The Translator


BY Natalie Zina WalschotsPublished Feb 26, 2014

What is it?
Blackgaze marries the harsh, alien instrumentation of black metal with the mellower, dreamy soundscapes of shoegaze. Heavily influenced by atmospheric black metal projects like Ulver and Summoning, the genre was pioneered by French projects such as Alcest and Ameseours as early as 2005, but has recently risen to greater prominence with the success of groups like Deafheaven. The song structures and use of aural layering and "wall of sound" techniques are more directly drawn from shoegaze, utilizing gradual, looping evolutions rather than more linear or narrative progressions.

Who's Doing It?
Deafheaven, Alcest, Lantlôs, Fen, Woods of Desolation, Bosse-de-Nage, Vaura, Airs, Wistful, An Autumn For Crippled Children.

Where Should I Start?
Alcest's back catalogue, replete with lush textures and dreamy, fae-like explorations, especially Le Secret and Souvenirs d'un autre monde. For a more aggressive take, Ameseours' self-titled debut. More recently, Deafheaven's seminal Sunbather, as well as Agape, by Lantlôs, and III, by Bosse-de-Nage.

What's Next?
Australians Woods of Desolation and lauded Americans Deafheaven are leading the charge. The genre seems to be mellowing further, as evidenced by the Sunbather and Alcest's latest, Shelter. For something more emotionally gripping, Woods of Desolation's new As The Stars is harrowing.

Latest Coverage