Heavy music has lost another of its most gifted and charismatic protagonists.
Selim Lemouchi, founder member and guitarist of Dutch occult rockers The Devil’s Blood and latterly of Selim Lemouchi And His Enemies, has passed away aged 33.
An increasingly influential figure in the rock and metal underground, Selim rose to prominence upon the release of The Devil’s Blood’s debut EP, Come Reap, in 2008. Enthusiastically endorsed by cult metal guru Fenriz of Darkthrone and widely praised by the metal media, the record showcased a band that had tapped into the dark spirit of 70s rock and imbued it with new vitality. Named after a song by friends and spiritual brethren Watain, inspired by Selim’s sincere affinity with Satanism and blessed with the extraordinary voice of his sister Farida, The Devil’s Blood stood apart from everything happening at the time, not least due to their refusal to play the usual music industry games, including a steadfast indifference to self-promotion and a highly selective approach to performing live. When the band did perform live, their shows were routinely hailed as near-religious experiences, Selim and his band mates’ mastery of ritualistic atmospheres and the haunting efficacy of their hard rock revamp ensuring that their performances were never less than unforgettable.
Over the course of three studio albums – The Time Of Time Nevermore (2009), The Thousandfold Epicentre (2011) and the posthumous III: Tabula Rasa And The Seven Pillars (2013) – The Devil’s Blood established themselves as the most wildly creative group amid a burgeoning wave of occult rock bands; Selim’s intense focus and gift for sustaining his own mystique providing them with a magical allure that prevailed until their unexpected split in January 2013.
After the demise of his former band, Selim retreated into the shadows, only to emerge with a new band, Selim Lemouchi And His Enemies, whose debut album Earth Air Spirit Water Fire ventured into more overtly experimental and psychedelic waters, receiving widespread acclaim in the process. His tragic death at such a young age will doubtless add to the mystique surrounding him and leave fans of his wildly distinctive work wondering exactly where his music would have taken us next.
Metal Hammer would like to offer our sincere condolences to Selim’s family and friends. Safe travels, brother.
Words: Dom Lawson