Alcest is often seen as at the forefront of the stupidly, but aptly named, “black gaze” movement. While many bands have attempted to combine the delay drenched spaciness of shoegaze with the raw, visceral sound of black metal, few have been at it longer or more effectively. Alcest took it a bit further on their last release, Shelter. Many people wrote Shelter off as a boring, conventional shoegaze album only worthy of note because it was a stylistic shift by a band who had received a bunch of praise for their pioneering, unique sound. I use the phrase unique because when Alcest first came to be, there were few, if any similar bands. On Kodama, Alcest has taken a step back, but in all of the right ways.