8Overall Score
Reader Rating 3 Votes

Niege, the songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist musician behind ALCEST, is back with a new record, two years after his previous effort “Shelter”. The latter was his most mellow work, far away from what can be called metal. In his new, fifth album, entitled “Kodama” (Japanese word for “tree spirit” or “echo”), he plays once again the style of music he pioneered; black-gaze, a rock music style that fuses elements of black metal and shoegaze.

The lyrics on “Kodama” create a concept inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s film “Princess Mononoke” and particularly on the center of the conflict between the human and natural worlds. The music is a mixture of influences from genres such as shoegaze, post-rock and black metal. The result is a melodic and atmospheric album, with six songs that are dominated by pedaled guitar riffs. Niege’s singing on the songs is mostly clean and ethereal, but he also does some black metal vocals (to many fans’ delight) here and there, when the music is most aggressive.

“A pleasurable soundtrack for the cold winter nights.”

ALCEST’s albums are the kind that should be heard from start to finish, so that the listener can emotionally access the universe, that the artist has created. That’s why, I won’t mention each song separately except “Oiseaux De Proie” (“Birds Of Prey”) which sums up the music style of this work and gives the fresh listener a good example of what blackgaze is.

It’s a short record, approximately forty two minutes long (minus the bonus track) with exemplary sound quality concerning the genre. It is a pleasurable soundtrack for the cold winter nights. Bienvenue Niege!