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A Resplendent Merging of Black Metal and Shoegaze - 95%

FuneralDoomed23, May 26th, 2010

I have only listened to "Ecailles de lune" about three or four times now, I never heard music so beautiful and dreamlike yet with tinges of a lingering lonesomeness and pain. There is an extreme sense of longing in this album. Neige really is a talented musician to be able to incorporate the dichotomies of black metal with new age, post-rock and shoegaze. It is such a unique idea for a metal album, and it turns out it is absolutely astonishing.

I have been having a real hard time trying to find that one album that really makes me think about everything before me as well as ahead. So many memories immediately made themselves known after listening to the tracks off of "Ecailles de lune". The one-two punch of "Ecailles de Lune (Part 1 and 2)" are so mesmerizing, images of the loved ones of my past felt like they entered the room with me and sat there with me listening to these two tracks. Though there is a sense of anger and pain in these two tracks as well, the rasps Neige incorporated in Part 2 were very sudden, and chilling like something very dark and terrible bubbled to the surface. I feel pain is like that, there are those ethereal vocal jaunts he uses to show that maybe he really loved and cared for someone, but the rasps showed the pain that the said person caused him.

The other tracks on this album have their own poignant/nostalgic elements and beautiful parts; the track "Percess De Lumiere" is probably the most "metal" sounding song there is some great uptempo beautiful riffs on this song, this song invokes a feeling of driving down a highway in the mountains with the full moon high in the sky, you can see the cascading peaks speed by and you can see memories speed by like flash photography, little snippets of faces. laughs, and voices of people who entered or left your life. Then we come to the track "Abysses" I wish this song wasn't in the album it kind of ruins the flow of the music, I wish Neige could of done another great full song here instead of making it a bridge to "Solar Song" it also seems to counter with the rest of the themes found in the album, it sounded like something Leviathan would do, not Alcest. "Abysses" is the reason why I gave this a 95 instead of a 100.

The last two tracks are really interesting, "Solar Song" is gorgeous and when you hear it, it hearkens back to a song "My Bloody Valentine" would of done. The shoegaze element is most prominent in this track. When I listened to "Solar Song" it brought such a catharsis to myself, all the stresses of life and work just disappeared for a brief moment in time. The vocals soar like wind , and the guitar riffing drones on in a beautiful controlled manner. The last track " Sur L'Ocean Couleur De Fer " is probably the most interesting, and complete song, there are elements of folk, new age, post rock, black metal all put into one monstrous track. When I heard it it reminded me of a longer version of Draconian's track "Akherousia" I could picture journeying into a different realm, beyond the ocean, beyond everything. If the most vivid dreams I ever had were put into music this would be the song.

Alcest has given the metal world a beautiful album to listen to. There is nothing else like it that I have heard. I think anyone from any musical leaning would find some appreciation for "Ecailles de lune" there is just something everyone can get from this album in some way or another. I hope Neige continues to grow and develop as a musician because he really has a unique idea that can definitely be stretched to infinite possibilities. It really sounds like he is putting his whole heart and soul into this album, like he did in "Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde" and I hope he continues to make excellent albums.