Alcest
Souvenirs d'un autre Monde


2.5
average

Review

by Kyle Ward STAFF
January 1st, 2010 | 145 replies | 11,415 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist


With Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde, the feeling of black metal is there, especially in the lo-fi distortion of the electric guitars as they ring out in the distant background of the production. However, the majority of the time Alcest is whirring away in a shoegaze-influenced land of pristine acoustics and meandering clean vocals which don’t so much form words, in French or otherwise, as they do hum and coo in an overly pretentious sense which almost comes off as arrogant. The entire album is devoid of anything resembling harsh vocals, something which is expected considering the central focus on shoegaze, and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with a band using solely cleans, here it grows tiring as we are presented with uninspired, one-dimensional singing which stays constantly soothing but never emotional.

Wallowing amongst the machine-like electric/acoustic/electric/acoustic guitar arrangements lay a few solos which throw in minimal variation to the overly lengthy tracks, but are always well written and performed with skill. It pales, though, in comparison to the fact that, say, 30 or 35 minutes of this 41 minute album follows the exact same structure. The bass attempts to work its way to break things up a bit, but when it does it sadly only plucks away at one or two frets, making any hope of a nice bass line carrying the song for a bit only that, a hope. The final track, “Tir Nan Og” is a saving grace for Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde, working in a piano-driven melody, calm acoustic pieces and lofty cleans which hint at pitch changes and a brilliant climax which sadly never comes to be. This tendency for songs to build and build only to suddenly and abruptly end is an alarming tendency which the album showcases on more than one occasion, most notably the melodic electric guitar riffing which makes the end of the title track “Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde” seem so promising, only for it to end rather quickly and shuffle the listener onto the next track.

The ideas presented in Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde are solid, and rather revolutionary for the genre, but the songwriting is so blatantly flawed that any hope of this fantastic idea coming to realization are swiftly carried away, never to return again. Instead, we are left with an average, one-dimensional album which promises so much yet delivers so precious little. With a heaping of variance in the vocals, more careful acoustic/electric guitar transitions, more memorable riffs, and bass and drums that actually deserve to be mentioned, then maybe Alcest would be a band to marvel at. However, for the time being, Alcest is yet another band which promises so much, yet delivers close to nothing.



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user ratings (648)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Savannah the Ghost (3)
An album that tries too hard to be beautiful....

Rationalist (4)
Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde is obviously heartfelt, tranquil, and bold, and though there are the mino...

Fosster3567 (5)
All bands long for an album as masterful as Souvenirs d'un autre Monde. This is the best album to co...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2010



15993 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Album isn't completely terrible, but it is extremely annoying.

Waiting for BallsToTheWall to tell me how wrong I am.

Digging: Katatonia - Kocytean

ov420
January 1st 2010



300 Comments


usually most bm that uses post-rock, shoegaze elements usually ends up in the suck dept.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2010



15993 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah I've come to realize that, not sure why I haven't given up on it yet.

BallsToTheWall
January 1st 2010



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fuck you.

Relinquished
January 1st 2010



22377 Comments


[img]http://jkneilson.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/why.jpg[/img]

Album is not that bad, dude.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2010



15993 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

[img]http://www.geekstir.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/pokemonbackwards.jpg[/img]

yes it is, I could never figure out why people like this as much as they do

Relinquished
January 1st 2010



22377 Comments


Well if that's what you think. Good review though.

and lol @ the pokemon pic, never realized that until now.

BallsToTheWall
January 1st 2010



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You probaly aren't a shoegaze fanatic Kyle.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2010



15993 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Not a fanatic, no, but I am a bit of a bm fanatic and sometimes the two put together works (see "Skullreader"), but this is just fail.

Mendigo
January 1st 2010



2299 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't get it, why should this be black metal at all? who cares what the dude usually does, this album is shoegaze, post rock, art rock, whatever you want but not metal. and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

nicely written review though.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2010



15993 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The electric guitars on this album scream black metal, but the majority of it is shoegaze, and not very good shoegaze, either, from what I've gathered.

BallsToTheWall
January 1st 2010



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Mendigo 123.

I have a feeling the new Alcest record will be a return to black metal, at least a little, judging from the E.P. I'd prefer if Neige just expanded on this album. His singing is incredible.


Obviously this is good shoegaze, juding from 138 mostly positive ratings.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2010



15993 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah but considering Cravinov had this at a 5 doesn't inspire much confidence....

I have a feeling the new Alcest record will be a return to black metal

Any idea when the new album is due out?

SeaAnemone
January 1st 2010



18817 Comments


This album is great to me solely because I find it interesting, idk probably a stupid way to look at it, but this is a go-to album of
mine when I get fed up with samey music.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2010



15993 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Hey, if you like it, you like it. I just don't.

BallsToTheWall
January 1st 2010



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

January.

SeaAnemone
January 1st 2010



18817 Comments


Fair enough, and I'm really not well-versed enough in this type of music to make generalizations about it... anyone have rec.s similar to this, or Crysis, in your opinion that are better?

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
January 1st 2010



15993 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"Skullreader" by Sun Of The Blind

TheSpirit
January 1st 2010



16662 Comments


good review, i've heard a few Alcest songs here and there, at least now i know to not waste my time on a full length

Digging: Sexdrome - Grown Younger

Burn2Burn
January 1st 2010



2378 Comments


Never really cared for this either, but I don't think i ever gave it much of a fair chance. time for a re-listen.



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