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AlcestTurock, Essen, Germany
2nd October 2018
Alcest & Vampillia

After an amazing sold-out co-headliner tour with MONO in 2016 and guest appearances at ANATHEMA shows in 2018, the French band ALCEST came back to German stages to play the ‘Kodama’ album in full length. With the pushing Blackgaze and Neige’s remarkable voice, all concerts are something special. Especially on this evening the mood was great and the sold-out Turock was bursting at all seams. VAMPILLIA and ALCEST were at their best and created one of the most memorable concert evenings.


VAMPILLIA is the next alternative music from Osaka where BOREDOMS had rised. Vocal, Guitar, Bass, Strings, Piano, Noise and several drums sounds are harmonized as one but it's difficult what's kind of music this is. It is 'a beautiful chaos. /

Music & Performance
At the beginning of the concert it is already full at the Turock in Essen. However, no one yet knows what exactly VAMPILLIA is or does. Completely perplexed faces and a mood that says “cancel the opening act, we’re here for ALCEST” at the beginning. Then, when a sweeping violin-guitar-piano-intro is initially calm and sensual, most feel confirmed in their first assessment. Gradually, the rest of the six instrumentalists come on stage with bass, guitar and drums.

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There is no room left, but front man メイヘム (possession mongoloid) does not bother that. He stands at the centre of the stage, right in front of his bassist. From now begins a madness that one must have experienced. With played (or real?) bipolar disorder, the singer switches between bliss and self-destruction, rage and stagnation. Extreme Metal combined with Classical music in a way that seems possible in Japan only. Reverent Post-Rock with Grindcore pig screams, violent outbursts and crooked melodies. Sometimes the micro is just left out; you can hear the screamer easily in the last row. But cacophony is far from it and the audience, that does not understand what is happening on stage, does the only thing that is possible with so many feelings in the heart. It claps and cheers from full chest already after the first song.

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The microphone becomes an arm extension and claps against the head, the fist against his own jaw. When the singer puts one of his bare feet on the shoulders of the audience, then jumps off the stage, splits the crowd, pushes them forward and encourages everyone to join in, one believes that madness never ends. And so it comes as it has to come: the bassist, who was reasonably sensible on stage until now, rips off his shirt, passes a garbage can into the audience and jumps into it to the last note. Headfirst! The jaw that is just open, now finally claps on the floor. VAMPILLIA use extremes everywhere. Musicians who serve their instruments at the highest level, combinations of styles that could not be more different and so much variety in a song that you do not remember in the end, how the song has begun. “Totally crazy” absolutely applies here.

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01. Fenghuang
02. Some Nightmares Take You
03. Aurora Rainbow Darkness
04. Fedor
05. Lost
06. NIJI
07. Fuck You
08. Holy Shit, Mother Fucker
09. New Song
10. Von
11. Winter Ash
12. ggggzzgggzzz
13. Endless Summer
14. Big Murder Mountain

Music: 9
Performance: 10
Sound: 8
Light: 9
Total: 9 / 10

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ALCEST was founded in the year 2000 by songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Neige (aka. Stéphane Paut) and later joined by drummer Winterhalter (Jean Deflandre) in 2009. Labelled as Post Metal / Shoegaze or “Blackgaze”, ALCEST were the pioneers within this genre, crafting a unique sound based on musical opposites from their very first EP, ‘Le Secret’ (2005), and thru their full length releases, ‘Souvenirs D’Un Autre Monde’ (2007), ‘Écailles De Lune’ (2010) and ‘Les Voyages De L’Âme’ (2012). In 2014 their fourth album, ‘Shelter’, was released, marking the band’s departure from the more metal sound, in favour of dream-pop aesthetics, surprising and somewhat challenging their fan base. In retrospective, the album opened new doors for ALCEST, bringing them an audience from different horizons and a positive sense of unpredictability as musicians. Now ALCEST stands for “Music from another world”.

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‘Kodama’ (2016), the fifth album by ALCEST, marks the French duo’s ferocious return to the epic and contrasted style of its early works while continuing the band’s relentless pursuit for fresh ideas; combining poetic elements with darker ones. Originally triggered by Hayao Miyazaki’s anime film ‘Princess Mononoke’, ‘Kodama’ picks up on the fate of its protagonist and, at its core, deals with the sensation of not belonging; of living in between worlds, be it city and nature, the physical and spiritual one. By giving the album a cultural, stylistic and compositional narrative, Neige and Winterhalter keep ‘Kodama’ from just being the latest improvement on the ALCEST sound and instead make the album a most rare and exciting thing: a vital, relevant record from a front runner that not only upholds the band’s trailblazing legacy, but actually makes you want to see where they go next. /

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Music & Performance
Can ALCEST still add a notch as you would like after this entry into the evening? Of course they can! Compared to VAMILLIA, the band is extremely quiet with their introverted singer Neige, who cannot be disturbed by absolutely anything, and just inspires anyone in the room. The album ‘Kodama‘ is in focus today and already to the first sounds there is applause for minutes. First-class sound, accompanied by an atmospheric light show, shows the musically rousing performance, the perfected melancholy, in comparison to ‘Shelter‘, stronger rough passages, the euphonious melodies. Neige eternally smiles and the backing vocals of live guitarist Zero bring all the songs of the album and a series of masterpieces of every single ALCEST album into a whole bundle for a captivating show.

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ALCEST perfect the effect of their program with their quiet certainty. It does not need to be shown what pain is, nor how authentic the songs are. They say goodbye to the fans after a 90-minute world-class performance, and for the last time a pleasant shiver went down the spine: Thank you for sharing this with us.

01. Kodama
02. Eclosion
03. Je suis d’ailleurs
04. Untouched
05. Oiseaux de proie
06. Onyx
07. Souvenirs d’un autre monde
08. Percées de lumière
09. Autre temps
10. Sur L’océan Couleur De Fer
11. Là où naissent les couleurs nouvelles
12. Délivrance

Music: 10
Performance: 9
Sound: 10
Light: 10
Total: 9.8 / 10

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All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( /

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