Genuinely takes you somewhere else,
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This review is from: Le Secret (Rerecorded) (MP3 Download)
It's helpful if you know a little something about Alcest before you listen to any of Neige's (the sole member) music. The band was formed to provide an outlet for certain experiences that Neige had in his childhood, where he was transported to another world with human-like creatures (I think of fairies and elves every time he describes them), a magical, beguiling music and beautiful pastoral surroundings.
This might sound like it has nothing to do with a post-black metal/shoegaze band, but I think the genre lends itself well to the subject matter. There's a mixture of acoustic and atmospheric elements and the same kind of drifting, hypnotic black metal that Burzum pioneered. 'Le Secret' starts with the sound of a river flowing somewhere in the distance and then the dreamy layers start to build up, with vocals floating in (they are very soft and quiet) several minutes in. And it's with the introduction of the vocals that you start to "get" Alcest and this song. My French isn't superb, but Neige appears to be describing this dreamworld that he saw in his childhood - that is the secret that the song reveals.
With this in mind, Neige's approach makes sense. It's not aggressive black metal, it's barely metal at all in fact, but it's pure escapism, which is delightful if approached with an open mind and an idea of Alcest's importance. Sublime stuff, in both senses.