For most of it’s existence Alcest has been a one man project leaded by Frenchman Neige. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, it has always been lumped in with the black metal crowd, despite having as much shoegaze and post-metal influences in his work. Beginning in 2000 and originally intending to be a project of pure black metal, Alcest has come a long way since.
When prompted by the press who questioned whether his music was ‘cold’ and ‘sinister’, Neige reiterated that his work in Alcest is based on a fantasy land created in his imagination as a child. With the music giving the spiritual backdrop to this imaginary place, Neige has succeeded in weaving together lush melodies to create an intricate world of escapism with Escailles De Lune.
Whether you’re heavily involved amongst a slowed down section of beautiful guitar and echoing harmonies, or occupied by a paced BM structure with hypnotically divine riffs, you’ll find yourself a part of the imaginary world that Neige has created.
Escailles De Lune (Part I) has an entrancing start and goes on to burst with some magical work, all the time illustrating this out-of-worldly feel. Abysses treads over a brief patch of ambience to constitute as a mid-break before the sumptuous, unbreakable vocals on Solar Song.
Joined by Winterhalter (former drummer for Les Discrets and Amesoeurs), Neige now has a full time member behind the kit. He does a stellar job on Escailles De Lune, allowing the founder himself to concentrate on melodic strength.
Previous full length Souvenirs D’un Autre Monde was a spectacular piece, and outshining the debut would have taken an extremely fine effort. I’m still unsure whether it’s possible. I’d prefer to see Escailles De Lune as a continuation of Neige’s amazing work, essentially being as good as Alcest ever have, which is certainly not a negative criticism.