Alcest & Mono

by Finn Dickinson

Black metal is the new black – or so Alcest would have you believe. Masterminded by French musician Neige, the project has been pushing the boundaries of the genre for more than ten years. From the febrile reverie of debut EP Le Secret, which combined shoegaze haze with the unforgiving sonic evisceration of black metal, Alcest’s ground-breaking blackgaze sound has slowly morphed into shimmering, post-rock glory – a transition which culminated in 2014’s Shelter. The duo’s latest offering, Kodama, is a sonic expansion on the otherworldly themes of Alcest’s earlier recordings, and a return to form that was never really lost.

Accompanying Alcest will be Japanese post-rock veterans MONO, who’ve recently released their ninth studio album Requiem For Hell (inspired by Dante’s The Divine Comedy, no less). For a band without a vocalist, attempting to effectively convey the themes of The Divine Comedy to a room full of people may seem like the most futile game of charades in existence, but the sheer emotive heft of MONO’s dynamic sound ought to be enough for you to get the gist, and it’ll certainly make up for it if you don’t. Expect ambitious lyrical and thematic concepts, heart-rending melodies and skull-crushing riffs, and some of the finest music that the entire post-insertmusicgenrehere trend has to offer.