Alcest CD reviewed by Luc Rodgers
Sep 20, 2007, 15:14
ALCEST Souvenirs d'Un Autre Monde CD
2005 saw a promising artist named Alcest release a demo entitled Le Secret. In it, black metal was infused with atmospheric elements to create a calming rush of sound that could be enjoyable to many more than the simple black metal release. Good ideas sprang up here and there decorating the release with an anticipation of the follow up. Yes, Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde has arrivedâ€¦and this is why no one cares:
Metal artists like to bring in aspects of other genres to add a certain flair to their message—strings, choruses, even jazz piano—and, for the most part, have succeeded (see Behemoth's The Apostosy and Shining's V/Halmstad). In doing so, metal continues to evolve and entice both fans and non—to keep listening. It is, after all, a fairly young sound still growing into its hand-me-downs of blues-based rock and roll. What has Alcest done with so much potential? Retreated to “Fairy Land” (more on that in a bit) and released a shoegaze record.
“Printemps Emeraude” starts out with an almost metal sounding cymbal/guitar crescendo, leading into, well, more intro. This is when the effected, wall-of-sound guitars stuff your ears with complete unoriginality. The drums retreat in half time. The intro is played again, then, a break. Thin acoustic guitar brings in the next part, which is, unfortunately, the intro yet again, only this time the vocals-as-instrument solidify the liquid idea that someone had the gall to release this in the hopes that someone cared. Seven-plus minutes of “atmosphere” slump by without a single damn thing happening.
The title track comes in sounding as if the first one never stopped. Same tempo, same sounds, same overused (already) acoustic guitar. On and on it crawls into “Les Iris” where the first wink of metal is heard, a double bass. It doesn't matter, though, because the song remains nearly identical to its predecessors. “Ciel Errant” begins in what seems to be a college band from 1994 creeping into a heartfelt, love-lost song only to be blanketed by (clearing of the throat) the same drone. Finishing the album, “Tir Nan Og” finally strays from the formula only to become a rhythmic, new age pile of drivel.
Neige, the lone man behind Alcest, is to blame for all of these atrocities. The seeming soundtrack to a horrific shopping experience for the annoying relative in a half-ass meditation candle shop is the conveyance of his rapport with the Fairy Land:
“My goal with Alcest is to transpose in musique my memories of this Fairy Land, my visions, what I have felt because all of this is far too uncomprehensive and difficult to explain: I have a hard time to talk about it. These memories influence greatly my way of thinking and hold an important position in my existence.”
This is the music of Fairy Land, which does not exist, and neither should this release. Alcest is nothing but gross self-indulgence in the highest degree, where you steal from the already forgotten tombs of 90's alternative swill. [Profound Lore under license from Prophecy Productions]