Alcest was one of the first “post” black metal bands I heard and upon first listen, drastically reconfigured my ideas of what black metal could be.
Let’s back up for a second…
Alcest is one of many (awesome) projects from French multi-instrumentalist Neige. He’s a part of or has contributed to Forgotten Woods, Amesoeurs, Lantlôs, Peste Noire, and Celestia. All of those bands are worth your time but Alcest is the one I tend to listen to more often. Well, Peste Noire comes in close but we’re talking about Alcest.
Now here’s where things get tricky. People seem to either love or hate Alcest and their airy, light, take on black metal. Some would go as far as to claim this isn’t even metal and although on Alcest’s later material they’ve definitely drifted from black metal, I say this first album is firmly metal. Beautiful, engaging, uplifting black metal. Yes, those things exist in black metal and I’ve talked about these qualities before but for me Alcest is the patron saint of this kind of black metal. They may not have been the first band to meld this shoegaze, ambient, post, atmospherics with clean vocals, acoustic guitars, and black metal, but they’re the first I heard.
Alcest made me a sucker for this kind of music and I’ve got a soft spot for anything like this. Though they’ve drifted further into the post side of things (they have a new album scheduled for release later this year which I’ll be listening to) I’ve always enjoyed what they do, metal or not, and if I see Neige is involved in something I’ll always at least check it out, like you should with this one. I think you’ll be surprised.