Review: “Spiritual Instinct” by Alcest

By Christian Decker

By virtue of their musicianship, Alcest have been able to craft songs that successfully blend the dark and screeching blackness of metal with the soothing beauty of atmospheric rock. “Spiritual Instinct” is a masterpiece of atmospheric black metal and it deserves its place with the greats of the genre. The album is very short, boasting only six tracks, but each one brings a rich array of tones and vocal performances I have never heard before. It’s crazy to think that the melodies are so touching when I can’t even understand the words because they’re all in French.

Perhaps there need be no translation. The music speaks for itself. Neige, with his mind bending soothing clean vocals brings solace and comfort on songs such as “Sapphire” and “Le Miroir,” which then devolves into the wails of a banshee, made all the more potent on “Protection,” which is clean for most of the song till the end. The guitar melodies and harmonies that are picked are so very Alcest, meaning, that you’d be hard pressed to find these sounds from any other band. Other bands have replicated this combination of atmosphere and heaviness but not quite like Alcest.

The opening song “Les Jardins de Minuit,” hits very heavy but also fills you with such serenity. It’s like walking into a dark forest alone at night but knowing that nothing in there is going to hurt you. I suppose that describes much of Alcest’s music. “Spiritual Instinct” brings more of the beautifully dark music that they are the best at to the forefront of metal talk.

Rating: 5/5 Q-Tips

Favorite Song: “Les Jardins de Minuit”

 

Image Source: Stereogum.com.

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