Alcest – “L’Envol”

Alcest – “L’Envol”

A couple of decades ago, Alcest, the project headed up by the French sonic auteur Neige, pioneered the combination of black metal and shoegaze. Alcest’s vast, crushing, emotive sound has influenced entire generations of bands, and it’s safe to say that underground music would sound very different if they’d never existed. (Since 2009, Alcest as been the duo of Neige and drummer Winterhalter.) But Alcest’s sound isn’t a static thing; they’ve continued to grow and experiment over the years. Now, Alcest have announced plans to follow 2019’s Spiritual Instinct with a new album called Les Chants De L’Aurore — French for The Songs Of Dawn.

Alcest have led off the new album by sharing a song called “L’Envol.” (That title translates to “Flight.”) This time around, there’s not much black metal left in what Alcest do. Instead, the song is a vast, searching, pretty piece of work with a slow build and a whole lot of prog-influenced melodic exploration. The song eventually gets heavy, but it’s shoegaze heavy, not black metal heavy. Here’s what Neige says about it:

“L’Envol” is a musical return to the atmosphere of Alcest’s first albums. I wrote this song after an inspiring trip to Corsica, where I met amazing people and was surrounded by some of the most unique landscapes I have ever seen. It is about escaping from earthly reality to join a flock of mythical birds flying through the known boundaries of our world. The song is accompanied by a music video created by the talented French artist Yoann Lossel, who also designed the album cover. For this first single release, we wanted the music, lyrics and visuals to be as coherent and immersive as possible. All the tracks on Les Chants De l’Aurore are very different from one another, but we thought this one would be a great introduction to the overall atmosphere and themes of the album.

Below, watch the Yoann Lossel-directed “L’Envol” video and check out the new LP’s tracklist.

01 “Komorebi”
02 “L’Envol”
03 “Améthyste”
04 “Flamme Jumelle”
05 “Réminiscence”
06 “L’Enfant de la Lune (月の子)”
07 “L’Adieu”

Les Chants De L’Aurore is out 6/21 on Nuclear Blast. Summer music, baby!

Andy Julia

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