French musician Neige is a master at what he does. It’s that simple. By taking Alcest from its raw black metal roots toward a far more unique and gentle atmosphere, he helped usher in a new post black metal sound. By leaning heavily on shoegaze influences as well, especially on some later albums, Alcest are considered pioneers of blackgaze.
Alcest’s latest album, 2019’s ‘Spiritual Instinct’, is some of the most beautiful “metal” I’ve ever heard. It feels perhaps disingenuous to label it metal, but for lack of better terminology (and not wanting to get into the whole debate about what constitutes metal) we will go with it. There are some touches that are clear though – occasional use of very black metal vocals, for example. When used against the incredible atmospheric and passionate instrumental canvas Alcest provide, these vocals create and incredible powerful listening experience.
But the clean vocals deserve mentioning as well. Beautiful, sincere, and dreamlike, they’re one of the central elements of the atmosphere I get with Alcest. The vocal melodies are stunning, and are truly unique to my ear.
Alcest’s influence on modern black metal is irrefutable. By forcing a deconstruction of the genre and reinventing it in ways nobody had before, Neige opened the possibilities for black metal dramatically.