Alcest
Shelter


4.5
superb

Review

by Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (90 Reviews)
February 3rd, 2014 | 72 replies


Release Date: 01/21/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Neige boldly takes away any black metal influences and the results are surprisingly powerful and typically beautiful.

Shelter does nothing but capitalize on the aspect of change in a beloved band's music. Whenever a band changes their sound or strives to try something different it usually is a win-lose scenario. Alcest is bound to lose some fans over this change, but then again, they also will gain some new ones. As for what type of new fans they will gain, those fans will be lovers of evocative, inspiring, and beautiful atmospheric shoegaze music. Neige, Alcest's talented frontman, has completely stripped this album of any type of black metal or standard metal influences in an attempt to try something more inspiring and purely shoegaze. Make no mistake that fans who love the black metal aspect of Alcest may be disappointed, but all music listeners who dislike black metal can rejoice and enjoy the influences of post rock, dream pop and layers upon layers of guitar textures. Though this doesn't exactly have the staying power of Écailles de Lune, Neige's latest still manages to thrill, inspire and present itself as a worth addition into his discography.

The record kicks off with the intriguing vocalizing in "Wings" which builds and builds until it explodes into "Opale." This song foreshadows what Alcest has in store for the listener and typically exceptional guitar work is to be expected from Neige. As the genius riffs and textures of "Opale" progresses, the inspiring mood of Shelter is fully realized. The record as a whole continuously builds upon everything you hear in the beginning of each song just like traditional post rock does. "La Nuit Marche Avec Moi" demonstrates this same aspect, but this soothing piece is where Niege's somber vocals begin to shine through. His french singing never strives to achieve any sort of heaviness or aggression. They are simply there to be used as another instrument in conveying Shelter's need to inspire us and create a story in our mind's. Not knowing what Neige is saying adds to the effect of the album because it creates an element of imagination.

"Voix Sereine," one of the beautiful highlights of the record, is best listened to with the snow falling and covering the ground. The song is perfect combination of layered instrumentation and awe inspiring vocals add to the mood of what is happening around you. It once again builds upon its fantastic guitar riff and when the crescendo happens, you will be floored. However, the best song on Shelter is without a doubt "L'eveil Des Muses." While the song utilizes the same general concept, it's dealt with in a more dream pop-like manner. Neige's textured guitar work shines through the most in this song and the shoegazing aspects of the album are the most evident here. It's engrossing, evocative, and you will be taken away. While almost every song on Shelter excels in all of these aspects, "Away" is the one blemish of the album. It's disappointing that the song is in English, has boring vocals and showcases nothing truly interesting in its instrumentation.

Shelter shows us that it is often more than a bunch of sound waves that are put together one by one. The lack of shrieked vocals also works surprisingly well and almost never becomes mundane as a result of this. The album's closer, "Delivrance," demonstrates the aspects of truly making us feel while listening with its cinematic post rock nature and powerful vocalizing. If anyone is in a bad place in their life, this album is just for you. It boasts imaginative musicianship, an inspiring mood, and amazing shoegazing soundscapes.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
JS19
February 3rd 2014


4367 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Got your back brotha. Nice rating, nice review.

Maybe tone down the bit about loving/hating black metal in the first paragraph? Just because you definitely don't have to hate black metal to love this, which it slightly comes across like you're saying.

'all you will do is be taken away.' Maybe just 'you will be taken away'?

Digging: Taylor Swift - 1989

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
February 3rd 2014


11346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh ok thanks man you're right. I put "may be dissappointed" instead cause yea of course some lovers of black metal will like this didn't mean to come off like that.

KILL
February 3rd 2014


72086 Comments


opale is so gay

Digging: Steve Hackett - Out of the Tunnel's Mouth

JS19
February 3rd 2014


4367 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

happy yeah agreed

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
February 3rd 2014


11346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Definitely not up KILL's alley haha

KILL
February 3rd 2014


72086 Comments


awful fluff ya

JS19
February 3rd 2014


4367 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Almost as redundant as Aisles of Plenty yeah

Green Baron
February 3rd 2014


20222 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Too bright.

KILL
February 3rd 2014


72086 Comments


u just get worse n worse

risingabove
February 3rd 2014


75 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

If These guys used to be Black Metal, then this is a pussy ass album and sellout move on Incest's part.

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
February 3rd 2014


11346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awful damn. Sorry you feel that way.



risingabove
February 3rd 2014


75 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I'm sorry Alcest not Incest fuck you autocorrect

Green Baron
February 3rd 2014


20222 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Souvlaki Space Station

JS19
February 3rd 2014


4367 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah Neige sold out big time with this, just in it for top 10 single, the money and the inevitable
Grammy nomination

risingabove
February 3rd 2014


75 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This review kind of sucks to be honest. I will give you why

Green Baron
February 3rd 2014


20222 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I might spin this again because it's snowing outside.

Mood is perfect.

risingabove
February 3rd 2014


75 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Very fanboyistic.Too hyperbolic.

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
February 3rd 2014


11346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yea it's snowing here too which is why I mentioned it.



JS19
February 3rd 2014


4367 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah geez Mongi yr not allowed to praise albums or yr a fanboy duh

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
February 3rd 2014


11346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Like, I didn't to come off as hyberbolic, but just what I think of it sorry.

Let me ask you Rising: If you were the one that neg'd this, was it because of that?



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