Horror in Reverse: DDENT Returns to the Inevitable on “VOLEMOI” (Video Premiere)
The idea of music having hidden meaning when played backwards has long been popularized by conspiracy theories, probably most notably with the Beatles and the "Paul is Dead" theory. Beyond just subliminal messages, however, listening in reverse can also offer creative inspiration. French post-metal group DDENT, as a bonus track for their 2020 album Couvre-sang, applied this technique to create an entirely new work: "VOLEMOI," which we're premiering the intriguing and ultimately disturbing music video for today, was devised after bandmember/composer Louis Lambert listened to "VOLEMIE" backwards and noticed an ethereal quality to it. The result, fashioned as an entirely new work, is a haunting journey backwards through time, reliving events out of our control towards horrifying memories. Rendered in a cinematic mixture of massive post-metal, swelling synths, and electronica, "VOLEMOI" looks and sounds here like a waking nightmare. Start at the end below:
It's not immediately obvious, at first, that the video is reversed, though it's notably slightly sped-up, so realizing that everything's going backwards is a jarring moment of its own. Some of the actions the unseen protagonist (whose first-person perspective the video is entirely shot from) takes seem like they're happening in real time, not backwards, so understanding what is happening (or did happen, anyway) isn't always a simple task. What seems at first like a mundane journey through a pastoral countryside, albeit with some weirdness at the start, is eventually revealed to be something far more nightmarish: I'll avoid spoiling it, but the absence of any human presence in the video is far more concerning once you've watched the whole thing.
Like the ashen cigarettes that come back to life in trembling fingers within its visualization, VOLEMOI surges and swells with a heart of its own. The mixture of high-fidelity kick and snare drums overlaid with more electronic-feeling components provides a rhythm that would almost be danceable, if it was about twice as fast, but it also punches hard enough to match the sinister, tension-building riffing that's scattered across the track. Lamenting horns and sympathetic vocal choirs create a building feeling of regret as the song progresses, leading to the video's final revelation and the coda of the piece both feeling like an already-known and completely unpreventable tragedy.
Louis Lambert comments:
"The track is a remix of VOLEMIE, taken from the album "Couvre-sang". Initially, I wanted to record an unreleased bonus track for the LP’s D side, then while trying things out, I noticed that by playing some of VOLEMIE’s bits backwards, it was giving off very ghostly sounds, like voices. So I tried to recreate and amplify this ethereal atmosphere. I started from some VOLEMIE parts read backwards on which I composed new themes and played new instruments, but this time forward. I also recorded several voice layers, like some kind of ghost choir. Once everything was recorded and assembled, I slowed it down. The result is a sort of post-apocalyptic, slow, agonizing song."
Couvre-sang released July 3rd, 2020 via Chien Noir.