Title: Les Voyages de L’Âme
Genre: Shoegaze / Black Metal
Release: 6th January 2012
Label: Prophecy Productions
In 2012, the French atmospheric black metal band ALCEST are ready to release their third full-length studio album titled 'Les Voyages De L'Âme', which translates to "Journeys Of The Soul". This is a Shoegaze-oriented album with very few black metal elements. The melodies draw out more and seem to take their own adventures into enchanted forests and crystalline springs before working their way back towards the songs conclude. Neige's clean vocals tie into the majestic picture, painting waves over water, flowers that dance in merriment, elves and sprites among thousands of acres of eternal great oaks. The fans have been waiting for a long time but it all seems to be a matter of perfection...
Yes, 'Les Voyages de L'Âme' presents the most intimate and introverted concept out of ALCEST's whole discographic history, where the frailty and sensibility of these 8 expressions on stall will make many new victims, this time not only among Metal or Post-Rock fans. But you need to listen closely to identify the new insertions and multiple valences of the fresh sound. The album's first sequence 'Autre Temps' is atmospheric and dreamy and so Neige's warm and calm voice flies over. For the second track of the album, 'Là Où Naissent Les Couleurs Nouvelles', you'll get a first impression of the musical and tonal range representing this album. The album's title track comes with extremely rich guitar sound making it one of the most powerful and impressive songs on the album. It surely has a strong impact on the listener.
There are sequences in 'Nous Sommes L'emeraude', where the vocals have a crucial role in the simple rhythms filled with melody but continue also the melancholic line of the previous track. 'Beings of Light' takes ethereal sounding vocals and synths with some of the most black-metal inspired material yet. 'Faiseurs de Mondes' and 'La Ou Naissent Les Coulers Nouvelles' are for me the best songs on this album and perhaps the best pieces Neige has composed and performed in his career. 'Havens' is an only 2 minutes interlude, I would find placed better as an outro. The album ends with 'Summer's Glory', like a relaxing track with a relaxing voice and relaxing rhythm.
I'm content with the album and I'm glad they don't continuously repeat the direction they created. The most interesting thing to me is the varying degree with which the aggressive and mellow sections have been combined together. I can only agree with Andrew Bansal, who wrote in his review for www.metalassault.com: "The title of the album is very apt, because it really is like a journey of the soul: dreamy, thought-provoking, and captivatingly brilliant." ALCEST have shown their class as musicians on this album. While each of the eight tracks definitely sound like they belong to this album, each one has an identity, a musical style and song structure of its own.
01. Autre Temps
02. Là Où Naissent Les Couleurs Nouvelles
03. Les Voyages De L’Âme
04. Nous Sommes L’Emeraude
05. Beings Of Light
06. Faiseurs De Mondes
08. Summer’s Glory
Neige – Guitars / Bass, Synthesizer, Vocals
Winterhalter – Drums
http://www.alcest-music.com / http://www.myspace.com/alcestmusic
Total: 9.5 / 10