THE DEMO CORNER
Since the release of their debut album Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde, Alcest has gained a considerable underground following in the metal scene. However, their style of shoegaze metal that they seemed to have perfected wasn’t just something that was started one day out of the blue. In fact, the first signs that Alcest were going to be something special were found on the 2005 EP Le Secret. Now that the band is on a steadier record label, it is no surprise that Le Secret sees a re-release this year. While not perfect, it’s great to hear where the band got its start.
The re-release of Le Secret is essentially two variations of two tracks, the title track and “Elevation.” The back story for this release as it is now is due to lead man Neige’s want to re-record the tracks according to his matured demands from when they were first recorded. In both cases (the re-recorded and original versions), Alcest treat both equally, and while the listener may feel more inclined towards one set of recordings, it also allows the listener to gain a glimpse of what Alcest sees and feels in the songs. As different as the emotions are in both recordings, they are subtle enough for the listener to identify immediately that they are listening to an Alcest song. The one common theme with all of the songs on the album is that they convey the emotions and ideals that Neige envisioned, only that the re-recorded versions are likened to a potter shaping the clay from a big lump into a vase, drying it in a kiln, and painting it to come up with the finished product. In a sense, this is what the re-release of The Secret is, with the original versions and the more up-to-date re-recorded versions of the same songs. The length of the songs adds to the band’s ability to cover much ground with their music without relying on too many small details to fill out the time. The airy feel and elaborate compositions of the songs from the EP are distinctly Alcest, which are things that they have fine tuned on subsequent albums. There isn’t too much wrong with the EP, which is a rarity for such a release. Length may be an issue, but in general, that’s for people who aren’t patient enough to sit through a ten-minute plus song.
It’s hard to believe that Alcest in its current incarnation has only been releasing albums in 2005. With an already growing reputation, one would think that Alcest has been around for longer. Though Le Secret is a re-release this year, it wouldn’t have much trouble fitting in with the band catalog. Fans of the band who weren’t one of the lucky 1,000 to get the original pressing of the EP now have a second chance to hear where Alcest started in earnest.
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1. Le Secret (re-recorded version)
2. Elevation (re-recorded version)
3. Le Secret (original version)
4. Elevation (original version)
Total playing time: 54:19
Release Date: May 17, 2011
Label: Prophecy Productions
Alcest - Le Secret
April 9, 2011