Album Review: SYLVAINEWistful
I, like many of you I'm sure, am a little bit obsessed with Alcest, and am highly anticipating their upcoming record. Of course, those old Alcest records can only satisfy so many times before they start to run dry, and you have to wonder: is there anyone else out there who is at all close to what Neige is doing? Turns out there is. Her name is Sylvaine and she might be even better than Neige. I know that seems like blasphemy, but I truly believe it. This talented French multi-instrumentalist has, with her new record, Wistful, composed what is quite honestly one of the best post-metal debuts that I have ever heard. Sweeping in scale and immaculate in its conception, Wistful is an album that speaks across the ages. Few record capture a sense of beauty and magic as well as this one, and it proves to me that Sylvaine has what it takes for music fans across the globe to be slavering over her stunning and monumental output.
The contrasts that Sylvaine is able to construct, with some truly vicious screams layered into beautiful soundscapes is entrancing. The monochromatic screamed tones are a balancing factor against some of the choral arrangements. As opposed to many of her post metal peers who at times feel like they are adding parts to their music just to make it feel pretty, Sylvaine is going above and beyond, injecting elements of far darker genres to evoke within her record a deep sense of despair. There is something empowering to be had here, the compositions are simply too good for it to be any other way, but more important is the way that she folds in blast beats, so that they fit in as part of a greater whole in a way that is quite possibly unique in the history of the genre. This isn't because Sylvaine is doing anything especially mind blowing with Wistful, but more that she is that much better than everyone around her. She has burst onto the scene as the de facto goddess of post metal.
Maybe I'm just obsessed with post-metal that uses a lot of female vocals… I certainly got super into that Cult Of Luna & Julie Christmas record that came out earlier this year. I think there's something more to that though, especially in Sylvaine's case. For her to be coming out as powerfully as she does, delivering on the level that she does at this point in her career is absolutely stunning. I get the impression that she still isn't pushing herself to her limits and that leaves me wanting more. Her music is a lot less busy than that of Alcest and is not quite as evolved, and yet it hints at far more potential. Sylvaine is an incredibly mature and ridiculously talented new artist who has the opportunity to take this scene by storm. Her music is utterly beautiful, playing on old paradigms but exploiting them in ways that will carry you off to a land that you once thought make-believe.