ALCEST may not be a household name yet but their second album, Écailles De Lune, proves to be one of the most enjoyable metal albums of 2010. Atmospheric and mood-driven, ALCEST are a seamless blend of early UK gothic rock (i.e. FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM, middle era-CURE), dark metal (i.e. KATATONIA, AGALLOCH), shoegaze, and Norwegian black metal. With such musical diversity, the crossover potential here is vast as fans of ENSLAVED, SLOWDIVE, and MOGWAI could all find much to enjoy.
Clean electric guitars flow into high speed showers of black metal chords, and sweeping, majestic riffs, and then back around again. The clean vocals are as fragile and delicate as the somber tones. Raspy black metal vocals are used only when the action calls for them. The songs naturally and unobtrusively ebb and flow. The band doesn’t break the mood with very obvious and predicable song section changes as do most metal bands.
It goes without saying but Écailles De Lune can only be fully experienced in full length listening sessions. A fine pair of headphones or speakers is highly recommended for optimum enjoyment. While the album is not flawless or always potent, ALCEST has a done a fine job, which all should take note of. (Prophecy Productions)