Alcest is a French post-black metal rock band founded in 2000 by Neige, the group's frontman and primary songwriter, along with bassist Kriss and drummer Simon. Alongside being integral to black metal's atmospheric sub-genre, the band has also helped define what is to become known as the "shoegaze" scene in metal.
The trio released their debut full-length album, Souvenirs d'un Autre Monde, independently in 2007 - though this was preceded by two EPâ€™s, Tristesse dâ€™un Papillon and Le Secret, both released in 2005. They continue to release other albums to broad acclaim such as Ã‰cailles de Lune (2009), Les Voyages De L'Ã‚me (2011 / 2012), Shelter (2014) and Kodama (2016).
The â€˜Spiritual Black Metalâ€™ project started by Neige, in Laval, France in 2000 was originally formed as a solo project instead of a group. Since he started playing post-black metal in the early 2000s, Alcest has been making waves in both the European and US rock / metal circuits with their hauntingly extensive and melodic sounds.Â
The bandsâ€™ compilation of musical and lyrical themes owes its intensity in its representation emotions of euphoria, nostalgia and sometimes even longing. All these themes are supported by Neigeâ€™s diverse instrumentation, ranging from acoustic guitar, spoken word droning and dreamy keys. Neigeâ€™s aspiration when the project first began was to focus on textures, atmospheres and melodies that evoke emotion and they achieved it by â€œstockpilingâ€ many tremendous looks and feels to produce their effectual music.
When crafting their music, Alcest pursues two routes. Synths play a major role in producing a dreamy and ecstatic sound, augmented by Nicola Mazzei (also from Alice Nâ€™ Chains) on organ chords that hold a pronounced modern-Synth driven sound. In saying this, the rest of the instrumentation deserves such recognition too, particularly Zero on heavily distorted bass.
Whilst gaining high praise in both critical and fan reviews, skewering support from BBC 6 adopting the band as well as touring majors like Download Festival, Alcest have expressed their abilities for creating major and significant stories with their emotive album pieces. Alcestâ€™s music has - at times - sent immortalizing narrations by allowing the listener to escape traditional struggles of every day life. Their creation is to let go of the things that haunt them and in return receiving peace and closure. Int expression if viewed is actually extremely positivity affecting.
The message Alcest continue to deliver is what sparks interest amongst its rock fanbase. The lyrical lifeline gracefully guides whilst the comfort of Neigeâ€™s elected instrumentals draw sound together. These lyrical messages keep the project intriguing in its own realistic way.
Overall, Alcest is a stunningly creative and truly unique musical group and enough cannot be said on how captivating their trancey black and post-black metal is. By finding a definitive narrative, layering his music with quite intense musical explorations and constructing an array of fragrances to contradict traditional shoegaze outlets, Neige and his distinctive project evolved its way to creating such an impressive fanbase that definitely cannot be compared. Ultimately, Alcest being responsible for the unitization between metal and the â€˜shoegazeâ€™ scene and blending essential qualities between the two makes them highly acclaimed in 2020 â€“ 17 years since they began.