Black Metal, Metal, Post-Black Metal

Alcest – Les Chants de l’Aurore (Review)

Release:Les Chants de l’Aurore
Release Date:21st of June 2024
Released via

After five years, Alcest release their new album Les Chants de l’Aurore. Finally, new material for us Blackgaze fans from one of the most influential bands in the genre who, in my opinion, have always delivered very high quality.

With „Komorebi“, you immediately feel at home in the world of Alcest. The voice of Neige, which captivates the listener with its gentle embrace, the riffs that are instantly recognizable as the band’s sound and the rhythms that stand out. I particularly enjoyed the heavier drums during the riff phases, propelling the song forward beautifully.

With “L’Envol,” the first of the two pre-released singles off the album, the band delves into their more familiar sound elements, transitioning into softer territories around the 1/3 mark that are then accompanied by the heavier underlying ideas. “Améthyste“ offers one of the heavier songs on the album, complete with the familiar growls, anger, and emotionality, making it a highlight for long-term fans of the band.

The album lacks quieter parts that were present on previous and subsequent songs, serving as a common thread throughout. This provides a welcoming change and necessary distinction to prevent monotony.

I must admit that I initially struggled with the single “Flamme Jumelle”, perhaps due to my limited knowledge of the French language, but after listening to it a few times, the song has grown on me immensely. For me, the song encapsulates the essence of all the album’s ideas in just over five minutes. It is slightly more emotional and subdued than what you may be accustomed to, but it also showcases intricate guitar riffs that beautifully complement the other ideas presented. Neige described “Flamme Jumelle” as the most personal song on the album, as it deals with loss and how it is possible to cope with the death of a loved one.

Days pass by without anything changing
My words slip away to paint the incessant lack
Of your fire that capsizes and the Elsewhere that awaits us

All that remains for us is memories in all the darkness. However, while the lyrics are negative on their own, the sound paints a contrasting picture. It may convey feelings of sadness, but it also offers hope and optimism. I cannot count how many times I have gotten goosebumps while listening to this song.

By far the calmest song on the album is “Réminiscence”. Solely featuring vocals and piano, similar to the heavier approach in “Améthyste”, it completes the overall concept of the album and provides the listener with a break following “Flamme Jumelle”. This calmness is interrupted by “L’Enfant de la Lune”, which picks up the pace again. Notably, vocals only appear in the first half of the song, followed by pure instrumental Blackgaze. This marks the final heavier phase of the album before concluding with “L’Adieu”, a quieter farewell track. This song feels like a very emotional and loving way to guide the listener out of the album, accentuated by strings and choral vocals.

Overall, Les Chants de l’Aurore is a somewhat more melancholic album without straying too far from the familiar Alcest sound. Fans of their harder songs like “Autre Temps” or “Protection” may not be completely satisfied, but I believe they will still find enjoyment in it. I don’t see this as a negative; I really like the album. It feels like a new concept album with familiar elements that explores new paths at crucial points.

There are still typical stylistic features that immediately connect to Alcest, whether it be their unique French vocals, riffs, tempo changes, or recognizable sound structures. Alcest fans and lovers of Black- and Shoegaze will definitely enjoy this album, finding that it lives up to their reputation and stands on par with their previous works. And surely, some songs will find a permanent place on their playlists: and rightfully so.

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