Genre: Indie/ Shoegaze
Release Date: 20th January 2014
Label: Prophecy Records
ALCEST is a French Post Metal/ Alternative band, which was formed in 2000. Their first albums include Black Metal influences to a certain extent, yet, ALCEST is defined by their very own mood and atmosphere. The debut ‘Souvenirs D’Un Autre Monde’ was released in 2007 and followed by ‘Écailles De Lune’ (2010) and ‘Les Voyages De L’Âme’ (2012). With ‘Shelter’, they do not only release their first English-titled album in January 2014, but also take a huge step away from Post Metal and towards Shoegaze.
With the first tunes of ‘Wings’ this new, softer style is introduced, yet the overall mood and harmonies are still distinctly ALCEST. The following ‘Opale’ has already been introduced as first output of the band and imparts an almost hopeful atmosphere along with very catchy and dreamy melodies. Dreamy might as well be the adjective, which serves to characterize ‘Shelter’ best – the album takes the listener on a journey through different emotions and landscapes, which also offer room for own interpretations and desires. Thus, ‘Shelter’ shows a close, atmospheric resemblance to the first album ‘Souvenirs D’Un Autre Monde’, although the most recent output entirely dispenses any harsh tunes. ALCEST offer pensive and exigent tracks like ‘La Nuit Marce Avec Moi’ as well as soft, yet powerful moments in ‘Voix Sereines’.
‘L’Eveil Des Muses’ is by far the darkest track on the album, and (at least personally) forms an absolute highlight on shelter. The mood is rather melancholic, nevertheless energetic and haunting. In contrast, the title track ‘Shelter’ lightens up the mood again and convinces with different layers of instrumentation. ‘Away’ is not only one the first track of the band with lyrics in English, but it is sung by Slowdive frontman Neil Halstead. With ‘Délivrance’, the longest track of the album concludes ‘Shelter’, which maintains tension and emotion throughout ten minutes. ‘Shelter’ is a good record with a lot of variety, diverse musical colours and a dense atmosphere. This is supported by a very clear and well-balanced production. Presumably, ALCEST will appeal to a broader audience because of the lacking Metal influences, yet, some fans might be scared off by rather pop-like melodies. Nevertheless, ‘Shelter’ serves as a fine start into the musical year of 2014.
03. La Nuit Marce Avec Moi
04. Voix Sereines
05. L'Eveil Des Muses
Neige - Guitars/Bass, Synths and Vocals
Winterhalter – Drums
http://www.alcest-music.com/ / https://www.facebook.com/alcest.official
Total: 8.5 / 10