Aäkon Këtrëëh was an eponymous dark ambient/black metal-project created by Lord Aäkon Këëtrëh, a central figure within the French black metal collective commonly referred to as Les Legions Noires.
A total of three demos were recorded under this moniker during the mid-90s before the project dissolved back into obscurity. Although it is the least metal-sounding of the three releases in technique and falls short in composition, Dans la Forêt delivers a listening experience similar that of black metal by approximating the spirit of said genre.
A stripped down, minimalist mode of expression in the vein of Burzum’s “The Crying Orc” reduces black metal to impressions of its most basic constituents. Instrumentation is kept to a bare minimum, with all but two tracks — featuring keyboards and vocals, respectively — performed solely on electric guitar without any form of percussion. This highly repetitive music, constructed around variations on a handful of minor scale melodies, exploits the character of these scales to create a mood of ancient folkish or medievalist character that defines the atmospheric experience of the compositions.
Like most ambient music, each song consists of dominant themes which are then layered in additional harmony and instrumentation. These main themes are subsequently extended with closely related melodic ideas or chordings voiced by a second guitar an octave below to deepen the atmosphere through harmonic texture. The lack of intricacy makes room for greater apprehension of detail and nuance, which increases listener sensitivity so that minuscule variations — delayed notes, fluctuations in distortion, timbre and rhythm — create a sonic effect disproportionate to their ordinary role.
Despite its modest methods, Aäkon Këtrëëh is thoroughly successful in establishing and maintaining a despondent, yet strangely uplifting atmosphere throughout the course of the demo. However, the high degree of repetition and lack of structure impose limitations on the material. Songs remain static and lack any discernible direction, making them less immersive than they could have been. Thus, listening to Dans la Forêt could be likened to the frustrating experience of entering a dream world full of possibilities, only to discover that everything is frozen in time.