When my bandmate called me in the middle of the night to tell me about this new band he couldn’t stop listening to, I was intrigued. How could a one-man project go from raw black metal to something of the shoegaze realm with black metal influences? This is exactly how it should happen.
I have been listening to both black metal and shoe gaze since I was 11. Ten years later, I still have a great amount of respect for both genres. Black metal has lost it’s flare in recent years and the newer genre of depressive black metal has shown great progress. I’ve been playing in a shoegaze band for almost a year and a half now, and that is where my heart lies. I never thought the two could ever meld. But then, Souvenirs d’Un Autre Monde shows up, seemingly out of nowhere.
This album is the most beautifully sad music I’ve heard in years. It’s crushing in the sense that it overwhelms the listener right from the beginning. Loud cymbals get swallowed up by a distinctly black-metal riff, and the sound becomes overwhelming. It’s immediately clear that this is no black metal album. The wall of sound is supplemented by minimalist riffing with a crystal-clear tone. Vocally, Neige’s tone is hauntingly beautiful. It sits like a grey cloud over the music, and I mean that in the best way possible. Track 4, Ciel Errant, is where this album shines. An acoustic intro is thrown straight into a solid riffing pattern, with great variations all over. The bass creates another voice that drifts into the wall of sound seamlessly. It’s a truly magical song that words simply fail.
In ten years of delving into these genres, I can’t even say that My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless has put me at this much of a loss for words. Neige claims he never listened to post rock or shoegaze before writing this album, this was simply an interpretation of a dream land. For having no idea what he has gotten himself into, Alcest may have just created the best album of 2007, and an album that will remain close by to my CD player, Ipod, and computer for years to come.