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31 reviews/ratings
DEAFHEAVEN - Sunbather Atmospheric Black Metal | review permalink
ALCEST - Écailles de lune Atmospheric Black Metal | review permalink
KAYO DOT - Choirs Of The Eye Avant-garde Metal
BLUT AUS NORD - Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With the Stars Atmospheric Black Metal
GRIS - À l'âme enflammée, l'äme constellée... Depressive Black Metal
BORIS - Flood Metal Related
MAUDLIN OF THE WELL - Leaving Your Body Map Avant-garde Metal
FEN - The Malediction Fields Atmospheric Black Metal
BORIS - あくまのうた (Akuma No Uta) Sludge Metal
BORIS - Pink Metal Related
LITURGY - Aesthethica Black Metal
ULVER - Bergtatt: Et Eeventyr I 5 Capitler Atmospheric Black Metal
ULVER - Nattens Madrigal: Aatte Hymne Til Ulven I Manden Black Metal
MAUDLIN OF THE WELL - Part The Second Non-Metal
KAYO DOT - Hubardo Avant-garde Metal
FEN - Dustwalker Atmospheric Black Metal
BLUT AUS NORD - MoRT Black Metal
KAYO DOT - Coffins On Io Non-Metal
IN THE WOODS... - Omnio Progressive Metal
EXTINCTION ALGORITHM - My Forest is Dead Non-Metal

See all reviews/ratings

Metal Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Atmospheric Black Metal 11 4.00
2 Avant-garde Metal 4 4.25
3 Black Metal 3 4.17
4 Metal Related 3 4.50
5 Non-Metal 3 4.00
6 Progressive Metal 3 2.83
7 Sludge Metal 1 4.50
8 Depressive Black Metal 1 5.00
9 Drone Metal 1 4.00
10 Atmospheric Sludge Metal 1 3.00

Latest Albums Reviews

ALCEST Écailles de lune

Album · 2010 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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Black metal often causes listeners to feel as if they are being intruded upon, as if they were being constantly punched in the gut from an uncomfortably close range. Some listeners find thrill in this, while others are deterred. In contrast, what can be called metal in Alcest’s catalogue can be said to have a certain distance to it. This album isn’t there to brutally force your submission, however thrilling that may be. From dreamy, moonlit guitars and sirenian crooning to hazy distorted guitars and reverb-soaked screams, Ecailles De Lune calls you from far away, like another world.

And a far off realm is exactly what the band aims to communicate. Alcest was inspired by experiences had by frontman/guitarist Stephane “Neige” Paut of what he referred to as “Fairy Land.” “I think reality is always subjective,” Neige explained in an interview with Metalblast. “We don’t know what’s real apart from the fact that we see it with our eyes, we smell it, we touch it, but we don’t know more.” This hazy, impressionistic take on reality was likely inherited from the shoegaze scene. In fact, although Ecailles De Lune is labelled a black metal record, it listens like a shoegaze record and it acheives nothing short of that shoegaze-y bliss that celebrates itself. Of course, this record takes a more fantastical approach to reality than even most shoegaze and some listeners may understandably find it less believable, but those who beckon to the call of that far off world will find themselves more and more in love with it.

The two part title track is the centerpiece of Ecailles. After an intro with cold, shimmering guitars, Part I kicks in with a longing riff that dangles over a mid-tempo drum beat as soft, honest vocals intermingle with the guitars. The song continues to cycle through a series of riffs, each a treat to experience, before reverting to its dreamier state and abruptly returning with the first hint of metal on the album, a lunar riff that is stranglely the brightest moment in the song.

Part II starts in a similar fashion to Part I; however, this time, the band enters with shreiks that are almost overwhelmed in space, as if they were recorded a valley when no one was around. Acoustic guitars enter as the screams subside, and the song continues in the silvery fashion that one grew to love in Part I.

While human longing, compassion, and ecstasy are certainly present on the album, Ecailles is more of an ethereal experience than an emotional one, utilising both the sanguine and the phlegmatic sides of dream pop and shoegaze to communicate Neige’s feeling response to a distant place. But however far away that world is, it seems to live and to breathe, and with the feeling that Neige conveys this place, one starts to wonder if his experiences with “Fairy Land” might not have been so far-fetched after all.


Album · 2013 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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Calling Sunbather "uplifting" or "hopeful" is a mistake. Themes such as poverty, lust, existential crises, broken homes, insecurity are everpresent throughout the album. Certainly, it offers small shreds of hope, moreso than most Black Metal bands outside the Liturgy fanclub, but the main focus in its method of expression is how it brutally tears down that hope, and, in this sense, it is a more painful, hard-hitting, and heart-breaking experience than most black or post metal bands can claim to have created.

The guitars at the beginning of opener "Dream House" are red hot and the riffs expressionately bittersweet. The drums are colossal but progress with incredibly brevity. The song fades into a clean guitar interlude with chords that make use of open strings to create moments of heart-wrenching dissonance. The band then returns, this time with a kind of crushing intensity playing those gorgeous chords with emotive screams and a soaring delay drenched riff. Singer George Clarke screams of the dream house he will never have and mockingly recites drunk texts he sent to a woman he was once obsessed with.

"I'm dying." - "Is it blissful?" "It's like a dream." - "I want to dream."

Dream House gives way to the post-rock-ish interlude "Irresistable," which in turn, leads into the 10-minute title track. "Sunbather" is about Clarke's lusting and obsession with a woman he saw sunbathing while driving through a wealthy neighborhood? the solace she gave him and the despair of having to live without ever seeing her again. The next interlude, "Please Remember," features Neige from Alcest reciting a passage from the Milan Kundera novel "The Unbearable Lightness of Being." "That passage is really important to me," Clark claims. "It just screams insecurity, which I have huge faults with."

The tone gets darker with the final three tracks. "Vertigo" is true to its name channeling the shoegaziest of shoegaze in a swirling mass of alienation and depression. The interlude "Windows" which is perhaps the darkest moment on the album features a recording of a fire and brimstone sermon and another of a live drug deal by guitarist Kerry McCoy. "Thematically, it's supposed to be about this guy talking about the evils of hell intermixed with one's own personal hell and the actual realities like addiction and self-worth, not the fire and brimstone," explains Clark. "[McCoy] didn't have a lot of money, and he was kind of desperate; he's showcasing the true horrors that are here on earth?one's own personal demons." The album ends with the haunting Pecan Tree, where Clark tackles the issue of his inability to love that he believes he inherited from his absent father.

Sunbather does not attempt to be uplifting. Instead, the album intends to have a full range of emotions, not excluding hope, but not totally indicative either. Is it metal? Is it innovative? Those questions aren't really important in the overall scope of the album. It certainly is a very good album. The music is expertly composed and the lyrics are phenomenal. But more than that, this album is something that few black metal albums are: human. It is perhaps one of the most moving albums of the year and one of the most beautiful emotional expressions that I have ever had the privelige to experience, Alcest notwithstanding.

Latest Forum Topic Posts

  • Posted more than 2 years ago in The Upcoming Albums Thread
    New Oranssi Pazuzu!Quite Swans-y. I like. Polymorphia2016-03-03 10:56:26
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Bizarre, yet effective, mixes of genre
    Looking for metal, any sub, that incorporates any non-associated genre that you normally wouldn't associate with metal, with the caveat that it works.
  • Posted more than 2 years ago in Where do you buy your music from?
    Local record store, bandcamp, sometimes eBay if it hasn't been reissued in a while.


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