Alcest is fast becoming one of the biggest names in the shoegaze/black metal subgenre. It’s main driving force is a guy called Neige. He uses Alcest as a vehicle for his dreams and musical vision. The two previous albums, namely “Souvenirs D’un Autre Monde” (2007) and “Écailles De Lune” (2010) received a lot of praise from critics and fans alike. “Les Les Voyages De L’Âme” is the title of Neige’s latest brainchild. Let’s take a closer look.
With two successful albums under your belt it’s hard to come up with at least an equally solid album. I thoroughly enjoyed the synergy between the shoegaze/post rock elements and the black metal parts which characterised the previous Alcest album. On “Les Voyages De L’Âme” Neige decided to go back to the “Souvenirs D’un Autre Monde” days, which translates into a bigger emphasis on the ethereal side of his music and significantly decreasing any black metal traces. This makes song material on this album less edgy, but it does enhance the meditative quality of tracks like ‘Autre Temps,’ ‘Faiseurs De Mondes’ and the title track. Neige’s warm vocals and the acoustic guitar parts do the rest.
Despite all the meticulous arrangements and incredible rich textures, the album has some weaker moments as well. A few songs are just a tad too long for their own good and that causes them to go on and on without any sense of direction. ‘Là où Naissent les Couleurs Nouvelles’ and ‘Summer’s Glory’ are examples of this. Both compositions start off brilliantly, but as they progress they tend to get bogged down. However, “Les Voyages De L’Âme” still has some very impressive moments to offer, with ‘Beings Of Light,’ ‘Faiseurs de Mondes’ and the aforementioned title track being some of the finest music Neige has ever written.
“Les Voyages De L’Âme” isn’t the masterpiece I expected it to be. That being said, this album still has enough magical moments on offer to satisfy even the most demanding lover of this type of dreamy music. Just don’t expect am “Écailles De Lune part II”…