Kodama – Alcest (2016)

Moody, atmospheric black metal perfect for sitting at home nursing a glass of whiskey pondering away or slow moshing at a dingy club on a weekend night. The band describes this album as a concept album about “the confrontation of the natural world and the human world”, inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s film Princess Mononoke. If the artwork didn’t at least hint that, then the first track should make it clear.

The first track, also the title track, Kodama feels like it would be at home in a Miyazaki epic such as Princess Mononoke. The intense steady driving beat of the drums and bass coupled with the whine of the guitars and the ethereal vocals make this song feel otherworldly. It feels like a chant that the actual Kodama from Miyazaki’s mind would make, if they were into French metal. Around 5:30 the song slows down, giving listeners a chance to decompress before the grand finale. And just like that, the first of six tracks ends. It only gets better from there on.

This song is a microcosm of the entire album. Do yourself a favor and listen to it and if you like it, listen to the rest of the album.