Release Date: Sep 30, 2016
Record label: Prophecy
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Dream Pop, Heavy Metal, Black Metal, Shoegaze, Post-Metal
Review Summary: Kodama exhibits all the dreamy and engrossing qualities one can expect from Alcest, while progressing their complex sound magnificently.Creating a fusion genre places a massive spotlight on the band responsible, with frontman and songwriter Neige of Alcest frequently expressing the desire to go his own way. A perfect example of this is the release of Shelter in 2014, sounding like Sigur Ros going mainstream more than anything else. An enjoyable record in its own right, the shedding of all metal elements worked.
Alcest's last record, Shelter, left fans polarised as it went in the total opposite direction that their blackgaze loyalists were accustomed to. It felt out of character but was still creative, inspirational and filled with a mood and tension that Niege loves to evoke. Not the Frenchmen's best but still a series of compositions that worked. Kodama represents more than just a return to form as they use the symphonic and cinematic essence off Shelter to bridge the gap back to the past.
The title Kodama is a Japanese word meaning "tree spirit" or "echo." And true to form, this date is a conceptual offering heavily inspired by animator Hayao Miyazaki’s film Princess Mononoke, which explores the interrelationship of mankind and nature and their imbalance in post-industrial society. Here, like there, nature gets its due revenge. That said, unless you are fluent in French, you'll have to accept it on faith.
The central theme of Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece Princess Mononoke, cited as one of the major influences behind the creation of French blackgaze pioneers Alcest's newest album, centres on the balance between nature and industrialization. Few films would be more fitting as the inspirational base for an Alcest album; ever since the band debuted with Souvenirs d'un autre monde in 2007 to widespread acclaim, they've been balancing the black metal, post-rock and shoegaze genres that they belong to on nearly every record. Their last outing, 2014's Shelter, created a tilt towards shoegaze that received a muted reception by many fans.