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.
Tags: aäkon këëtrëh, Black Metal, dark ambient, dungeon synth, Les Légions Noires, review
26 thoughts on “Aäkon Këtrëëh — Dans la Forêt (1996)”
I do appreciate little overlooked gems like this. Even though it lacks in progression or any revelation, I’ll still hoover up any tidbit of music that still retains the old spirit and inspired vision of old black metal. It does call to mind “Beyond the Nothingness” by Blackmoon, a project of the late David Parland. Probably due to be recorded in 1994 but not released until 2013, it flew under most hessian’s radars. Similar to Aäkon Këëtrëh in that it the the veil to something otherworldy, but sadly falls into being more of a static tableau than anything else through lack of movement through exploration.
It has aesthetic ideas which might inspire a new generation to take them further, perhaps into actual songwriting. More like a notebook of sketches than a finished painting or a novel.
You might also like the 1994 demo “Cirle of Leth” by Dies Irae:
The songwriting lacks focus and inspiration at times but there are moments when the melodic ideas develop more fully to create something akin to crude classical music. Taking these ideas further could have led to music comparable to Summoning’s best works or Ildjarn’s ‘Hardangervidda’.
NICE APRIL FOOLS JOKE
Great, succinct article. Informative, descriptive, logical and emotional at once in a sober tone.
Thank you for the recommendation; I will definitely check out this release.
When it comes to LLN ambient, Moëvöt is perhaps one of their best projects.
The first riff?
They jacked it from Metallica “To Live is 2 Die” — the weepy acoustic breakdown in the middle.
But irregardless of that, Les Legion Noires were decadent/indulgent, overly emotional, overly prolific, and shite. They’re like the French predecessor to the Black Twilight Circle (you know, the LA Latinos reppin’ pre-Columbian paganism). Remember when Moevot recorded an EP from a rat’s rectum-crack? That’s the gimmickry into which niggas descended once BM died. (See also: that nigga who ostensibly got pigs’ hooves — Silencer? The nigga who disappeared and came back as ‘Ghoul’ — Shining? All that gay-ass DSBM played on heavily-delayed, clean Squiers.)
LLN were late to the black metal game, needed an editor.
You could have just said that they are French and be done with it.
Although I agree some I think there’s a few worthwhile LLN releases. Few Vlad Tepes demos, March to the Black Holocaust and first two Mutiilation. I can agree about the comparison to BTC but they are much more vapid. Better comparison would be some of the bands from Portugal like Mons Veneris. Also I’m not big on Silencer but he’s pretty legit
Sounds about right.
People die. Ideas/ concepts can’t. They can just become out-moded. Consequently, the “BM died” would be more correctly reworded as something like “when I discovered that my idea of black metal and de-facto black metal differed so much that I lost interest in it”. “Where these ever really congruent?” would be a question to ask oneself here. In face of ideas like “metal is AOR 2.0”, I have serious doubts about this. Or if this incongruence rests on extra-musical properties like people trying really hard to make their socially harmless, that is, (usually) easily ignored by anyone who doesn’t care, activities, look not-harmless (Say, by torching unoccupied buildings in the middle of the night. That’s not going to cause a single McDonald’s franchisee to consider changing the menu, let alone anything beyond that).
Black metal (or pretty much any metal) exists because people yearn for and appreciate things mainstream ‘happily reproducing consumer cattle’ culture doesn’t cover, presumably mostly because investing the same resources in something that’s significantly cheaper to produce, eg, all this pseudo-music which is nothing but an excuse to create videos featuring semi-naked black women, leads to a greater return and “people don’t care”: Stuff is supposed to be funny and short-lived as laughing about the same thing can’t be kept on for long. Otherwise, is considered to be an intrusion on the individual’s freedom to have a good time.
Consequently, it can’t really go away once discovered unless there’s some kind of fundamental change in human nature. And this doesn’t happen (or at least hasn’t happened so far). Some people are still practicing and performing medieval dances.
Metal is realism plus mythic imagination. The two reinforce one another, if you think about it. Consumer culture offers the opposite: a vortex of the ego, gradually expanding to consume everything in its path.
In this way, metal is both conservative and friendly to what liberals want. We want an end to ecocide, cultural erasure, the fact that assholes run everything, pointless conflict and cruelty, etc. We have discovered methods that the Left will not accept and the Right is afraid to endorse, so that puts us outside of this activity, but we are also beyond all of the other mainstream activities because they are based on consumer culture or something like it (“demotism”).
Consumer culture offers the opposite: a vortex of the ego, gradually expanding to consume everything in its path.
One of the vexing questions I keep asking myself is “Am I among a crowd of different people dressed in the same way or among a crowd of mirror images of the same (non-)person dressed in different ways?”[*] Assuming that »ego« means something like individual, consumer culture is exactly not about that: It’s about reducing everyone to a bundle of basic (animal) drives & instincts and satisfying these in the cheapest possible way[**]. People are usually anxious to suppress any signs of individuality in order to blend in with ‘the group’ and whoever doesn’t invariably either ends up getting punished by or at least stopped (as good as that’s possible) by people demanding attention to commonness piling up around him until there’s literally no more room to be anything but another faceless particle in a mass of faceless particles (each caressing their own iPhone). This is obviously horrible simplified.
[*] Note to the knee-jerk psychoanalyzer: This doesn’t make sense to you. Too bad.
[**] Simple example: Why is it almost impossible to by cheap (supermarket) food without added sugar? Answer (try that): Eating something with sugar in it makes you want eat more of it, regardless if you’re hungry or not.
‘the “BM died” would be more correctly reworded as something like “when I discovered that my idea of black metal and de-facto black metal differed so much that I lost interest in it”.’
No, dummy, “BM died” would not be more correctly reworded as that. It was worded how it was worded for a reason. The reason is >>> normal, healthy motherfuckers can cope with a quick generalization that conveys something that’s already kind of a basic premise on this website >> that black metal was infested by bandwagon-jumpers around ’94-’96, and lost steam and spirit, quantity over quality, lowest-common denominator, etc.
See the Burzum review page: “…raised the bar on the genre to a point it could not surpass with 1993’s Hvis Lyset Tar Oss, effectively ending the first generation of this genre.”
Effectively ending the first generation, BM died, whatever. Something in YOU compels you to constantly perseverate on the smallest little shit that catches your obsessive eye, and you have to write a completely new article unto it. It’s truly annoying and bizarre. Sometimes you can just keep it to yourself.
It is flamingly obvious that black metal and death metal died and live on through only a few acts in a niche genre that is ignored by most everyone.
Those in denial of this need to reconsider their motivations.
Black metal becoming popular should never have happened. Now black metal has returned full center to where it was in 1991 and where it should remain: a few long-hairs in long-sleeve t-shirts and leather jackets sieg heiling in basements when not running around the woods shirtless.
From what I`ve seen the Alt-Right has become the new breeding ground for “serious” LARPers. Pagan LARPers, hellenistic LARPers, deus vult LARPers, etc. I wouldnt be surprised if they started to prance around in togas and chain armor while spouting their half-baked ideas (some probably do). I have nothing against the idea of the Alt-Right, but its becoming more and more of a self-parody.
Yeah I’ve seen “alt-right” people name drop bands like Arghoslent for the anti PC thing. I know Varg has been getting a lot of attention from them especially his videos
Why not Ildjarn, Darkthrone, Burzum, Motorhead, Slayer and Skrewdriver instead?
WHY Motorhead and Slayer? Are they anti-PC?
They’ve certainly been at pains to disavow Nazism.
“Those in denial of this need to reconsider their motivations.”
Perhaps even their life.
I perfectly understood what the author of this meant to express. However, I think he’s wrong.
So you just disagree that BM died.
Today I learned:
Also, Rainer, you are far from a ‘normal… motherfucker’. No offense intended.
Glad to see LLN get some love instead of the Nuclear War Now forums revisionist theory that everything they ever did was complete shit and not of note. That recent Vlad Tepes “remaster” tape is worth getting. It possibly has the best versions of those songs. Some of them are just upset that more French black metal doesn’t get as much attention. I can understand as the “Concilium” bands never seem to get much love outside a forum post or two. Seigneur Voland and Kristallnacht (and ESPECIALLY the sole Desolation Triumphalis LP, which came later from the same personnel) are definitely mandatory. Blessed in Sin always sounded like a retarded version of Greek BM though. I guess it works for some, but too much of a genre salad at times. (On the topic of Hellenic bm worship, I highly recommend Hail from Finland. Barbaric and ugly Varathron worship with lyrics about semen, black magic, and Tarzan.)
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