Alcest
Écailles de Lune

Has it really been 3 years since Neige released his debut Souvenirs d’Un Autre Monde and caused quite a stir with his mellow, shoe gaze tempered take on black metal? A form of metal I termed ‘green metal’.

How time passes, and with Amesoeurs being disbanded, it appears Neige is using Alcest to channel even more of his post-rock and shoe gaze influences as Écailles de Lune is even more mellow and acoustic based, so it’s less black metal, but no less enthralling and captivating.

Even when Alcest delves into semi-traditional, tremolo picked, black metal riffage, like 8 minutes into languid acoustic opener “Écailles de Lune (Part I)” and the particularly elegant “Écailles de Lune (Part II)”, it’s more warm, folky and jangly like early Ulver than anything else. The otherwise dreamy “Percées de Lumière” has riffs and rasped vocals, but they are a more Amesoeurs sounding, mid paced trot.

Other than those three tracks, the rest of the album is more introspective and clean, with Neige’s improved crooning that sounds less like a female singer. And speaking of female singers I would have like to have heard Amesoeurs cohort Audrey Sylvain, who graced Souvenirs d’Un Autre Monde, help out on a track or two again.

The album’s mid point instrumental, “Abysses” seems to be the turning point for the Neige as a whole, not just the album as both the following “Solar Song” and rangy closer “Sur L’Océan Couleur de Fer” seem much more introspective, dreamy and delicate with no presence of metal, be it black, grey or green. But there is melancholic haze to everything, that’s alluring yet despondent, making the album a warm but downhearted listen from beginning to end, certainly elevating Niege and Alcest to the upper echelon of singer songwriters that should be considered artists, not just metal acts.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 31st, 2010

Comments

  1. Commented by: bast

    What an influential artist Neige is.
    This is a Good album and mellower “Septembre et ses dernieres pensées” from “Les Discrets” is just great, evenmore if you understand french.
    I think this style has yet to achieve it´s maturity…great things ahead.


  2. Commented by: gordeth

    I can’t decide if I love or hate shoegaze metal. :lol:


  3. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    this disc is beyond belief. shoegaze and black metal are two of my favourite genres, and this disc melds them perfectly.


  4. Commented by: timshel

    Alcest will be touring near where I live next month, and I’m considering catching the show. Has anyone seen the band live or any other Neige act? Is it worth attending? I don’t own anything from Alcest, but I respect Neige’s work, and I do think he is a genuine talent. Might be my only chance to catch him in action.


  5. Commented by: Cynicgods

    Beautiful, otherwordly, ethereal, alien yet familiar, Ecailles De Lune along with Les Discrets’ and Triptykon’s debuts are probably my favorite albums of the year.

    Side note: Every time I listen to this before bed I have quite pleasant dreams. ;)


  6. Commented by: Shane

    My kind of stuff.


  7. Commented by: adam

    Just got this and Les Discrets’ album in the mail today.

    “Abysses” is actually written and played by Fursy (Les Discrets) – which makes it interesting indeed as a turning point in the album.


  8. Commented by: Rico Adjrun

    Je vous ai su quand vous étiez du métal numérique, et vous dictez toujours que ma collection de musique est composé de. dieu bénit erik Thomas


  9. Commented by: vugelnox

    timshel, they’re playing in NYC and I’m gonna go even though I’m not very familiar with their material either. Seems like it’d make for a killer show though.


  10. Commented by: timshel

    vugelnox: Who’s the supporting band for the NYC show? It’s Velnias here — a respectable act. I’m pretty much leaning towards attending now. Like you said, I think it’s gonna be worth it.


  11. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    @ Rico Adjrun- thanks for the kind words (i had to translate). If im right it reads “may many many fish bless your eye brows”- right?


  12. Commented by: Grimulfr

    He has been reading since Digital Metal days and his purchases have long been dictated by your reviews. God bless Erik Thomas


  13. Commented by: gabaghoul

    God has nothing to do with it, Erik gets all his blessings from the Saints


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