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3.91 | 30 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 2007

Filed under Metal Related


1. Printemps émeraude (7:19)
2. Souvenirs d'un autre monde (6:08)
3. Les Iris (7:41)
4. Ciel errant (7:12)
5. Sur l'autre rive je t'attendrai (6:50)
6. Tir Nan Og (6:10)

Total Time: 41:22


- Neige / All instruments and vocals
- Audrey Sylvain / guest vocals on track #5

About this release

- EU: Prophecy Productions (CD)
- USA: Profound Lore (CD)
- Japan: Quince Records (CD)
- Vinyl released by Northern Silence

Thanks to Any Colour You Like, Vehemency, Bosh66, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
ALCEST, although a complete band, wasn't always so. While founded by Neige in 2000 (about the same time he joined Peste Noire), the original band that consisted of Aegnor and Argoth soon imploded after the demo "Tristesse Hivernale. " The two members soon departed leaving Neige as a one-man band for eight long years before a new lineup would occur. This debut SOUVENIRS D'UN AUTRE MONDE ("Memories From Another World"), having been released in 2007 which is the year before a new band would emerge, is in effect a solo album by Neige. This is the Neige show where he tackles lead and backing vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards and drums. There is for a short time one guest vocalist, Audrey Sylvain, on "Sur L'autre Rive Je T'attendrai."

Since SOUVENIRS D'UN AUTRE MONDE is a Neige solo album in disguise, it is of no surprise that it sounds quite different than the albums such as "Écailles De Lune" that follow. While the band has been tagged as shoegaze, blackgaze, post-rock and experimental metal, this debut yields very little in the metal department and is in effect a post-rock album that happens to have a guitar chords that ruffle their feathers to look bigger than they actually are. Like most post-rock, SOUVENIRS relies on a hypnotic run of soft dreamy guitar arpeggios and riffs that ratchet up the tension and ultimately find some sort of crescendo. The overall mood of the album is dark, dripping in nostalgia, rueful regret and euphoric yearning for blissful peace.

It's hard for me to review this album because in all honesty because i find it utterly boring. While this debut has been lauded since ALCEST first hit the scene in the mid naughts, i have had a very difficult time understanding why this clicks with so many and yet leaves me as cold as a whale's ass in the Arctic Ocean. While the future albums are actually quite engaging, this one seems to juxtapose all the wrong elements together in all the wrong places, at least for my tastes. First of all, the vocals are the most annoying of all, sounding like some indie pop twee garage band from small town USA. Despite being tagged metal, there are no metal vocals whatsoever with completely clean vocals dominating the entire album's run.

Secondly, this album chugs along at a snail's pace and never really engages in any dramatic changes. This is a true zone out album if i've ever heard one. While i love post-rock, indie rock, indie pop, post-metal and all the genres this is purported to be, SOUVENIRS is simply mediocre all the way around. It is a lazy breezy type of album that just floats by on codeine with no dramatic passages really ever emerging from the nonchalant drifting through the proper post-rock expectations. Next complaint, the instrumental parts just don't work together for my liking. Neige attempts to deliver black metal attributes such as tremolo picking and guitar solos but performs them so half-assed that it sounds too ridiculous for black metal and likewise sounds too out of character for post-rock.

I can understand some music lover's infatuation with emotional content being enough to make a good album but that is not the case with yours truly. Emotional connections in a pool of mediocrity equals, well, mediocrity. Probably the most competent aspect of SOUVENIRS is the production and mixing job. I do have to admit that the atmospheric qualities work quite well and indeed in retrospect ALCEST was one of the big players that brought the term blackgaze into existence with their debut EP "Le Secret," however Neige got all wimpy with the black metal aspects without jettisoning them all together which creates a rather tenuous vacuous tinniness within the overall structure of the compositions. Well, i'm glad some people can find pleasure in this debut by ALCEST because i sure can't, but i'm all on board starting with the second album.
I've seen black metal purists elsewhere react furiously to this charming debut full-length album from Alcest, since it does jettison an awful lot of what makes black metal, well, black metal. As well has presenting a dreamy, ethereal atmosphere without a hint of the dark misanthropy that characterises much black metal, in terms of the actual music it doesn't sound especially metal at all. The walls of guitar noise are much closer to the lush soundscapes of My Bloody Valentine and the rest of the shoegaze crowd than to metal of any sort, and the calm, tranquil vocal delivery likewise distances the band from metal. Still, as far as shoegaze goes this is very, very fine stuff, incorporating a few stylistic ideas from post-rock/post-metal to expand the bounds of the genre a little.
Conor Fynes
'Souvenirs d'Un Autre Monde' - Alcest (7/10)

When Alcest's second album 'Ecailles De Lune' came out, I became instantly enamoured with the music of this French post metal band. Now backtracking through this project's earlier work, I have heard them back when they were a pure black metal act with the demo 'Tristesse Hivernale'. Having a solid context and knowledge of how Alcest has developed over the course of a decade, I can appreciate 'Souvenirs d'Un Autre Monde'- Alcest's debut- for what it is; the project's frontman and mastermind taking several steps back from the metal vista towards his more atmospheric influences. Make no mistake, the music on 'Souvenirs' is not black metal, as is the genre that most associate with Alcest. Instead, this debut album takes the listener on an uplifting and dreamlike journey, played in a style called shoegaze. Although 'Souvenirs d'Un Autre Monde' is driven by a very tame palette of sound, the emotional gravity of the work is undeniable.

Although it is quite clear that Neige took the Alcest project to a new echelon with the sophomore, 'Souvenirs d'Un Autre Monde' already has many of the things I first fell in love with the band for' incredible melodies, dreamy textures, and the distinctively mellowed and effete vocals of Neige himself, which are typically washed into the mix in fair shoegaze fashion. Each track here is quite simple in construct and performance for the most part, often relying on uplifting chord progressions and added layers of string plucking or leads to add to the richness of the sound. Although the songs rarely change their direction much from where they first set off, the songwriting here is indeed very pleasant, even if it is a little on the simplistic side. Neige has a naive way of executing the music here as well; his vocals can sometimes sound a little amateurish, but they do manage to strike a feeling in the listener; the closest comparison may be Jonsi of Sigur Ros, but Neige does have a particular sound to his voice that would certainly be difficult to find anywhere in the metal genre.

All of the music on 'Souvenirs' flows much like a dream, and perhaps the only major flaw to the album is that it all flows in the same direction, at the same pace. Very rarely does a song ever throw in an unexpected curveball at the listener, or even cover much of an emotional variety. Instead, Alcest is deadset on one particular sound, then milks it for all its worth throughout the course of the debut. The debut feels quite novice, but the beauty and heartfelt nature of Alcest's music is heard deeply here. Although now in the shadow of the vastly superior 'Ecailles De Lune', 'Souvenirs' remains a pleasant debut from a band who seems fixed on bringing dreams to life.
Seeing this album in my local HMV did make me wonder and become intrigued. The cover was odd, showing a wee girl trying to eat a stick, and it looked foreign and quite avante garde to be honest. But I could feel the atmosphere radiating off it, and soon it would be covering my ears. I did my research and heard that they mixed black metal with shoegaze. Being a fan of both genres, I decided to take a gamble, and yes it was worth it.

This album concentrates on atmosphere rather than songs, with each piece feeling like a sonorous blanket. Each song has its own individual characteristics, but that great Alcest sound is heard throughout.

Niege really does make some great music, and I was impressed to hear that he produced and performed this whole album (with the odd guest)

1. Printemps Émeraude - Very soothing and very beautiful. An absolute wave of sound. An amazing composition. 10/10

2. Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde - More upbeat. The acoustic sections remind me of In Flames. Beautiful instrumental work. 10/10

3. Les Iris - Shwoing more of a black metal element. Great instrumental work. 8/10

4. Ciel Errant - Reminds me of Boris with the distorted noist backgroud. 8/10

5. Sur L'autre Rive Je T'attendrai - This is the most commonly heard song from these guys, personally. Love the female vocals. Great melodies and atmospheres. 9/10

6. Tir Nan Og - Very folky, very dreamy and very encapsulating. 9/10

CONCLUSION: Just an amazing experience really. It really is like meditation.

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