May 14, 2009

2007: Alcest - Souvernirs D'un Autre Monde

The first thing that strikes you when you turn on this record is the blazing layers of distortion, loose and minimalistic drumming and otherworldly vocals. I guess this is the sort of feel multi-instrumentalist Neige wanted to achieve with his debut solo project, the title meaning "Memories of Another World" and all. But one can't help but recognize that the droning riffs and the fast drum beats has some overtones from the previous black metal music Neige has been doing, but that is only a part of the music which is heavily influenced by the walls of guitar distortion of My Bloody Valentine.
The music falls under the label which surfaced in the 90' called 'Shoegaze' where the music heavily relied on spacey and noisy guitar effects, while at the same time creating hooky pop melodies with lush vocals as Neige demonstrates here. The dark ambient feel of the album can be compared to Justin Broadrick's Jesu, though on the more industrial side employs large waves of distortion and similar vocals. And like My Bloody Valentine the songs are heavily based on the guitar work, with several guitar tracks and melodic hooks (without the pop-influence).
Theres also acoustic guitars to be found within the songs, Alcest certainly delivers one of the better new shoegaze records of the 00's, but it also stands as a remarkable record on it's own, without the help of a single guitar solo.

Score: 8/10

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