Alcest Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde

The evolution of doom metal as of late is a rather fascinating study that seems to result in a need for more beauty and less ugliness. One only needs to hear the latest works of celebrated metal bands such as Jesu, Isis, Boris and Cult of Luna to see that they’re more in touch with acts like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive than their aggressive origins. The same case can be made for France’s Alcest, who at one point were a black metal trio and because of creative differences became the solo project of founder/songwriter Neige. Also a member of satanic black metallers Peste Noir, Neige moves even further away from his past on his debut album, which follows up 2005’s two-song EP Le Secret. Souvenirs D’un Autre Monde (Memories of Another World) falls even deeper into a shoegazing abyss, one where Neige has removed the primal screaming of his EP’s "Elévation” in order to present a more organic, dreamlike state of consciousness. His vocals are now completely benevolent, which sets up a terrific contrast on "Les Iris,” a song that combines hostile drumming and roaring guitar reverberation with his gentle delivery, which mirrors Justin K. Broadrick’s similar battle between soft and heavy. "Tir Nan Og,” on the other hand, is from another planet, shunning any desire to live a metallic existence, instead opting for a virtuous path through luminous acoustic instrumentation. Alcest may be confusing to gauge but as the future of metal continues to shift, there’s no question that Souvenirs D’un Autre Monde has a place to thrive. Even the most devout grind fiend can appreciate the beauty in Neige’s mission. (Profound Lore)