2. Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde
3. Les Iris
4. Ciel Errant
5. Sur L'autre Rive Je T'attendrai
6. Tir Nan Og
Considering Alcest began as a raw black metal project, this record might seem like quite a contrast. However, with black metallers such as Ulver and Dead Reptile Shrine taking their chosen genre to far off aural locales and warping black metal almost beyond recognition, this is not incredibly surprising. The difference here is the fact that those projects still bear the blackened mark of BM, whereas Alcest forgoes it entirely. The lone participant of Alcest, Neige, has created an album of beautiful, sprawling, and at several times Jesu-like metal. The influence of black metal is mostly nonexistent.
In fact, so much of this bears the sonic stamp of Justin Broadrick's Jesu, it could almost be a tribute. Neige is making no bones about his love of dreamy shoegaze. My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Smashing Pumpkins (yeah, I know, not so much a shoegaze act) shine through in moments, but the more I listen to this record, the more it sounds like a French language release of Jesu's Conqueror. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you. Souvenirs is a prettier record than Conqueror, with floating, ethereal vocals and lilting, delicate melodies.
By far the best non-black metal black metal record of the year.
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