Écailles de Lune

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Band Name Alcest
Album Name Écailles de Lune
Type Album
Released date 29 March 2010
Recorded at Drudenhaus Studios
Music StyleAtmospheric Metal
Members owning this album288


 Écailles de Lune (Part. I)
 Écailles de Lune (Part. II)
 Percées de Lumière
 Solar Song
 Sur l'Océan Couleur de Fer

Total playing time: 41:47

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Review @ Panzerjager

27 January 2011

Dreaming woven to a musical trance

Black Metal from France is largely known for its sheer rawness, icecold atmosphere, controversial image and slight scene rivalry but most of all for its outstanding Black metal. Alcest is no exception but took a different course than most other French bands. This band, formed by Neige, started with raw Black metal on tehir first EP in the genre of Burzum or Darkthrone. But today the sound is focused more on the dreamy athmosphere. This could be already heard on 'Souvenirs d'Autre Monde'. The style of Alcest is disputable: some call it atmospherical Black while others name it Shoegaze Black. The last one is derived from their stage presence.

Ecailles de Lune (which means Scales of the Burzum) continues with this dreamy, trance-inducing style. But EdL has more cohesion than Souvenirs. You can hear a certain link between the 6 songs of this album. This album can really induce some kind of trance after a while, especially when Alcest plays live.

Ecailles is about 41 minutes long what is in fact the perfect duration for this album: long enough to enjoy the atmosphere at full and short enough to avoid a bored listener. However Alcest is a completly different style than most other Black Metal bands; some fans will say Alcest is too slow or not raw enough... This sound needs a certain adaption. Alcests style can be compared a bit to that of Agalloch.

On EdL, Neige uses both clean vocals as black metal screams, which keeps the whole interesting. The first song: Ecailles de Lune consist of two parts. The first is lighter , while the second part offers a bigger Black metal feel. The guitarwork is perfectly fit for this sort of music but don't expect a complex solo or riff.The drums are a bit worse, sometimes they are too much on the background or even absent for too long. The instrumental song "Abysses" offers more diversity.

Alcest made a great album filled with magical Atmospherical Black Metal. It reaches the atmospherical very well, nearly trance-inducing. However this band leaves the path of 'traditional Black metal'. There are post-rock influences. For certain people this album will offer a bit too less variation or speed. Perhaps I can finish this review with a comparison: It's like woven dreams: light dreams and raw, dark nightmares combined in one work. Some might like these dreams, others will avoid them."

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Satanicarchangel - 10 June 2012: One of my favourite albums, great review \m/
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Review @ Satanicarchangel

13 June 2012

One of my favorite albums of all time

Écailles de Lune along with Exoplanet by The Contortionist, Far Away From the Sun by Sacramentum, Absence by Noumena, Hvis Lyset Tar Oss by Burzum, Zrcadlení Melancholie by Trist, Róka Hasa Rádió by Thy Catafalque, and Something Wild by Children of Bodom; is one of the few albums I would consider perfect. I love everything about this release, the music, the vocals everything is brilliantly executed.

Now if you're into Black Metal then you no doubt are aware of Alcest. This band has been dividing the opinions of Black Metal fans since day one. One half is over ecstatic about them believing Neige is transcending the genre and bringing it into new and exciting territories the other half(mainly the purists) don't get all the hype, refer to Alcest as boring and pretentious and also say "it's not Black Metal". Okay how the hell is this release not Black Metal? It's got the shrieked vocals and the hazy, tremolo picked dissonant riffs. Yes it has some non metal elements thrown in mainly Shoegaze. But apart from that the sound is clearly rooted in Black Metal. The only things that aren't Black Metal about this release is the lyrics and the image. But when have they ever been the decisive factors in what genre something is? Never in my personal opinion. Now I personally believe that Black Metal is able to reach out and incorporate lots of new sounds into the mix. I don't believe that it should stick to the same formula popularized by the likes of Darkthrone and Burzum. As much as I love these bands I just don't feel that all Black Metal bands should follow the same formula. Black Metal shouldn't be confined to just one particular sound, it should be able to expand, and create new and original varieties of it. This release is a perfect example of this, the sound is rooted in Black Metal but it incorporates lots of different elements into it.

The main phrase that gets thrown around when describing the music of Alcest is Shoegaze. Now I'll be honest with you here this isn't a genre I was too familiar with when I picked it up. In all fairness I've never listened or even heard of the genre before I started getting into this variety of Black Metal commonly referred to as Blackgaze or Post-Black. Now if you know of Shoegaze bands like My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Bailter Space you're probably thinking how can that be mixed with Black Metal. I probably would have felt the same if I knew what Shoegaze was when I heard of this band. Black Metal and Shoegaze seem to be polar opposites. Black Metal is barbarous and feral where as Shoegaze is calm and serene. But surprisingly there are a few things in common with them. Both favor hazy distorted guitars and both Shoegaze and some Black Metal bands (mainly those of the atmospheric variety) specialize in creating dreamy soundscapes though in differing ways. Alcest creates the perfect mixture of both of these genres. Though this release does lean more towards Black Metal rather than their other two releases there is still a hefty amount of Shoegaze present on this album. The most notable usage of this is the fifth track Solar Song that does away with a lot of Black Metal elements and the final track which has no Metal incorporated into it what so ever.

The Black Metal elements present on this album are brilliantly written and executed perfectly. Neige's vocals are astonishing. He doesn't use the usual Black Metal rasp but instead favors more of a high pitched shriek. They're very harsh and feral and fit perfectly in with the rest of the music. The riffs are very good on this album. They are very melodic and memorable. Although they're not as shrill and buzzing as conventional Black Metal acts they still have a hazy, dissonant essence to them. One thing that I really like about this release is the usage of clean guitars. Clean guitars seem to be quite uncommon in the Black Metal scene. Though they are used quite often in Melodic Black Metal and Depressive Black Metal they're sparse in conventional Black Metal. Alcest pulls off these sections brilliantly and they are at times breathtakingly beautiful, they're a perfect fit and help to make this album an absolute masterpiece.

I wasn't paying much attention to the bass and drums during this album because I was too entranced by the hypnotizing guitars and the magnificent vocals of Neige to pay much attention. But they do offer quite a bit of variety in how they are played. The drums actually offer up some differing rhythms and beats. This is a welcome change from the constant blast beating that dominates most of the genre. The bass also offers up some good parts. The bass eschews the usage of the old formula of mimicking the guitars. The bass is most prominent in the third track Percées de Lumière, it offers up some good parts and offers a great back drop to the guitars.

This is a great release and as I previously mentioned is one of my favorite albums of all time and one of the only few I would consider perfect. I can't find anything negative to say about this release it's that good. If you're looking for some forward thinking Black Metal that isn't afraid to transcend the genres boundaries then you can't go wrong with this one. If you're just getting into Alcest I would highly suggest listening to this one first as it is no doubt their best release. If you didn't like Alcest's first album then I would still recommend picking this up as it is vastly different in style and it may just change your mind about them. Of course this album will do little to convince the purists but I've never been bothered about their opinions anyway.

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