Alcest kicks off my new year in musical discovery with “Les Voyages De L’Âme” (English: The Journeys of the Soul), continuing their mix of shoegaze and folk rock with the occasional black metal influence. But unlike many groups with a black influence, Alcest goes for a far away sound that made me feel like I was listening to someone else’s daydream in musical form.
The album starts its first track with quiet clean guitars that build in intensity as the song goes on but remaining strictly within the realms of melody.
Unless the listener can speak French or can find a translated lyric sheet, the words sung by vocalist (and in fact multi instrumentalist on this album) Neige will be indecipherable. So those who listen to music to enjoy the lyrical content as they enjoy the rest of the package may find this off-putting.
Track 2 has a brief passage containing black metal shrieks but these do not last long. The albums 8 tracks clocking in roughly at 50 minutes, rarely foraying into the harsher vocals present in Alcests previous outings.
Metal heads looking for a kvlt black metal experience may find themselves disappointed with this album. But those who keep an open mind will find a lot of things to like.