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When I visited Paris last year I carved a little time out of my busy schedule of eating, eating and more eating to do something else I really love doing when I visit any far away land: walk around while listening to music written by bands from the area. My de facto French listening party kicked off with, of course, Gojira; The Way of All Flesh and From Mars to Sirius didn’t not work in the context of the hustle and bustle of the city, but they didn’t fit in especially well either or give me any new insight into the creative energy behind the music. Perhaps this is because Gojira aren’t from Paris — or even a big city — but from a small country village outside of Bayonne. Alcest aren’t from a big city either — Wikipedia tells me they’re from Bagnols-sur-Cèze, a town in southern France with a population of roughly 18,000 — but for some reason their haunting, atmospheric black metal resonated perfectly with the cold, wintry, dark spirit of Paris in late December. Listening to Écailles De Lune on my earphones put everything in perspective, and I felt like I understood more of what the band members were feeling when they wrote the music than I had before.

Alcest are now working on — or have possibly already finished — their third album, “Les Voyages De L’Âme” (English:”The Journeys Of The Soul”), set for release in January 2012 on the following dates via Prophecy Productions: January 6 in Germany and Austria, January 31 in North America, and January 9th in Europe and everywhere else. Those images above are two different versions of the album cover — the one on the left is for the CD edition (painted by Fursy Teyssier), and the one on the right is the artwork of the vinyl edition (photo shot by Andy Julia). Since there’s two, naturally you’ll want to pre-order both of them! Do so right here. I look forward to listening to it in deepest, darkest, coldest January in New York City.


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