I realize it’s a bit early to call Album of 2012, but honestly unless a new Katatonia record sees the light of day this year, this is going to be it. For me personally, Alcest is rapidly approaching Katatonia territory. And if you didn’t know, that means the greatest-fucking-band-of-all-time bracket. Vastly different styles, but both bands are similar in that they manifest human emotion with their music. We’re talking about musicians who can create that same feeling you had when you looked into the eyes of the most beautiful woman you’d ever seen and fell in love with her instantly. Heart palpitations, stomach butterflies, goosebumps and all. Also present in their tunes is that ache in your chest when you realized she would never be yours. What’s remarkable about Alcest mastermind Neige, is that the man has made me cry numerous times without singing a word in English. That’s right, it’s all in French. I can’t understand a single word he’s saying, but lo and behold 2:20 into album opener “Autre Temps” and my eyes are already tearing up. Equally remarkable is that Alcest’s music turns me into this sobbing, quivering shell of a man without the use of negative energy or dissonance, but with uplifting, delicate, heavenly passages. This would easily appeal to any fan of music, even those far outside the Metal spectrum. In fact, no band has given such legitimacy to the term Shoegaze since The Cure. Neige’s Black Metal voice does make itself welcome on the epic, “La Ou Naissent les Couleurs Nouvelles,” and the soaring “Faiseurs de Mondes,” however, it’s safe to say Alcest the Black Metal band’s days are well behind them. But with flawless LPs like this and the two that preceded it (2007’s Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde and 2010’s Ecailles de Lune), quit bitching, bitch. The title track has literally made every hair on my body (which is sadly a lot of fucking hairs, barring the scalp, of course) stand straight the fuck up on multiple occasions. That feeling is why I buy records. There simply isn’t a single moment of this absolutely perfect album that doesn’t sweep you away to the innocence of childhood, only to reveal the infinite sadness of decaying agony that the present day’s mirror bears. I hear some folks saying that Alcest’s music is becoming predictable. To those people, all I can say is vous etes un homosexuel heureux!
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