Apparently the new Alcest record was completed and announced way back in July, but I’m only just now hearing about it! Following the nearly black metal-free 2012 album Les Voyages de l’Âme, it comes as no surprise that the act are now being officially billed as a dream pop band for their upcoming record Shelter.
Alcest were pioneers of the post-black metal sound that’s been gaining speed over the past few years, but the fact that Shelter was produced Birgir Jón Birgisson (Sigur Ros) and mastered by Joe Laporta (Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters) is further evidence that they’re continuing to distance themselves from black metal.
That isn’t just speculation, either. The press release confirms as much:
Shelter is the fourth release from latterday French Dream-pop exemplars Alcest. The album is the result of a long journey into vast new creative terrain . Mastermind and multi-instrumentalist Neige and drummer Winterhalter pile up the thick, layered cloud banks of multiple guitars and of classic Shoegazery and blend it with the sweet melodicism of pioneering post-punk Brits like the Cocteau Twins, as well as epic, soundtrack-like melodies and prog-leaning song structures. Shelter is being released by Prophecy Productions, distributed by Dismanic/eOne January 21, 2014.
Shelter features guest appearances from Slowdive’s Neil Halstead (lead vocals on “Away”), Billie Lindahl from Sweden’s Promise And The Monster’s and Amiina’s strings sections. The album was recorded at Sundlaugin Studio, Iceland, with Sigur Rós producer Birgir Jón Birgisson.
The title of the album, “Shelter,” describes its concept. These songs are about shelter as a safe place that allows everybody to escape reality for an instant, to reunite with what we really are, deep down. Neige’s own escape was to the sea, and all the songs here were inspired by and dedicated to it.
As they’ve evolved, Alcest have left behind most of their Metal influences and with the help of Sigur Rós producer Birgir Jón Birgisson have wrought a markedly light and ethereal sound on Shelter.
Of course, this record should be something special regardless. Some of Alcest’s most memorable work came through in the way of powerful melodies and atmospheres. The striking contrast allowed by the inclusion of black metal influences will be missed, but that’s not going to keep Shelter from being great.
Prophecy Productions are selling pre-orders in various formats here, with vinyl going for roughly $30 USD. Keep an eye out for the album January 21st, 2014! In the meantime, you can expect the album’s first single ‘Opale‘ will be out by December 13th.