the hypnotic shoegaze guitar solo found in the album's title track.
 These dreamy soundscapes and metallic poundings also serve as a blazing force of warmth and positivity within the album with the rapid extreme metal riffing mixed with the indescribably beautiful backing vocals of Beings of Light being the happiest sounding piece of metal that has been heard in a long time along with the scorchingly sunny Summer's Joy, whilst the relentlessly victorious characteristic of Faiseurs de Mondes is guaranteed to lift the spirit of any listener and allow them to raise their head high into a sky of sweeping shoegaze.
 I honesty, it's difficult to reflect on why this album is so fantastic. Such etheral beauty and wonder is very difficult to describe in words, and I just know that that's the exact goal that Neige and Winterhalter are aiming for, in which case all that's left to say is... well done. You've achieved your goal. This album is an absolute masterpiece.

 Alcest's Les Voyages de l'Âme is out now via Prophecy Productions. The band will tour the UK in February with Les Discrets and Solor Dolorosa.

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