Review Summary: Euphoria and intensity collide.
It’s safe to say that many of us have that one place to either think about or go to whenever you’ve been having a rough time. It’s that one place that makes you feel at ease and that place for Alcest’s exceptionally talented front man would be the sea. Staring out into the ocean as the waves rise and fall or even simply listening to the soothing sound of the waves are both cathartic experiences so who could blame him? Ecailles de Lune
best solidifies Neige’s love for the sea because of the evocative mood it presents and perhaps shoegazing black metal is the best way to present this love. The black metal intensity best represents the occasional roughness of the sea, but when the album slows itself down to deliver beautiful euphoric guitar riffs it represents the gentle movement of the waves. Neige’s profound vision is fully realized under the intense walls of sound, breathtaking guitar tones and unpredictable progressions of Ecailles de Lune
The two part title track actually takes up the bulk of the album, but make no mistake that this track delivers in every way imaginable. Part One kicks off with an atmospheric riff that then bursts into the heavy shoegazey progression. Neige’s soothing vocals are perfect for the inspiring mood the track displays and the angelic way he sings is only a taste of what’s to come. Over the course of its nine minute running time it continuously builds upon its repetitious guitar riffs until the final two minutes everything explodes. However, both Winterhalter and Neige show us what they’re really made of in the album’s cornerstone which is Part Two. The sound of the waves aids the soothing guitar tone right before the black metal aspect of the album takes hold. Driven by intense shrieks, amazing drum rolls and engrossing guitar work, the first half of this song really gets the blood pumping. However, this is where the album’s unpredictability comes into play as the song abruptly slows down to one of the most cathartic experiences atmospheric metal has to offer. The gentle guitar tone never fails to lift up the listener and Neige’s angelic singing serves as the best example of representing the calming seas. The strange thing is, this guitar tone has been used many times before by bands like Agalloch, but it’s the sparing placement of it that makes it so worthwhile.
The album has a fantastic way of balancing out the beauty and the intensity. “Percees De Lumieres” may have some of the most black metal elements of the entire record with Neige’s continuous shrieks and brooding guitar work, but it once again slows down to a more post rock type feel. Winterhalter showcases so epic drumming rhythms and Neige’s vocals once again elevates the vastness of the song. Even though “Solar Song” proves to be one of the weaker tracks of the album due to a more song like structure, he still manages to show off some exceptional atmospheric vocals, but it’s the final ballad that really displays his ability to really make us feel. Let’s face it: “Sur L’Ocean Couleur De Fer” certainly isn’t a varied track by any means. What really makes it excel is the natural atmosphere that it conveys. The repetitious build up and multi layered textures all rise into swelling percussion, catchy guitar work and many vocal tracks from Neige. When it’s all said and done, it makes for quite a crushing ending for what is for the most part an uplifting album.
Ecailles de Lune
best serves as a prime example of how atmospheric metal should be. Much like Agalloch’s The Mantle
, the perfect balance between intensity and euphoria collide very nicely. The production is not too polished and not too raw, but at the same time proves to be extremely organic with very little use of electronics and synthesizers. Its varied nature soars and Neige’s complex vision of his love for the sea is solidified perfectly. Granted it’s safe that say some sections of this album may be too beautiful for some people, but anyone how is having a rough time in their life should listen to this immediately. The insanely euphoric guitar tones and will make all of your troubles get swept away.