Review: Alcest – Kodama (France, 2016)

Living in the shadow of the past would hardly bring something creative and pleasant. That is peculiarly true when it comes to music and art in a broad sense. People need to be stimulated and moved by something which is supposed to be always new and self-evolving. In fact, the human being is made to adapt himself to the surrounding environment but what happens if this environment -let’s call it music this time around- doesn’t change? Well, you’d simply remain indifferent to what’s going on.
This is (sadly) the case of Alcest’s newest album Kodama.

Despite the dramatic hype that the pre-emptive single Oiseaux de Proie raised in me, the rest of the album appeared to be a lot weaker and, besides Eclosion, the other tunes definitely lower down the bar. -Now, the single has been smartly chosen to generate the right amount of interest. That worked out pretty fine-
The main issue I encountered in Kodama, which is the basically the only one too, is that it sounds like the unsuccessful copy of Ecailles de Lune. In fact, since Les Voyages de l’Âme the band has been (stupidly) criticised for not being like on their previous albums. They weren’t blackgaze anymore. They weren’t black metal at all. Still they were evolving and that was good. Now, it seems like all those bad opinions eventually became too heavy to bear. So why not returning to the past splendour?
I don’t know whether this has been what came to mind to Neige and Winterhalter, but what I got in return has been a huge amount of displeasure.
On a good note, Neige managed to gift us back with his super cool scream, which has been abandoned for way too long. Even though, almost every song fails in finding and reaching the ideal apex nor it’s capable to drawn the listener -me, in this unlucky case- “inside” the song. One big, flat and foggy sea of smoothness is the best way I’d describe Kodama. An album that would have been nice for any other band, but we expected much more from Alcest.


That being said, one may think Alcest’s latest fatigue is total crap. It’s not, if you thought that. If I’d have to rate this, which is a thing I’m not used to do, I’d give it 6 out of 10. So yeah, playing it won’t wreck your hearing. But again, the real shame it’s to me that it seems like the French duo is slowly riding on a descending vortex that, best case scenario, will bring ‘em to put the project on hiatus.

Label: Prophecy Prod.
Websites: Facebook | Website
Release Date: 30th September 2016
Reviewed by Matteo “Teo” Gruppi

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About Matteo "Teo" Gruppi 120 Articles
TSL co-founder, co-owner, editor, CEO, reviewer, interviewer and writer. Basically I do a lot of stuff and I can’t get anything done well. I was born in 1991 and started loving music since 1981. Got my very first band in high school and now I play as a lonely dumbass in 3 projects: Chiral, Il Vuoto and |||. I listen to every kind of music as long as it is good and intense. Favourite genres include: everything as long as it’s good! (but also folk, black metal, 70-80’s rock and post-rock).

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