Aosoth - IV: Arrow in Heart
Agonia Records
Black Metal
7 songs (56'17'')
Release year: 2013
Official Myspace, Agonia Records
Reviewed by Jared
Album of the year

Originally a side project spawning from the French black metal band Antaeus, Aosoth was formed back in 2002 and since then has been a pretty prominent band in conveying a death and black metal combination in the metal underground. Up to this point I have not actually attempted to give this band a spin due to interests in music elsewhere, but I felt it was finally time to give them a shot and see what style of black metal I was going to dunk myself neck deep into. I did get into their discography a bit before sitting down and giving Arrow in Heart a proper listen and I found my experiences to be average at most, but I can’t fully back up that conclusion due to little acquaintance with the band. From the very start of the album Arrow in Heart, I could tell it was going to be a pretty killer death and black metal experience.

Production quality was the first real obvious indicator of any improvement over their predecessors. The album begins with a creepily heavy guitar lick and follows in a repetitive fashion mostly throughout the song. It’s important to mention that most tracks on the album will follow this same style of repetition, but I felt it was very substantial overall. The first track Arrow in Heart has a menacing riff during the entire song, but also captures a moment around the six minute mark where tribal style drums are heard that really break up the song nicely and away from the recurrence of the same riffs. The third track, Temple of Knowledge, really stood out for me. It is very apparent on this track, as well with the others, that they strove to write some seriously peculiar and bizarre riffs, but they remain to be as evil sounding as ever.

Blast beating is not heard 100 percent throughout the album. The album takes time to slow down and to focus more on double bass at times and more simple beat patterns. Blast beating is at the forefront of drumming however, but it is done nicely in every song. Sometimes it may get a little overbearing but before it gets too much, it swings back into a less hectic manor which I was glad they decided to do so. So many bands stress over blast beating these days that it almost ends up sounding like complete garbage, but Aosoth did a nice job producing a great drum sound in my opinion especially for their style of black metal.

Toward the album’s end there are two tracks entitled Broken Dialogue that follow the concept of the album. Of course being a black metal style album it’s going to follow some sort of anti-religious custom but I immediately overlooked this because this shows no importance musically for me. The two tracks break up the album until it finally gets you to the final long stretch with the 14 minute song, Ritual Marks of Penitence. The song begins with a simple but well performed drum intro. The final song really works as a summary of the entire album, reaching points of high energy to slowing down at times to give you a break from all the pandemonium from the clashing of instruments. But I thought the final track overall tied the whole album together nicely.

This album might put some metal fans on the fence but I found my experience to be very fulfilling and might be one of my favorite albums of the year. I strongly recommend listening to this album more than once and do not settle on short listens alone to judge the album as a whole. It took me a couple of times to really grasp the entire album, but after a few listens I ended up having the best metal experience thus far for 2013.

Killing Songs :
An Arrow in Heart, Temple of Knowledge, Ritual Marks of Penitence
Jared quoted 94 / 100
Other albums by Aosoth that we have reviewed:
Aosoth - III reviewed by Charles and quoted 77 / 100
Aosoth - Ashes of Angels reviewed by Charles and quoted 69 / 100
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