Aosoth - III
Agonia Records
Black Metal
6 songs (45:54)
Release year: 2011
Official Myspace, Agonia Records
Reviewed by Charles
I was not expecting Aosoth to go for something like this. Their last record, Ashes of Angels was, for the most part, standard-issue black metal, though it appears that most people rated it far higher than I did. Whatever. The album’s highpoints were when it occasionally allowed itself to wallow in lower tempos which, combined with its murky production job, produced some splendidly swamp-like standout passages. This, their third album, accentuates those slower elements, as well as the horrific sound, and strings out the track lengths. As such it feels like a more ambitious project, darkly experimenting with gloomy atmospherics and oppressive weirdness.

First track I (songs have numbers, rather than names) lasts for a gruelling eight minutes of tempo shifts and sickening black metal ambiance. Growling, buzzing riffs reverberate underneath several layers of dripping scuzz; be they fast or slow they are almost always austere and in an unflinchingly orthodox vein. As an opener it works as an initial statement of sheer fuzzy ugliness, but doesn’t add a great deal to the sound on previous works. It’s with II, though, that the album starts to take a life of its own. It is infested with a whining tapeworm of a chromatic riff which has an unbearably abrasive quality, hinting at a nod to their avant-garde countrymen, Blut Aus Nord or Deathspell Omega. But the grime of the production gives this a suffocating intensity all on its own, like the listener has been locked in an iron furnace and smothered in belching fumes.

After this monstrosity the album enters into its slower-burning middle stages. Tracks III-through-V submerge themselves in a gaseous murk of imposing doomy ideas, and occasionally to great effect. III makes good use of its plonking piano chords, which give a surprising sense of gothic drama to its roiling slow riffing. IV, replete with kick-drumming that occasionally coalesces into a kind of militaristic march feel, sounds like a sick inversion of the pomp and pageantry of a state occasion (and as such is particularly timely for this British anti-monarchist). The nine-minute long V is built around a droningly hypnotic guitar riff. None of these tracks, however, are quite as single minded as this may imply. Both III and IV suddenly spring into baleful life in their closing minutes, which feels unnecessary to me, as if the band suddenly wanted to back away from releasing a properly down-tempo album and throw in a sop to the gods of the blastbeat.

So, III is a dense and oppressive album that presents a somewhat more distinctive approach to composition than Ashes of Angels, but which continues to make the most of Aosoth’s chilling black metal sound. A worthy release.

Killing Songs :
Charles quoted 77 / 100
Other albums by Aosoth that we have reviewed:
Aosoth - IV: Arrow in Heart reviewed by Jared and quoted 94 / 100
Aosoth - Ashes of Angels reviewed by Charles and quoted 69 / 100
1 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 1 replies to this review. Last one on Tue May 17, 2011 2:40 pm
View and Post comments