“L’Envol” by Alcest

The blackgaze pioneers return with an uplifting new single.

Nearly five years have passed since Alcest’s last album, 2019’s Spiritual Instinct. Like many others, the French artist — widely considered the godfather of “blackgaze” — found himself challenged by the COVID pandemic. In a recent interview with Kerrang, Alcest’s Neige talks about experiencing a dearth of musical ideas (“I think I spent a whole year without finding one riff”), and instead, spending time reconnecting with loved ones.

Jump ahead to the present, and Alcest is poised to release a new album titled Les Chants de l’Aurore (trans. The Songs of Dawn), an album that’s markedly brighter and more uplifting. As Neige puts it:

[A]fter having done two albums that were quite inspired by the darkness of the times we live in, I saw that — especially in these dark times — to make an album that has a lot of harmony and beauty and positivity could really stick out. I thought maybe people would really enjoy it, because it feels almost like a healing.


I think this album will have a little bit of this effect again, because a lot of the music I hear these days is very dark. A lot of people are actually inspired by our reality now, which I completely understand, but we decided to go the complete opposite way. We wanted people to feel some serenity and some love, and to bring them to a more beautiful place.

The album’s first single, “L’Envol,” is certainly in-line with that. It has fiery riffs and pummeling rhythms a-plenty, but also lots of shoegaze-y ambience and Neige’s clean vocals, and ends with an extended ambient denouement. At times, I’m reminded of Denmark’s Mew, another band that flouts the lines of metal in an idiosyncratic way — which is a good thing.

Les Chants de l’Aurore will be released on June 21, 2024 by Nuclear Blast Records.

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