The music of ALCEST was a mystery to me, I discovered the band through my Facebook news feed, as people kept posting about the recently released singles. Founded in France by frontman Neige in 2000, the band’s music is associated with genres such as black metal, post-metal, and shoegaze. The band is ready to release their sixth full-length album “Spiritual Instinct” on 25 October 2019 via Nuclear Blast.
The magic starts happening with “Les Jardins De Minuit”. In general, the song allows you to undertake a meditative journey throughout a unique soundscape that is built up by intense blast beats, black metal-inspired riffs, and enchanting vocal melodies, combined with growls. Even though the overall atmosphere of the track is dark and grim, there is something so light and hopeful in the sound that it makes it a very relaxing track, perfect for a rainy autumn day. “Protection” continues with that same melodic wall of sound which was created during the first track. The song consists of a massive build-up to screams. In combination with the first half of the song, this feels like the embodiment of the angsty feelings put in to both the lyrics and the tracks, as the album was described to articulate Neige‘s inner battle with existential anxiety. At the same time the music represents empowerment and tries to find a path through the darkness and towards the light. “Sapphire” shows a more visceral sound, following the same principles of the complex structure of the previous tracks, and serves as the perfect bridge to connect the first half of the album to the second half. This song surprisingly has a little bit of a 90s alternative rock sound in the guitar riffs. What makes the song stand out, however, are the drum patterns, and the way the snare sounds in the mix, adding that little extra punch. “L’Île Des Morts” is probably the song that hit me the most. It includes minimalistic and subtle folk elements in the track. “L’Île Des Morts” has a different feel to it from the start, adding a little bit more intensity, mystery and complexity to the sound. “Le Miroir” is probably the most ethereal sounding song. There’s a certain rawness in its sound that makes the song incredibly moving. The title track “Spiritual Instinct” encompasses a certain Sehnsucht in it, that feeling of yearning, striving for the path forward. It’s light and dark at the same time, tying the album to a perfect knot in the end.
“Spiritual Instinct” has the kind of songs that hit your soul. The atmosphere and soundscape created often gave me the chills. “Spiritual Instinct” is not just an introspective musical journey through a rollercoaster of emotions, it’s a piece of art transporting you to otherworldly dimensions. Not being restricted by a genre, the band has managed to create a unique sound that blends in paradoxical elements as if they had always belonged together and makes “Spiritual Instinct” a definite contender in the album of the year.
1. Les Jardins De Minuit
4. L’Île Des Morts
5. Le Miroir
6. Spiritual Instinct
Neige : guitars/bass, synths and vocals
Winterhalter : drums