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Voices of the Damned Past - 65%

psychoticnicholai, August 14th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1994, Cassette, Independent

If the first Moëvöt tape was unorthodox and unnerving, then this second tape is where pretenses of a connection to black metal are dropped completely in favor of a totally ghostly and primitive ambient approach. By this, I mean the shrieks and tremolo guitars are gone, and this helps the atmosphere so much more. The atmosphere in question is like staring backwards in time to the very early 20th century where some cryptic goings on were captured on tape. Images of decaying houses and abbeys in a dark and foreboding forest where few have gone and still fewer return from are conjured in the mind while this plays. Those who do return are utterly deranged and babble the cryptic language used on the front cover. This is music that sets the background for scenes of clandestine rituals and the tone for moaning of restless long-forgotten souls. There's a lot of similarity between this and the first Moëvöt tape, but here I feel their unique brand of ghostly, primitive, and cryptic black ambient was done a bit more elegantly.

This tape is the musical equivalent of an old German Expressionist horror film from the 1920's. Everything is very slow and simple, but also very strange and dreamlike. The way some of these choirs progress makes them disturbing, but also strangely relaxing in a mournful kind of way. Again, the simplicity of this is what makes the atmosphere work. It's precisely because this sounds so unnatural that what we get feels so chilling. This feels just spooky enough and just barren enough to sink into a dark background, blend in, and still have an aura of mystery about it. Just try watching a movie like Häxan or Begotten with this going in the background, and it will probably make the atmosphere of those films even more bizarre and ethereal. The music fits the films as they are lo-fi terror pieces that feel very forbidding and old, relying on an atmosphere of spiritual dread to fuel them, just like this tape. It's like listening to something that just shouldn't have been unearthed.

The musical elements of this really bring the mood together. The vocals almost all consist of moaning choirs makes this feel ghostly, like a liturgy of the damned is taking place. The synth lines gave a feeling that's less halloweeny than before, instead sounding like the organs played in a forgotten, old timey movie theater after everyone already went home. The string instruments do more to instill dread and sorrow in you. The lack of hokiness is very good for this tape, as the music on offer does a lot to show what Moëvöt can do with their cryptic miasma of loneliness. This tape is better than the first one even though any changes are minor. There's much more of a fearful miasma in this tape than the first one. It feels more ghoulish and less corny. The increased use of choir vocals do a lot to add a sensation of isolation and spiritual longing. The approach on this is still very interesting, even if it isn't a masterwork. If you're looking for some very bleak ambience with a unique and primitive approach, then give both this tape and the one preceding it a spin. The voices from the bell tower beckon for you...

A closed, isolated world of decadence and sadness - 70%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, June 2nd, 2013

This was the second of just two albums made by Moevot, a dark ambient project closely associated with the French Black Legions of the 1990s; the band's sole member was involved in several Black Legions bands such as Belketre, Susvoutre and Torgeist. The entire work is very much like a soundtrack to a movie made long ago and only recently recovered by archaeologists; it has a patina of age and might well have come from some time in mid-nineteenth century France when poet Charles Baudelaire was writing his poems that would make up the collection "Les Fleurs du Mal". The movie would be a sinister horror work of strange goings-on in Paris alley-ways, underground passages and channels, and deserted basements of old buildings. Aristocrats, bourgeoisie and working-class people alike would cram the music halls or theatres to view this little movie and see something of a Paris that existed in their darkest imaginations, in which they invested secret and macabre rituals of initiations into occult societies and sacrifices of animals and the odd human or two, dedicated to a deity whose name was too dreadful to utter.

Being just 33 minutes in length, the entire album can be heard in one sitting if listeners can tolerate its mournful tone and sense of occult mystery. Most tracks are fragments of sound or ambient texture and might well be excerpts from the imaginary movie: one of the first two tracks features what might be a frenzied attack by a vampiric being upon an unsuspecting and defenceless human. Prowling creepy organ music, more campy-kitschy than genuinely malevolent, alternates with sad, almost tearful singing or chanting. Although some listeners might find the furry music a bit hard to take seriously, its melody fragments are intriguing enough that you just have to follow them, to see what terrors lurk around dark corners, behind trees, or walled up in a brick wall down in the basement wine cellar that everyone else has forgotten about.

The singing is actually quite good and there's plenty of suspense in the music and black spaces in the work. Keyboard work is two-finger basic but some of the guitar work can be lilting and haunting. Field recordings of wind and pleasant birdsong appear alongside darker, more ominous melodies. The instruments very rarely synchronise: what usually happens is that a solo instrument plays out a very thread-bare tune or a beat taps away quietly and hands over whatever tune it's made out to the next instrument. The result sounds like something a group of kindergartners could reproduce if they had enough training. Voice becomes the dominant element in the entire work and in this respect does a lot of work here: singing, humming, screams and (about the 20th minute) groaning in pain and frustration.

As the music progresses, it hits some bumps where the cello goes quite deranged and the atmosphere becomes a bit melodramatic. The playing becomes amateurish in style. Still, it can be spellbinding if only to see what else the lone musician tries to get away with ... it's not looking too good near the end.

As underground experimental Black Legions releases go, this work is one of the more intelligible ones and that's saying a fair bit as quite a few such recordings have featured people imitating animals in heat or being just plain out of their minds. It's definitely an acquired taste but it has its rewards: listeners are invited for a brief period to enter into a closed, isolated world that exists close to ours yet is intangible to all but the open-minded and curious. There is a definite antiquated and decadent flavour to the music in spite of its fragmented nature and simple tunes. Absinthe, the beverage of nineteenth century Paris bohemian artists, would be a good accompaniment if you feel thirsty.

Timeless Ambient - 100%

LordBelketraya, January 15th, 2008

Moëvöt is the creation of twisted soul Vordb Dréagvor Uëzéërb (Belketre, Torgeist, Black Murder). It's also another one of the dark ambient projects from France's almighty Les Legions Noires along with Amaka Hahina, Aäkon Këëtrëh, Satanicum Tenebrae, etc. This music is not as terrifying as Amaka Hahina and not as depressing as Aäkon Këëtrëh. I would almost consider this music to be beautiful, it's tranquil, minimal and almost soothing. I actually listen to this while studying or reading a book. The majoroty of the the tracks are under 2 minutes, some are 30 second chants with a hint of acoustics thrown in.

The music seems like it was recorded during the French renaissance era. The production is clear in which you can hear everything, but sounds like it traveled through a time warp to make to this generation. If I had found a tape containing this music in the ruins of an abandoned house in a village somewhere in France, I would not have guessed that this was recorded in 1994. The music contains singing/chants (of couple of painful yells here and there), gentle acoustic guitars, church-like organs, winds blowing, the crackling of a bonfire, birds chirping in the woods, water flowing from a creek and distorted violins. I even wonder if some of this was recorded outdoors. There's no drums, no electric guitar shredding, no black metal style vocals as we know it.

The music is nothing like I've ever heard before, it's unique in every sense of the word. Everything was well constructed and thought out. The length of the demo (30 minutes) is just about right. This is dark ambient done correct and (might I add) excellent as well. Given the obscurity of the music (being limited to a few copies on cassette), the weird, almost frightening language of the title (Ézléýfbdréhtr Vépréùb Zùérfl Màzàgvàtre Érbbédréà), the relative anonymity of Vordb Dréagvor Uëzéërb and the LLN, it only creates a darker, sinister atmosphere to the music. You instantly think of dark landscapes, corpsed painted people walking around aimlessly in the woods at night and satanic imagery. Some do it better than others. Absolutely classic and timeless music.

Distant.. - 77%

Thamuz, November 14th, 2004

The toll of the bell over the howling of frosty wind followed by the lifeless wailing of a lost soul. This is the beginning of a journey through a distant microcosm filled with melancholia, pain and extreme eeriness.

This is not an album for the casual listener. This lifeless and minimalistic set of dirges have been constructed in a seemingly direction less fashion, yet the central theme of these obscure pieces is oddly concurrent throughout. The depth created within these simple compositions is remarkable, especially when it is considered that the vast majority of the contained passages are made up of no more than a few fragmented notes played at pedestrian speeds. The tracks consist of the selective use an acoustic guitar, a keyboard and an out-of-key violin, and this combination works ridiculously well as the instruments are interchanged and blended in at timely intervals.

The sparse use of instrumentation and the implementation of extreme periods of dead silence create a feeling of desolation and timelessness as the music meanders along as if nothing else eternally exists. The lost wails and an occasional harsh shriek by the vocalist more than hints at a tortured existence as he drones in complete agony. The lugubrious screeching of the violin and the crawling ambience of the keyboards are almost as full of sorrow as is theoretically possible. Yet, there is a hidden sense of beauty in these morbid creations that is to be found latent under the thick veils of hopelessness.

Each track is linked to the next by the sound of footsteps, at this point it becomes apparent that the listener is being taken across a world unknown to the mortal being to a place where death reigns. This is experienced within the confines of our own minds. In fact, this isn’t music, but it is art. There is definitely some kind of magic present in these lurid wanderings that does not happen very often. This is music in its most primitive and pure form.