French black metal force Aosoth unleash a pivotal entry to their discography with a record that combines their musical heritage with the ferocity of '90s death metal.
Known as the second project from Antaeus vocalist/lyricist MkM, Aosoth is a force to be reckoned with in its own right. Always improving and perfecting their craft from the early days of the self-titled debut, the band kept building towards a devastating sound and came into its own with the release of III-Violence & Variations and especially IV: Arrow in Heart. The spiraling descent into the darkest corner of the abyss continues and possibly concludes, with V: The Inside Scriptures, seeing the band unleash its most potent and destructive record to date.
V: The Inside Scriptures
Release Date: 17 Nov 2017
There was always a leaning towards death metal with Aosoth, which became more and more apparent as time passed. The allure of the underground '90s death metal sound, its powerful delivery and uncompromising brutality, was present on IV: Arrow in Heart, but it has now fully blossomed. That is evident in the drumming, which differs from your standard black metal take on tempo and progression, with guest drummer T. unleashing a technical whirlwind, appropriately filling the space with cymbal hit subtleties on the slower parts, or augmenting the switches with some intricate drum fills. Coupled with the black metal dissonance and its textural quality, the combination is lethal.
While Aosoth still exists predominantly within the black metal dimension, they do not necessarily follow all the intricacies and vices of the genre, especially when it comes to the production. Retaining a raw perspective, the band allows their work to shine under some sonic clarity, with the low end heartily rewarded. That allows for a much heavier manifestation to come to the front and is the excellent platform for the slower moments of V: The Inside Scriptures. Almost reaching a doom perspective, the band goes into a slow, chugging form that increases the darkened aura of the record, and at the same time producing some of its more groove-induced moments, as is the case with parts of "Contaminating All Tongues" and the excellent "Silver Dagger and the Breathless Smile".
While the previous records featured a deep sense of ambiance and atmosphere crafting, V: The Inside Scriptures moves into combining the textural side of black metal with the aggression and purpose of '90s death metal in perfecting the cyclothymic progression of Aosoth. The opening track is introduced with such a heavily layered sound, while "Her Feet Upon the Earth, Blooming the Fruits of Blood" displays a more majestic quality, as the cyclonic riffing devours the soundscapes.
It is therefore with V: The Inside Scriptures that Aosoth perfect this fine balance, managing to take on and assimilate elements of death metal without moving outside of the black metal realm. The atmosphere the band was known for has been altered, shifting from the terrifying and towering manifestation of the previous records, to something much more bitter and twisted. It is found through the riffs and lead work of the record, as the band maximizes the aggression without allowing the grandeur to be lost. In a way, it feels as Aosoth has completed its transformation, and with V: The Inside Scriptures the band has reached its true form.
In a previous interview, MkM has stated that Aosoth has taken its name from a deity represented with an arrow in her heart. Despite the goddess' power and might, she is unable to remove the arrow without killing herself, which is an aspect that has fascinated the members of the band, something that is also apparent from the covers of the last two albums. It is fitting, therefore, to think that V: The Inside Scriptures describes the herculean process of removing the arrow, and opening up oneself to the tragedy of mortality, signaled by the decaying heartbeat in closing anthem "Silver Dagger and the Breathless Smile". Will this be the end of Aosoth? It is not certain, but through this process of attempting to set oneself free of this torment, the band has produced its greatest work.