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Review: Alcest - Souvenirs d'un autre monde
Souvenirs d'un autre monde

Label: Prophecy Productions
Year released: 2007
Duration: 41:20
Tracks: 6
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: September 14, 2007
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Readers Rating
Souvenirs d'un autre monde

Rated 3.56/5 (71.25%) (16 Votes)

Soothing really isn't a word you'd necessarily associate with black metal, even in its most shoe-gazing of forms. Continuing on from the strong 'Le Secret' EP, mainman Neige has added yet more melody to Alcest's first true full length, making it sound like a cross-between the 'summer' black metal purveyed by Woods of Ypres and The Killers. Yes, you read it right. If it weren't for the definite strains of black metal guitar work, this could quite easily fit in with the multitude of flavor-of-the-month bands that play downtrodden melodic rock in the world of popular music.

So, why such a high mark I hear you cry? Well, I did have a long hard think about savaging it to be honest; it's quite an oxymoron for black metal to sound quite so... well... beautiful that my brain at first shunned the idea of enjoying it in true closed-minded metaller fashion. Where were the flailing riffs? The bulldozing drums, the vitriolic vocals? All are highly noticeably absent. But, after many listens later, the black metal sensibilities shone through in their own way - melancholy, bitter nostalgia and sorrow flows from the album in torrents. Fuzzy guitars slowly weave their simplistic melodies, and the clean vocals (mainly of Neige, but with the added accompaniment of female vocals by Audrey Sylvain who is vocalist of Neige's even more melody filled project Amesoeurs) spark an almost uplifting feeling (another stark anathema in the world of the true black metaller). The drums are as simplistic as it gets, simply forming a backbone for the downhearted riffs that slowly blossom amongst the crooning vocals and occasional piano. You won't be waiting around long before you hear acoustic guitar passages either, as they're invariably interspersed throughout the whole album (I mean, some parts of album closer 'Tir Nan Og' get so lightweight that they reminded me of Enya for fucks sake.).

I'd say that, in order to enjoy this album, you'd need an open mind and a lot of patience to allow it to truly work its way under your skin. It's not going to tear your face off, kick you in the nuts and have you begging on your knees like most metal should; Alcest will only ever be your black metal lullaby for schleepy time. It's metal Jim, but not as we know it.

Track Listing:
  1. Printemps Émeraude
  2. Souvenirs d'un autre monde
  3. Les Iris
  4. Ciel Errant
  5. Sur l'autre rive je t'attendrai
  6. Tir Nan Og
Other related information on the site
Review: Ecailles de Lune (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Le Secret (reviewed by Ktb)
Video: Autre Temps
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