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Short guitar tracks working well as a collective - 70%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, December 17th, 2014

Some acts' discographies are probably better heard going back from their most recent to their earliest and this certainly applies to Aäkon Këëtrëh, one of the more obscure projects associated with the French Black Legions and a mostly experimental dark ambient one at that. The fact that AK made just three recordings within 2 or 3-year period makes the task easier as with this genre of music there are no great leaps going backwards in the way of technical sophistication. "Dans la Foret" ("In the Forest") is the middle recording of the three AK made over 1997 - 1999.

All tracks are very short and untitled and the entire recording is best heard as one overarching work of separate chapters. In themselves the tracks lead nowhere and are repetitive but as a group they form a narrative, even if unintended, and from that narrative they draw their meaning and make sense as a group. Atmosphere and emotion arise and derive their strength from the collective. Most tracks are simple in their construction: they are based around a repeating guitar riff or melody which is often counterpointed by a second melody in a lower or higher register - the interplay between two opposed melodies or riffs gives them their emotional tension. In some later tracks, AK plays an extended solo lead guitar melody against repetitive rhythm guitar and this helps to develop further the feeling initially expressed in the opening riffs.

While the production is no great shakes, it does help give the music a foreboding shadow quality and it is just clean enough that the raw primitivist melodies and counter-melodies can be heard clearly and starkly. There is a definite air of isolation and aloneness in most tracks and in some later pieces there is a sense of defiance, as if AK is determined to plough his own furrow in spite of what life may throw at him.

The length for this recording is about right: any shorter and the melodies and riffs would seem a bit undercooked, any longer and the restrictions AK set on himself in making this demo would start to strain with the music in danger of becoming monotonous. Some people might gripe that AK adds no special effects or extra instrumentation but the idea was simply to express mood and atmosphere using just a guitar. There are some good tunes here and perhaps later they may be reused in longer and more developed songs should AK choose to revisit and rework them.

Aakon Keetreh, Dans la foret - 99%

Abysmal89, November 15th, 2011

Aäkon Këëtrëh is the name of a one-man project by Lord Aäkon Këëtrëh, eminent member of the french infamous, underground and cult scene known as " Les legions noires " ( LLN, The Black Legions ). LLN mainly performed an incredibly raw, harsh and classic form of black metal, and in Aäkon Këëtrëh we have a side project that breaks with this, at least in terms of instruments and composition, but keeping the "essence" of the genre.

Dans la foret is not the classic black metal album. It can be described as some form of dark ambient, mixed with black metal and with a slight influence of doom metal. The album is in general very minimalist, featuring a couple of guitars ( the main substance of the album ), some keyboard in certain tracks with a very vintage and eerie sound, and occasional vocals, chants that are very grim, but not related to black metal.

The core of this album is the guitar execution and composition. We have two guitars, usually one in a melody and the other into a solo, transmitting a very somber and dense atmosphere, The solo's tend to be melancholic, and in their highest moment, very dark and sad. One can really imagine oneself walking through a quiet forest at the dawn, with this album as the perfect soundtrack. The quality of the record is not specially bad, is vintage and helps to create the ambient. The songs differ in terms of structure, but in sound are very similar. Some tracks sound as a couple of riffs keeping steady through a couple of minutes, others, like my personal favorite "VIII", have some kind of intro and then get lost in an trance led by the solo.

In Dans la foret, we have a very interesting mix of genres. It's minimalist and creates a great atmosphere. The execution of each instrument is nearly perfect. Every element just fit in place to create one of the most notable albums of LLN. If you like the dark music, despite being or not raw, or if you like black metal with dark ambient, this album is a must listen. I just can't find a worthy flaw to mention here.

A journey through LLN Vol. I - 88%

hailmarduk666, September 30th, 2009

This is the beginning of my continuing journey through LLN, the Les Legions Noire. It has been a group of people that interested me greatly once I delved deeper into the underground movements of the black metal scene. I have always wondered what types of people made up the underground group, that made such obscure, low-fi black metal/dark ambient.

I have decided to work my way along the LLN bands alphabetically, reviewing the albums that I have downloaded off various blogs where people have accumulated the material. This is a very great undertaking for me, and I know it will take a while, but I feel that it will be well worth it. Not only will this task allow me the ability to refine my reviewing skills, but also to give me the great opportunity to peruse the majority of what LLN has to offer it's listeners and pass that on to those who wish to read the reviews.

Dans la Foret is my first leg of this journey. I am faced with a relatively short album labeled as dark ambient, but is much different from the dark ambient I have encountered in the past. Here we have some very dark guitar work, with no beats, and very little vocal work. All 8 tracks are untitled, and it is very fitting, because I am unable to make a determination as to what they may have been called, personally. AK has some very nice guitar dueling, and is quite adept; much to my surprise.

The production is quite good, but there is very little that actually has to be recorded. Each song only has 2 guitars, and there are very fleeting moments of screams, with no discernable vocals. The tracks themselves all run together, with only a momentary break of the track fading into the next. Each track has basically the same beat, but it is difficult to judge because there are no references to speed. Basically I am deducing this based on the strumming of the guitars.

Overall this is quite a nice recording. The movements are very dark and predominantly use minor chord progressions. There isn't much atmosphere, and the guitars featured are not extremely distorted, and there is very little hiss from the recording equipment. It provides a very clean sound for the listener, and is surprisingly easy on the ears, unlike some of the basement recordings that I will later review. AK is one of the better musicians in my opinion, because the clean production and minimal amount of instruments used force the artist to show at least a semblance of prowess regarding the guitars found on the album. This is definitely a record I recommend, especially to the new LLN listeners, because it is an easy transition into the harsh realities of the LLN underground.

A chilling tale of sorrow and despair. - 100%

CorneliusTapas, September 10th, 2009

Being a self-proclaimed connoisseur of dark ambient, I decided to pinch myself a copy of Dans La Foret; the 2nd demo released by ambient genius Aakon Keetreh. The trouble today is that it's quite a chore to find true, moving dark ambient. The genre is plagued with 13-year-old teenagers piecing together odd sounds on Virtual DJ and emotionally depressed basement dwellers who have nothing to do than piece together some bullshit between their trolling of 4chan and fornication with a cactus. However, with this epic tale of misanthropy, depression and winter feelings, you can be assured you are absorbing the true sounds; exactly what dark ambient is supposed to sound like.

The album starts off with a sinister 4-chord progression, which quickly generates some powerful ambience. As the record goes on, more complex concepts are embraced, with more complicated notes and progressions being incorporated into the already-strong music. Another fantastic thing that Mr. Keetreh has done here is that he has used simpler sounds than he did in his previous demo, Journey into the Depths of Night. While this may sound like a setback, the simpler notes actually helped the ambience, because it helps generate the 'darker' and 'gloomier' atmosphere that this masterpiece is supposed to present.

Another thing I'd recommend you to do is not judge this on your first listen. The unique style that this record is in takes a lot of focus and patience to get a rewarding experience. It's like watching a movie; the second time you watch it, you noticed things that you missed during your first observation of it. Henceforth, your first listen to this album will not be your most rewarding one. Once you understand the dark feelings that Aakon Keetreh is displaying in this demo, you can really feel the ambience.

So why did I give this an 100? The answer is simple; there is nothing else like it. Never before have I seen such brilliance in such simple equipment and music. The fact that this beautiful ambience is generated from only a guitar and some faint vocals is absolutely astonishing and Keetreh deserves all the praise he can get from it.

If you have little or no experience with dark ambient, I highly recommend you check out some other artists before this, as this is much harder to get into. Try your luck with Aghast (Nor), Wongraven, Midnight Syndicate, or even Burzum's last two albums.

Once you believe your ready, prepare for the ultimate journey that is Dans La Foret.

Culmination of Aäkon Këëtrëh - 95%

Duisterling, March 19th, 2009

I wanted to write this review for a long time, since I had already commented on both ‘Journey into the Depths of Night’ and ‘The Dark Winter’. He released one demo each year from 1995 to 1997 and each time, the total length of the release increased. ‘Dans la Forêt’, or ‘In the Forest’, is his second work and gives us 22 minutes of the odd, LLN styled dark ambient. I consider this to be his finest release; while ‘Journey into…’ was a travel that lead him to this successful forest of ambiances, his inspiration froze when the dark winter came in the following year (damn, his titles are oddly suitable for weird metaphors).

The guitar sound on this demo (and guitar is about all there is to Aäkon Këëtrëh) is the sound, to me, that symbolises what dark ambient in the vein of Les Légions Noires should sound like. It is slightly fuzzy, distorted, often disharmonic, off-key, with regular mistakes and sometimes it even sounds a bit random, but it truly is great. The songs, despite, or perhaps due to, their short length, are all very original. Compared to one another, they don’t share any elements with each other except for the atmosphere they create, which remains about the same through the entire demo. No boredom due to repetitiveness here, it is actually very entertaining.

When it comes to the obvious screw-up’s: I have said it before when speaking about various albums, and it applies here as well: atmosphere is not seldom created by the presence of clear and grand flaws. ‘Dans La Forêt’ remains one of the best examples I know to prove that statement. It is comparable to the way we are attracted to the ruins of old buildings. Those silent remains, witnesses of old, are actually crappy, dangerous buildings, nothing more than one big flaw, but they touch us way more and way deeper than any new built house could ever do.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the mistakes were incorporated somewhat on purpose. Despite the simplicity of several melodies and the use of only one instrument, the Lord shows great musical understanding in other melodies. The best examples of his musical insight are the tracks where he recorded two guitars parts (I can imagine how fucked up that must have been with probably nothing more than a single mic and a crappy tape recorder), layering and supporting each other brilliantly. He probably understood that the elements that seem like flaws from a technical point of view, actually create more atmosphere and authenticity.

There isn’t much more I can say on this. It is sheer, eerie brilliance in its own unique way. It is one of the most obscure and weird soundscapes I know. The atmospheres invoked by this lonesome guitar are among the greatest I’ve heard. If there was a machine that could turn pure emotions into music, this would pop out if you’d put in the right mixture of depression and melancholia. This gets a 95% rating because it is so unique. It is unique compared to the rest of LLN, but also unique compared to any other act out there. How it could be better or worse is therefore almost impossible to say. It is what it is, and it is good at it. Striking as hell; highly recommended.

Tlak, Don't mind if I do! - 91%

overkill666, September 18th, 2008

As far as the LLN goes, I wouldn't spend much time looking into bands who took part in it. Though, there are a few gems to be found amongst handful of extremely raw and pointless projects. Aäkon Këëtrëh is one of the best members of the LLN, and this guitar-based ambient is simply amazing.

Aäkon Këëtrëh is in fact a guitar only project. There are no vocals, no drums, etc. I haven't heard a band like this in my life, and for being so simple the music is amazing. If you're looking for some shred guitar work, fancy solos or a FULL band, this project isn't for you. Hell, if you aren't even remotely into dark ambient or black metal this project will be a big disappointment to you.

The guitar is really the only thing you can 'review' for this project. The riffs are melancholic and dreary for the most part. While listening to this material, I'm able to stay focused and remain entertained. There's not a whole lot of speed to the album, so the black metal influence comes in the 'kvlt' variety. Though, this is the good kind of 'kvlt' I don't mind sitting down to hear. Lord Aäkon Këëtrëh does show a great deal of musical knowledge when hearing the layered guitar tracks. There is a monotonous, sort of melodic sound to some of the tracks. The guitar tone and production give the music some justice as well. It sounds very underground, and very pleasing.

The dark ambient genre really hadn't caught my attention very much before I heard this project, and Moëvöt (Which is another LLN dark ambient project). I prefer these types of dark ambient over the newer wave of the genre. Aäkon Këëtrëh is a very interesting project, to say the least. If you can find any material from this band, I'd advise you to give it a spin.

Amazing guitar based ambient - 92%

I_am_thy_abyss, February 7th, 2006

Aäkon Keëtreh is one of those "alternative" bands from the LLN, which haves a strong link of bands, such as Moëvöt or Vzaeuvbtre.
Those bands make this ambient based songs that are not suitable for every listener of music, or metal as well, they are very twisted and expresse in a extreme and suffered way the dark emotions of humanity.

Dans la Forêt its a guitar based ambient Demo, the only track that haves some keyboards (mixed with the slow and melancholic guitars that characterizes this first Aäkon Keëtreh demo) its the first one, that, in my opinion, its the best one from this Demo, very sad chords with simplistic and depressive keyboards.

The second track, on the beginning, haves some despair screams and chants as well, and that's the only part with voice in the entire Demo, which is kind of disturbing, the lack of a "human presence", and i think that this makes the general composition very interesting.

The rest of the demo its kind of equal, as if all the songs make one only track with some variations from the guitar use, but, in essence, its all pretty the "same track".

Its like we're making somekind of journey into the night, through woods of isolation, I think that thats the emotion that its supposed to be transmited to the listener, the guitars are very slow paced, some are more agressive and sharp, but, all of them, make us feel that we are surrounded with solitude, 'cause they are very pessimistic and obscure.

So, most people will consider this Demo pointless and borring, but, in my opinion, its one of the best and unique demos from all the underground scene derivated from BM.

One of the best LLN demos around. - 85%

KayTeeBee, May 13th, 2005

I do love French Black Metal, in fact I think France has the best BM bands as of lately. However, a lot of people associate French BM to certain groups such as LLN, Les Légions Noires, who apparently released a shitload of demos in '94, '95 and '96, but most of them are fucking impossible to find in real version. Some are even impossible to find on MP3. Anyways, when you actually get around to downloading some of those projects, most of them are shit, except for a few. Moevot, Brenoritvrezorkre and Aäkon Këëtrëh are some of the few bands that qualify into the good or excellent category. Brenoritvrezorkre for its extremely raw production and unique atmosphere which is created, with the most minimal riffs on the planet. Moevot for making beautiful and very desperate and desolate music, and Aäkon Këëtrëh too. Aäkon Këëtrëh sounds a bit like Moevot, but the atmosphere and music are quite different.

The music and production on this demo, unlike most LLN demos, is very clean and atmospheric. The riffs are very simple, but very melodic for once, and create a very sad and forest-life feeling, without having underproduced shit where you can't hear the guitars at all. They bare the exact amount of distortion that is needed, and some very unique feelings are felt from start to end. Most of the riffs here are basically 2 guitars alternating, one playing a simple yet effective melody and the other playing lower notes, to act as a bass and making a counter melody. What should be a fault but was actually enjoyed by me is the fact that the whole demo isn't really structured. You can't really tell when a song starts or ends... but the atmosphere stays throughout the whole demo, which I admire. The lead in the end of #7 and during #8 were nice too.

Overall, very impressive, especially coming from an LLN band. Noone expected something this good. But bear in mind that is NOT metal.

Journey into Despair and Inner Suffering - 100%

Foret_Noire, January 24th, 2005

Let me begin by saying that this is not a leisure release and is not a release that should be seeked by many individuals that may decide to read this review.

This is one of the many black legions releases that truely destroy the inside of the listener. Lord Aäkon Këëtrëh's first solo opus Dans La Forêt (French for "In the Forest") is one of the more well thought out releases. Apart from innovations and such from other black legion project goals, especially from black metal projects, Lord Aäkon Këëtrëh has put his entire soul into the creation of this release. You can feel the despair and depression that this release puts through you from the very depths of your soul. This release is one of the darkest and most honest recordings ever to be written.

Upon the very beginning you meet yourself into complete solitude and darkness that surrounds this release. The compositions are normally very primitive with two mixed guitar tracks that usually harmonize with eachother. The musical aspects aren't very complex, and usually is two or three phrases, but the emotion and power the harmonies of this release are unbelievably dark and bring the deepest emotions through to you in the most honest way imaginable. Words cannot describe the feeling alone on this recording.

Despite the very primitive aesthetics of this release, the depth of the feelings you will recieve from it go far beyond any other ambient release imaginable. Lord Aäkon Këëtrëh has poured himself into the very depths of sorrow to consume this master piece release from beginning to end with some of the most depressing hymns of darkness you will ever hear. There is one track on here with the use agonizing screams and utmost cries of pain and suffering that are later included on such future creations, most notably the "Journey Into the Depths of Night" demo tape.

This tape is one of the many from the black legions that literally take apart your soul and drive it to the very pits of inner sorrow and suffering with the honest solitude of this recording. As you sit in your room in complete darkness the effects of this release can be deeply scarred to a point where all happiness you ever had will be drained from you. This is one release that really takes you to the end of your existence and filled with some of the most powerful guitar based ambient that truely could destroy your soul.

As you listen to the despair and darkness through the spirit and depth of this release you will be taken deep inside your soul and pull it a step closer to the end as all feeling is drained from you upon listening. The phrases compiled in this release are those that will grab you by the very soul and take you a step closer to your own destruction and ruin. Anybody who is listening to this I would recommend to hear in complete silence and darkness. Feel through this recording and let it grab your soul and pull you closer to yourself. Stare into the infinity of the blackness that surrounds you and these are the hymns of your own inner decay and demise. As I continue to repeat, the depths of this release are too amazing for words and just reading this alone could never describe the depths that you can feel within this release.

I can truely say i've rarely before heard releases that are so honest with the true feelings and darkness that can be found within this release. This is 20 minutes of honest feeling and depression that can't be found with other releases. Upon hearing this release you will quickly realize the true feelings of inner suffering. The experience is not easily written in words and is best to be heard and experienced by the poisoned minds who reach out to grasp on to their own despair and suffering through this art. This truely is the most honest and deepest recording ever in the black metal and ambient genres and it alone can truely take you a step closer to the end with every listen as you latch on to your own sorrow as it is heard through this release...