Alcest is a Blackgaze band formed in Avignon, France, in 2000. The band, which started as a Black metal band, later incorporated influences from Shoegaze, changing its genre to Blackgaze, a fusion of black metal and shoegaze. While the band maintained its Black Metal roots, the music began to sound like other genres, such as Shoegaze and post-rock. Neige reported in interviews that he did not listen to these types of music before recording his album Souvenirs d’un autre monde. Alcest became a focus for the memories of Neige, who is the only member of the band’s official lineup.


Neige (Stéphane Paut), the founder of Alcest.

Alcest was formed as a solo project by Neige in 2000.

Later, the band became a Black Metal trio, with Neige on vocals, rhythm and acoustic guitar and drums, Argoth on bass and Aegnor (known today as Famine, who worked with Neige in Peste Noire) on guitar.

In 2001, the band released a demo with four tracks titled “Tristesse Hivernale”, edited by Drakkar Productions. Shortly after the demo was released, the band was once again left with just one member, Neige, now taking over Alcest with a more personal touch.

In May 2005, the EP “Le Secret” was released. Reviews of the “Le Secret” EP proved to be quite positive, praising Neige by saying that he used nostalgia and a relaxing atmosphere in the composition of his songs, which is unusual in Black Metal.

In 2007, the classic “Souvenirs D’un Autre Monde” was released; the album is considered by many to be a conceptual work, and it is a nostalgia for Neige’s childhood visions.

In 2010, “Écailles de Lune” was released, a highly praised work, mainly because of the tracks “Percées de Lumière” and “Sur L’Océan Couleur de Fer”. Fans and admirers well received it.

In 2012, the album “Les Voyages de l’Âme” was released by Prophecy Productions. This album made Alcest much better known and the best-selling album, with classics such as “Autre Temps” and “Les Voyages De L’ame”.

The album “Shelter” was released on January 17, 2014. This album established the band’s distance from its Black Metal roots and established itself once and for all in Shoegaze and post-rock. The band lost part of its “Metal” audience but gained other admirers. The album “Shelter” was released in several versions and models by “Prophecy Productions” and contains some classics such as “Opale”, and “Délivrance”.

In 2016, “Kodama” was released by “Prophecy Productions”, the band’s most successful material to date; the album marks the band’s return to the Blackgaze style, returning to a heavy sound. According to Japanese folklore, the title Kodama is inspired by a spirit that lives in trees. The track “Oiseaux de Proie” was successful on platforms and American radio, making Alcest better known. The song “Kodama” was also very well received, along with “Eclosion”.

In 2019, the album “Spiritual Instinct” was released by Nuclear Blast. The clip for “Sapphire”, taken from the album, is the first clip in which the band appears performing with instruments. The album had a limited deluxe version, containing a second disc with a “Sapphire” and “Protection” remix.

The Loudwire portal chose it as one of the 50 best metal albums in 2019.

A few interesting facts about Alcest:

The use of his own created language on several songs like Sapphire
“Some people asked for the lyrics of the song, but actually this one does not have any. I am using my « invented language,» which is made from spontaneous/improvised sounds without any specific meaning. Since the very beginning of Alcest, 1/4 of our songs contain this language, and it’s a way for me to sing without having to be restricted by the signification and sounds of a « real » language. « Les Iris », « Kodama », « Délivrance », and many others have been written in the same way”.

The band name Alcest originates from Alceste, a character from Molière’s play The Misanthrope. Neige used that name because of its “ethereal” sound and representation of the project’s concept; he removed the second “e” to differentiate the band from the play. As a child, Neige had experiences of being in contact with a “far-off country”, which he generically refers to as “Fairy Land”.Alcest serves as the musical adaptation of the memories from this “otherworld”. Neige intends for Alcest to be a journey for the listener to this world through his memories. This change in concept was first introduced in “Le Secret”.
Souvenirs d’un autre monde serves as a literal summation of the concept behind the band.

Studio Albums
2007 – Souvenirs d’un autre monde
2010 – Écailles de Lune
2012 – Les Voyages De L’Âme
2014 – Shelter
2016 – Kodama
2019 – Spiritual Instinct
2005 – Le Secret
2011 – Le Secret “Re-release”
1999 – Tristesse Hivernale