When I discovered Alcest back in the time when they released their first album, ‘Souvenirs d’autre Monde‘, I was enthralled by their defining and inventive sound that mixed the cold dissonance of black metal with the dreamy sounds of shoegaze. It was the start of a movement that was quickly baptized as “blackgaze”. Quite some other post-metal acts followed with a similar sound. But Alcest always sort of remained on top, leading the pack. I must admit that I lost track of them a bit once the amount of black metal went to nil since I sort of needed that contradiction between that harshness and dreaminess of their older music. However, when I heard the single ‘Protection’, it brought me back to those early heydays and to this point where I’m checking out ‘Spiritual Instinct‘, Alcest‘s latest release.
Opening track ‘Les Jardins De Minuit‘ straight away confirmed to me that this is the Alcest I fell in love with ages ago. It’s dreamy with the right amount of black metal touches and simply takes you away from this earthly plane. Their site’s tagline “Music from another world” is simply right on the money. Put Alcest‘s music on, close your eyes and let yourself drift off to a better place. From start to finish this record is consistently at the same time honest and fantastic, polished and raw, dreamy and down-to-earth. The pure talent of Neige to write these epic musical tales is undeniable and the world is better for it.
‘Sapphire‘ is so catchy that I’d swear I’ve heard the melody before. While with ‘L’île Des Morts‘ you get that typical lengthy epic track that changes rhythm and tone several times, kicking off with a undeniable groove interlaced with the typical ethereal singing to almost halfway revert to the dissonance and screaming of black metal. ‘Le Miroir‘ begins rather foreboding and grim to end up in an almost angelic sound with mesmerizing vocals from Neige. And album closer and title track ‘Spiritual Instinct‘ continues that path mostly.
Alcest‘s new album ‘Spiritual Instinct‘ is not a complete return to old form, but manages to intertwine their early sound with their recent experiences with the more pure shoegaze sound. The sound is clearly more polished, but luckily doesn’t take anything away from the amazing music, raw moments and mesmerizing atmosphere. Another piece of magic in this world for sure. By the way, don’t forget to watch the short documentary that was published alongside the release of the album:
Release date: October 25th, 2019
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
- Les Jardins De Minuit
- L’île Des Morts
- Le Miroir
- Spiritual Instinct