Aosoth – IV: Arrow in Heart (Agonia Records)

Over the top French Black Metal Madness
Release Date: 
16 Apr 2013 - 12:30pm

Every now and then France attacks with great releases, even surpassing other European countries like Sweden in the black metal field. That is the case with this killer release of the new Aosoth album.

A cult band for sure, this time this French institution comes with an even more malefic sound with black metal blended with some death metal, bringing an amalgamation of powerful riffage, production, heaviness and madness.

Some songs are long. for instance, the first track, An Arrow in Heart clocks in at 11 minutes of pure black metal anger with long phrases and great musicianship, with various nuances added to the song, which never gets boring or leaves any room for filler.

The second assault follows suit. Called One with the Prince with a Thousand Enemies this track is another long example of how to make excellent black metal without appeal to any progressive or modern elements and still sounds great.

But it’s in the third and four tracks, Temple of Knowledge and Under Nails and Fingertips that the band goes further into death metal passages adding blast beats that don’t tangle the songs, rather adding even more fuel to their black metal message of otherworldly darkness. These tracks are particularly great and it’s where one can feel that buying this CD was a good deal.

But strange moments may occur, like in the 2-track song Broken Dialogue. The tracks live up to their name and they are like an intermezzo or even a prologue to the final assault Ritual Marks of Penitence. These two-part songs wouldn’t sound strange for fans of the style though.

The last song is still the best of the album: an epic 14-minute song, this is how you receive your reward for sitting through the whole CD. The grandiosity is the hallmark of AOSOTH.

IV: Arrow in Heart reaches new heights in the black metal pantheon, by being intelligent without being so dense that fans struggle to comprehend it. It’s the step forward every band is looking for, but just AOSOTH gets it. Essential for those who like their black metal regal and monumental.