First of all, let's remind ourselves that Alcest is as great as it gets for melodic black metal and that term "shoegaze", which I hate because it tends to pigeonhole any more extreme band that dares to venture into melodic and ethereal territory, when said terms should stand for themselves.
Aside from that minor nitpicking point, and bearing in mind I hate the over categorization and genre defining that goes on in society and stymies the artistic expression especially of musicians because intolerant fans are expected to demand their favorite bands are limited unfairly in scope and capability so they can be more easily marketed.
"Spiritual Instinct", the sixth album from Stephane "Neige" Paut and long time partner Winterhalter on drums and creative assistance, will be no disappointment to the long term fans, especially those who prefer the more heavy and tortured moments that collide expertly with the more beautiful and serene passages, as Neige possesses or IS possessed, if his commentary on his spiritual existence is any indication, by the desire to deliver clear almost angelic vocals that are stunningly ethereal, and then later become a truly raging entity at war with himself and all that is dark in his world. It is this dichotomy however, and his superb songwriting that make it work, and never stoops to cliches.
This is possibly the most brutal of Alcest's catalogue. While there are tuneful and ethereal moments, Neige has described in interviews that he felt a very strong pull toward the metallic and dark side he felt musically had to be expressed.
The album flows as basically one long piece, capping off with the title track to close the proceedings on a level of intensity not seen since "Les Voyages De Lame." For those eager for another beautiful excursion into Neige's most mellow side that he exhibited so brilliantly on "Shelter", or the thick heavily layered sonic portrait of "Kodama", they will have to wait perhaps for a future album, as this one is, as I stated, probably the heaviest album overall for Neige.
And for all Alcest fans, it's a must have. Personally, I hope Alcest one day delivers another mellow album in the vein of "Shelter", because it is an awesome album in its beauty and would be a sad thing to see Neige abandon altogether.
- Original Release Date: October 25, 2019
- Release Date: October 25, 2019
- Label: Nuclear Blast
- Copyright: ℗© 2019 Nuclear Blast
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- Total Length: 41:00
- ASIN: B07W8637P1
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,169 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)