Les Voyages De L'Ame review by Alcest

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  • Released: Jan 6, 2012
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.7 (24 votes)
Alcest: Les Voyages De L'Ame
1

Sound — 8
Alcest are known for their gorgeous combination of ethereal melodies with black metal and shoegaze harshness, which thus creates some of the most emotionally charged metal we have heard in recent years. Since this is so, it's no surprise that they have stuck to their same formula on their latest release "Les Voyages De L'me". Their previous album, the acclaimed "Ecailles De Lune", was much more piercing and sharp with its melodies and songwriting as each note was made to stand out and the melodies would remain in your head for days. On "Voyages", it's a bit different. The whole album is much more smooth surfaced and it flows with much more fluidity. The shoegaze influence is much more noticeable on this album as every song brushes past you as if it were a dream. That essentially will lead to the one problem with the album, but I will get there in a second. The focal points in each song end up being the highlights of the album. This sounds like a redundant statement, but if you give the album a listen yourself, you will know exactly what I mean. Most of the songs work as a build up for these specific moments, like the triumphant climax that happens midway of the title track and the vicious ending of "Faiseurs De Mondes". Listening to the album, you will finish three quarters of it and believe that not only has Alcest topped their last album, but this is easily one of the best metal albums to have come out in a very long time. Then you reach the last song. Honestly, there isn't anything wrong with "Summer's Glory" if you take it out of the album and observe it as a stand alone song. It's just incredibly anti climactic and the wrong choice of song for an album closer. Especially when almost every song has such a triumphant moment, "Summer's Glory"'s "epic moment" seems pale in comparison. It's unnerving because all you can feel is that this album was so close to being simply outstanding as a whole. In the end, "Voyages" has some of Alcest's best songs, but "Ecailles" remains the better album simply because of how much more complete and satisfying it is as a total body.

Lyrics — 9
Neige's vocals have only gotten better. His black metal screams, the very few times he actually screams anymore, are as piercing and powerful as ever, but his clean vocals have become far more dominating. Before, I felt that he sang too much through his head and not enough with his diaphragm, as he lacked a certain tenacity. I didn't mind, as it works with the style of music. With "Voyages", which seems to be more of an "epic" album, he has gained enough power in his voice to add more emphasis to the emotions he is trying to convey while sticking to the minimalist-shoegaze style, and it works very well. His vocals stand out of the mix much more on this album, but again, with shoegaze it would be alright if it didn't. It's your call if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Overall Impression — 8
"Les Voyages De L'me" is definitely a good album. Save for the uncertainty I feel with the ending, it starts off with a punch and it carries this rush for the majority of the way. What pleases me the most, even with the incomplete-sounding ending, is the fact that Neige is progressing as a musician and songwriter as a whole. The fact that "Voyages" still sounds like Alcest while sounding like its own creation and body of work is great, and is a feat any passionate band or artist dreams about accomplishing. The Alcest sound is here to stay, and Neige may very well have much up his sleeve for us to discover. For any fans of metal, this album is worth checking out simply just to see how Neige challenges what constitutes as metal in a Godard-ian fashion. Standout tracks: "Faiseurs De Mondes", "Les Voyages De L'me", "Autre Temps".

18 comments sorted by best / new / date

    rob904
    Hopefully we'll get a Lantlos release sometime this year as well
    TP500
    Meh, to each his own. Love Alcest, the juxtaposition of just the genre of music with what the lyrics and feeling of the songs are about is one of the things that drew me in. To people listening for the first couple times, it seems really harsh, but really taking the time to listen it's really dreamy and gorgeous.
    Mahoru
    jetfuel495 wrote: Great album. I think it's better as a whole than Ecailles de Lune, but EDL's first three tracks are untouchable by anything on this album. And while I do love the direction they're going now, part of me wishes they'd go back to a Souvenirs style.
    Completely agree with everything, except that I think Ecailles de Lune was a bit better. I'd also add the last track to the untouchable list, I really love that song.
    barden1069
    )ThunderhorsE( wrote: what the devil is this shoegaze stuff i'm hearin bout?
    Search youtube for "My Bloody Valentine" (particularly stuff from the album "Loveless"). You won't be disappointed.
    Amuro Jay
    Great album. I think it's better as a whole than Ecailles de Lune, but EDL's first three tracks are untouchable by anything on this album. And while I do love the direction they're going now, part of me wishes they'd go back to a Souvenirs style.
    Jon777
    Odd. I think Summer's Glory is the perfect closer. I agree with you that most of the songs on the album build up to some sort of climax, and I feel as though the album as a whole mirrors that progression -- Summer's Glory was the album's climax.
    EpiExplorer
    Yeah, listened to most of it and it still aint clicking. I'm more of a Fen/Altar of Plagues person when it comes to this shoegaze stuff.
    EpiExplorer
    Not a big fan of Alcest, not sure why, too.. soft? Iunno, I do know that most of my female friends listen to it.
    Raven_Flight
    I didn't like this release too much. It's not a bad album, but it's very plain; I feel it lacks outstanding moments. All the melodies are kinda in the background and all the songs sound pretty much the same. Everything is so dreamy and beautiful that it actually bores me. But some listeners may like that.
    rob904 wrote: Hopefully we'll get a Lantlos release sometime this year as well
    It would be great, but Herbst is working on a dark-jazz project this year I think.
    SkyValley
    Ending an album on an uncertain or "incomplete" song is actually pretty standard. People have been doing that since the 1800's when they'd start ending song cycles on tension chords instead of tonic.
    Pagan_Poetry
    barden1069 wrote: )ThunderhorsE( wrote: what the devil is this shoegaze stuff i'm hearin bout? Search youtube for "My Bloody Valentine" (particularly stuff from the album "Loveless"). You won't be disappointed.
    This man is wise. Loveless is my all time favorite album.
    Linqua5150
    what? i could not be more happy with the closer, and its probably one of my favorite songs at least by alcest, especially the last part. i think ill listen to it now.
    hriday_hazarika
    EpiExplorer wrote: Not a big fan of Alcest, not sure why, too.. soft? Iunno, I do know that most of my female friends listen to it.
    Kindly direct said female friends to the UG post-rock album thread. >_> Another great effort from Alcest, as usual.
    Amuro Jay
    EpiExplorer wrote: Yeah, listened to most of it and it still aint clicking. I'm more of a Fen/Altar of Plagues person when it comes to this shoegaze stuff.
    Fen are pretty awesome. Gonna have to check out Altar of Plagues then.
    Ibeanez
    I love Shoegazing/ Post-Black Metal almost as much as Appliance-core/ Post-fecal/ Doorknob-grunge.
    barden1069
    I have a love/hate relationship with Alcest. Normally I can't stand black metal vocals, but it seems like there's always a few tracks on each record that make me go, "Wow, that's really good." I need to listen to them more, though. I feel like that'd give me a much better appreciation for them.