Alcest – Shelter by Demitri Levantis

Rating:  3.5/5
Distributor/label: Prophecy Productions
Distributor/label URL:     
Released: 2014
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Band line-up:

Neige – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Winterhalter – Drums



  1. Wings
  2. Opale
  3. La Nuit Marche Avec Moi
  4. Voix Sereines
  5. L’Eveil Des Muses
  6. Shelter
  7. Away
  8. Délivrance

Having cemented themselves firmly into the front rank of post black metal, French shoegazers Alcest have returned from a very busy two years of touring with fourth album: SHELTER. Alcest are no strangers to the ever beckoning realm of experimentation, but if you are a diehard black metal head who fell in love with them in the early days, SHELTER may not be all that pleasing.

Almost all the trademark tremolo picking and blast beats have been abandoned on this release and only vaguely touched upon with tracks ‘Voix Sereines’ (Serene Voice) and ‘Délivrance’ sounding vaguely like the blissful onslaughts seen in previous albums Ecailles De Lune and ‘Souvenirs’. But overall, this isn’t a disappointing release, nor is it as forgettable as ‘Les Voyages De L’âme.

Anyone familiar with My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins will certainly enjoy the ethereal guitars and faraway vocals of ‘Opale’ and ‘La Nuit Marche Avec Moi’ (Night Walk With Me). Frontman Neige, has certainly upped the psychedelia of this release as the band have fused in chord progressions and overtly happy vocals which at times sound like Hawkwind or Cream if they’d taken a larger dose of acid before hitting the studio.

There are also heart warming tributes to Neige’s lost project Amesouers, with several moments of post-punk guitars and a slow paced wall of sound on every track which reminded me of Altar of Plagues.

One thing that’ll set this album aside from every other Alcest release, is that we hear Neige singing in English for the first time ever on ‘Away’. For those of you who enjoy this band for singing in their mother tongue, do not fear, for the final track, ‘Délivrance’ sounds as if The Cure had released ‘Disintegration’ in French. Alcest owe a great deal of their popularity to the UK, having played at Bloodstock and the Islington Assembly Hall and therefore want to pay tribute to all the English speaking fans who’ve helped them along the way.

On no level are Alcest trying to push their original fan base away. SHELTER comes as the crossroads into a new realm of experimentation, from which many great symphonies will come in the near future. Alcest are certainly aware of their roots and haven’t stepped too far over the line.

Review by Demitri Levantis