Alcest is a French post-black metal band from Bagnols-sur-Cèze, founded and led by Neige. It began in 2000 as a black metal solo project by Neige, then became a trio, but members Aegnor and Argoth left the band following the 2001 release of their first demo, leaving Neige as the sole member. In 2009, drummer Winterhalter from Les Discrets joined Alcest, after eight years with Neige as its sole full-time member.
Since its creation, Alcest has released six studio albums and a number of EPs and split releases. Their fourth album, 2014's Shelter, marked a dramatic shift towards a distinctly shoegaze sound, while their subsequent album Kodama marked a return to their earlier blackgaze sound. The band are widely credited with pioneering the blackgaze/post-black metal genre, particularly with their 2005 EP Le Secret.
Alcest was formed as a solo project by Neige in 2000. Soon after, the band became a three-piece black metal outfit, consisting of Neige on vocals, rhythm/acoustic guitar, and drums, Argoth on bass, and Aegnor on lead guitar.
In 2001, the band released a 4-track demo tape entitled Tristesse Hivernale on Drakkar Productions in which Aegnor wrote the main riff of the song "La Forêt de Cristal". Not long after the demo was released, the band once again became a one-man entity, with Neige taking Alcest in a more personal direction. Neige, having originally formed Alcest as an outlet to create cold and raw black metal, moved away from the minimalist approach with the follow-up to Tristesse Hivernale, entitled Le Secret. This EP, released in May 2005, became an introduction to the new concept behind the reformed Alcest.
After having signed to Prophecy Productions in March 2007, Alcest's debut album Souvenirs d'un autre monde was released in early August of the same year, and drew comparisons with the likes of My Bloody Valentine and Jesu. According to Pitchfork's Brandon Stosuy, the album "isn't black metal at all", and compared it to "a lighter take on Jesu shoegazing".
In August 2007, Tristesse Hivernale was released by Northern Silence Productions as a split with French black metal band Angmar. The band also released a split EP with the French band Les Discrets on 30 November 2009.