Record #352: Alcest – Kodama (2016)


French Blackgaze pioneers Alcest have been mixing their black metal with generous helpings of shoegaze and post rock since before Deafheaven was even a twinkly in George and Kerry’s eyes…
2012′s Les Voyages de L’Ame was an absolute masterpiece that blended the most emotive elements of each palette into one hard hitting work.

​2014′s Shelter, however, seemed content to glide along in shoegaze territory without shifting gears very often. It was a decent album, but the lack of teeth was a little bit of a disappointment. After all–can you really call it blackgaze if there’s nothing black metal about it?

“Mais non!” said Alcest, unleashing upon us Kodama, a concept album based on the works of Hayao Miyazaki (so they say–the lyrics are in French so I can’t verify. That is, when the lyrics aren’t Sigur Ros style ad libs).

And it. is. heavy.

From the opening strains, Kodama plants its feet firmly on the bedrock and refuses to give way. Don’t go in expecting all double bass and chugged guitars–there’s still plenty of post rock prettiness and clean vocals. But its heft is often more emotional than dynamic, relying more on the strength of its composition and atmosphere than just playing fast and loud.

But for all of this, its forty-two minutes seem to fly by in a breeze, demanding repeat listens (a quality even Les Voyages lacked). And it will certainly get those from me.

One thought on “Record #352: Alcest – Kodama (2016)

  1. Pingback: Record #449: Gojira – Magma (2016) | A Year of Vinyl

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