ALBUM REVIEW: Alcest – Spiritual Instinct

Imagine yourself about to jump into an oblivion of feelings, you do not know what to expect, but you feel thrilled because you know that you’re going to enjoy it and that you’re ready for the trip. That is what the new Alcest album, Spiritual Instinct (Nuclear Blast Records) brings to the table from the first track up to the last. I have to admit that I have never really paid any attention to the French masters of post-Black Metal, even a lot of people of my close circle loves them. For some reason, I didn’t want to pay attention and, by God, how wrong I was!

Alcest makes such a beautiful piece of art with their sixth LP. It has everything, from extreme Black Metal riffs to Shoegaze/post-Rock ambiance guitar work; the blast beats that manage their way into the mix create a perfect balance between what’s extreme and what is melodic and atmospheric. Now, what captivated me about this album is Neige’s vocal melodies. His work on creating lines that are extremely catchy and easy to sing along, even if you don’t know French, it’s just superb. Every single track from this record has a melody that you will have in your head all day long (trust me, I have been going through this the whole week).

The tracks that stand out the most for me are ‘Les Jardins De Minuit’, ‘Sapphire’, and ‘Spiritual Instinct’, though the whole album works as one and it’s hard to just skip a song to go to next one. Now, these specific tracks have that balance that I love when I listen to an album that has the elements of being extreme and atmospheric. The combination of tight riffs with tight drumming and beautiful melodies made by both, guitar and vocals is something that comes out in these three tracks in particular. This is an album that lasts forty-six minutes, the perfect time to be able to digest everything that these French geniuses had done in this LP.

Black Metal as a sub-genre keeps growing and evolving and I believe it is great to keep things fresh. Yes, this is not the typical “Trve Black Metal band” and maybe some people would not even consider them being part of the Black Metal sub-genre, but when you have such aggressive attitude, even if you mix it, and greatly so, with atmospheric and beautiful melodies, I think they have to think about the actual position of the genre and how it keeps evolving. So if you are just like me, on the fence of listening to Alcest because you don’t know what to expect, I recommend you to listen to Spiritual Instinct, it will leave you breathless, but looking forward to check the rest of the band’s discography and embark on a great journey of sorrow and celebration.

8 / 10

WESLIE NEGRON