Alcest: Écailles De Lune

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Alcest: Écailles De Lune
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Alcest: Ecailles De Lune
Black Metal, Shoegaze
Prophecy Productions
May 17th, 2010
Release length: 41:47
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Alcest is a band that defies all expectations and breathes a very unique aura into the Metal world, especially for those into the Black Metal scene. This one man band from France has taken the Black Metal roots of the project, and built upon them with a more Modern Rock and Shoegaze sound that can only be described as fantasical, beautiful, often intimate and trance-inducing, without losing too much blackened influence. While the elite of this style cry blasphemy towards such an interpretation as this, the second full-length effort Écailles de lune is nothing short of brilliant.

Écailles de lune is actually a little hard to explain, really. Much of the album plays out as if you are listening to it within a haze. The fundamental Black Metal elements are there, such as the guitar chords and progressions, as well as drumming, but there’s just more at play here. The guitars are a little distorted, which really gives the album the feeling of haze, and the drums are echoed and kept a little further in the back to the point where you will feel like you are lost in some sort of dream. While the album does have a heavier, more traditional Black Metal moment on the track “Écailles de lune (Part II)”, a good chunk of the material is presented in a much lighter and atmospheric approach that utilizes acoustic guitars, typically one louder then the other, with a fantastical feel that is represented with the lyrics to further the ambience the album brings. “Solar Song” is the best representation of all this, though not the only track to do it well.

Each song on here follows this kind of formula, except for the first two tracks. “Écailles de lune (Part II)” which was already mentioned, is much heavier, while ” “Écailles de lune (Part I)” does it’s job well to welcome the listener into this world, but still retains a little bit of a Black edge to the music. It’s after these two tracks that the album focuses solely on the fundamental aspects of the style, and really works on creating a very emotional piece of art that continues on until the very end on “Sur L’Océan Couleur de Fer”. As you progress through the record, you will also notice that the album seems to progressively get lighter with each track, which is nice until you hit “Sur L’Océan Couleur de Fer”. While not necessarily a bad track, it’s the only one that doesn’t really do it’s job well enough as it will start to get a little boring after a while due to there not being much presented here that doesn’t become repetative after a while, and after your first listen, will cause you to just skip past it and go back to the start of the album

There really is no reason whatsoever to dismiss Écailles de lune, especially from those ignorant enough to deem it bad because it’s not a rooted strongly in the first or second wave Black Metal style. Instead, Alcest has composed a beautiful album that not only utilizes the basic fundamentals of this style, which is all some bands of today seem to be doing in the first place, but also built upon them to create a new and unique listening sensation that individuals who can open their minds will embrace with loving arms and is only held back by the closing song’s somewhat repetative nature. With all the experimenting going on int the Metal world today, this is one style that will hopefully catch on and become a well composed outing for those in the universe creative enough to utilize it’s full potential.

01. Écailles de lune (Part I) – 9:52
02. Écailles de lune (Part II) – 9:48
03. Perc̩es de Lumi̬re Р6:38
04. Abysses – 1:47
05. Solr Song – 5:24
06. Sur L’Océan Couleur de Fer – 8:18
Overall Score: 9/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Prophecy Productions.