Years on from the serine glory of Les Voyages De L'Âme, I find myself poised in a spot many bands put me in when they stick with an established sound. Spiritual Instinct is French Black Metal band Alcest's sixth full length album and it predictably retains its harmony between hazy, atmospheric Black Metal and melodic Shoegazing. It sways between the darkness of cold metallic aggression and upheavals of sunny relief to birth magic in the union of previously juxtaposed musical ideas.
Its the band at their best however the now established sound fails to dig in deep, many of its songs birth the same settings and moods that have graced us before. If anything is to be said of this latest installment it is perhaps the meanest at times with guitar distortions a touch more textured and gritty. There are also a handful of plunges into the shadows as the shrill howling screams come around with more frequency between the more common middle ground of opposing styles in unison.
Sapphire and the closing title tracks do hinge into lighter territories with Post-Metal guitars loosening up the intensity for the vulnerable melodic singing to muster spurs of lush and delicate emotional movements. Protection stands out as its mid section has a fantastic building of intensity. Maniacal string swell in the background, driving the music to its highest crescendo. Perhaps the one defining moment of the whole record because otherwise it is wholly enjoyable but lacks a challenge or shift.
Favorite Track: Protection