Review: Alcest – Kodama – Prophecy Productions – Release: 30–09-2016.
I was pretty late to the Alcest party. Famed for broadening many horizons with their Black Shoegaze metal it was not until “Shelter” that I got into the band. A whole different side of the band for sure and because I had not previous encounters with the band it ended up being my #1 album of 2014. It sure was a dividing album, so fans were very eager to see what path Neige would walk with “Kodama”.
Neige – Guitars/bass, synths and vocals
Winterhalter – Drums
Right off the bat title track ‘Kodama’ makes it clear that this album will be a perfect fusion of new and old! There is clearly the old harshness in guitars and drums, yet the softer more dream-like state of “Shelter” is very much alive in here. Coupling the two styles together makes for some of the most energetic moments tranquillity you’ll ever have. Never shying away from long tracks this is a way to open up an album, over nine minutes of black shoegaze bliss and Neige’s enticing dreamy voice. There is so much stuff happening in just the opening song that it could count for half an album’s worth!
‘Eclosion’ clearly harkens back to earlier days as the mood is less joyful, even violent with blast beats, and at times quite mournful, especially when Neige brings back his tormented soul-like screams. And all of a sudden you’re amidst an ocean of calm before plunging back in. So far this album is a perfect marriage of calm waters and a heavy storm.
The same feeling is further strengthened with the harsher ‘Je Suis D’Ailleurs’ which recalls the older albums again, where ‘Untouched’ has more in common with “Shelter”.
Yet as a departure from this old versus new feel ‘Oiseaux De Proie’ comes in as an entirely new beast, clearly looking forward to meshing all of the Alcest music with new influences. It will certainly be interesting to hear where Alcest can go from here. It will probably be another journey into dreams and your entryway into those breaks might well be guided by the mystical ‘Onyx’, which straddles the line between soundscape and full-fledged instrumental closer. Let’s hope the future will be brighter than this song, because even though it’s beautiful, it’s one of the saddest sounding songs I’ve heard by Alcest.
After the fan-dividing “Shelter” Alcest have created an album that manages to form a perfect marriage between sound of old and new, whilst keeping a sharp eye open towards to the future. I can’t wait to hear these songs performed live, so it’s a good thing that they’ll be on the road again soon, together with Mono from Japan!
Score: 4.8 out of 5
3.Je Suis D’Ailleurs
5. Oiseaux De Proie
Text by: Robert Popovic