Friday, 4 November 2016

Alcest "Kodama" (2016)

French Shoegazing band Alcest have made waves in the past from their unique fusion with Black Metal, taking their hazy guitars to bleaker tones and pairing them with shrill screams between harmonious singing. On this record they distance themselves a little from the darker side of their sound and dive further into the introspective sounds of Post-Metal. Like a band that know their craft well, Alcest churn out another handful of enigmatic tracks illuminated by a keen sense of colorful melancholy melodies that weave in and out of their hazy, thick guitars that continually shift the musics pace with varying intensities.

Its a similar affair to 2012's "Les Voyages De L'Âme". With less screaming and darkness the band swim through similar waters which made it less remarkable for me. These songs are gorgeous, full of transitions between smothering guitars and acoustic interludes that fluidly explore the juxtaposition in their sound and to much merit can so swiftly move between gentle melodies to harrowing screams and dense guitar chord shredding with no rigidity. "Je Suis D'allieurs" sounds almost parallel "Nous Sommes L'emeraude" in its opening stages, something that most of this record does, echo moments from a previous record.

Its a strange criticism of a band you enjoy when they do the same thing, personally I think progression is important for musicians, hearing the same thing over and over rarely works. "Untouched" and "Notre Sang Et Nos Pensées" steer further towards spacious Post-Metal sounds, which give some freshness to the record. The records shortest "Oynx" hums a bleak and hurtful atmosphere of sorrow through heavily narrowed guitar distortions and bass guitar bleeding into one another for a peak into a grave moment of existence. These breaks from the norm where exciting in an otherwise predictable, yet truly serene listening experience.

Favorite Tracks: Kodama, Onyx
Rating: 6/10

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