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“Listen to it at night, by the sea.”

These were Neige’s parting words to me. After a discussion of the colors, emotions and seasons that Alcest’s glorious Écailles De Lune runs through, his advice was to experience it in its natural habitat.

Metal has always been beautiful. Metallica’s “Fade to Black,” Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan,” Emperor’s “Into the Infinity of Thoughts,” metal has found glory both between and with crushing sections of doom. And Alcest tenderly weaves them all together in a grand tapestry. Écailles De Lune stands as the French outfit’s finest fusion, with the sweeping brutality of Dissection in unholy matrimony with Slowdive’s dream worlds.

We met Alcest’s mastermind, Neige, during Austin Terrorfest, chatting with him just before he took the stage. So listen to our interview, read our thoughts on Écailles De Lune and see why it’s the best of the 10s.

I don’t like to demystify black metal. To me it’s the sound of the woods and the dark wild.
— Neige

Écailles De Lune

Metal seeks transcendance. Few genres long for another world like the blackened sonics of Emperor or Dissection. And the oceanic movements of Dream Pop already seem like they’ve found that other realm. The tendons connecting the genres have always been there, but Alcest is the conduit the two meditative genres always deserved.

But that becomes background noise to the French band. They are drawn to the natural world and Écailles De Lune is a sweeping ode to our own insignificance in the face of the ocean, the sky, the woods and the creatures and spirits that inhabit them.

The album ends with visions of our souls one drop of water in a mighty ocean, yearning to return to a collective unconsciousness. If you’ve got Écailles De Lune for an hour you don’t have to seek transcendence. Alcest will find it with you.

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