Alcest is a post-rock shoegaze black metal band formed in France in the year 2000. In the upcoming years Alcest made this "blackgaze" genre very popular around the world. Even though from time to time other musicians were involved, Alcest is currently a duo of the French multi-instrumentalist Neige and Winterhalter on drums.
As a child Neige had experiences and dreams about "Fairy land", otherworldly place with beautiful sounds and colors that nowhere else existed, and their music was mostly influenced by this place. On an interview for spin.com when asked what is the essence of Alcest Neige said:
"It's a band I created in order to translate into music a very special experience that happened to me when I was a child - something very spiritual and difficult to describe. Music can describe it better than words. There is a lot of hope, a lot of nostalgia, something very uplifting and spiritual, these otherworldly melodies. I do this music precisely to not have to speak about what is behind the music. I just make this music, and it's coming from the deepest parts of myself. It's almost subconscious."
With their 2014 release, Shelter, Alcest have left behind most of their black metal influences and approached it in post-rock shoegaze manner. This genre switch met different reactions from the fans, many had hard time accepting this stylistic change, especially ones from black metal community which missed the screams and heavier riffs.
On September 30th, Alcest released new album called "Kodama". Neige has said the album is heavily inspired by Japanese art and culture, as well as Hayao Miyazaki's film Princess Mononoke. Musically the album is a return to the band's more traditional blackgaze sound but with a lot fresh ideas.