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Aosoth probably acquired some kind of recognition because of the presence of Antaeus members (MkM & BST) in the band. But actually, they offer much more than that, since their music is characterized by indisputable quality.
Their first full-length release follows more standard black metal paths, and it consists of 10 tracks, rather short in duration. The atmospheric parts are diffuse and relatively few, such as the intriguing intro of “Rebirth by Fire”, with the uncanny screams sounding in the background. The dynamic presence of the album is due to the great guitar work, which can blow your mind with the commanding and dominant riffs. Sometimes they are brisk, whereas at times they adopt a black ‘n’ roll sound, offering a nice variation. The bass is audible enough, but it strictly follows the guitar melodies. As for the drums, playing is interesting enough with some nice fills and changes from mid to a more thrashy tempo, while the presence of blastbeats is often as well.
One of the major and significant elements of the album are the perfectly performed changes in tempo and riffs since no song sounds monotonous and boring. So the listener does not lose interest, and this fact is helped by the production as well, which sounds as clear as it should be. The only negative thing I noticed at some sporadic moments was the low volume of drums, compared to the guitar sound. But this does not really affect the whole album’s content. Regarding to the lyrics, unfortunately they are not available, but based on the track titles, I could guess that they cope with Satanism and Nihilism. Also, the vocal performance of MkM is remarkable, ranging in very high standards. The perfect voice for this manifest of hate.
This particular release is a ritual, but be careful. It will not make your minds wander through the dark woods of the North. It will challenge you to visit the worst basements of the neighborhoods of Paris, and face your greatest fears, if of course you can bear them. A true depreciation of all ethical values and positive feelings.
Originally written for: The Lair of Storfeth
Aosoth, their name taken from a dark goddess/spirit of the Order of Nine Angles, presents this their first curse upon mankind. At this early stage in their career we find them creating music of an old school variation with some thrash elements. Much of this material is influenced by ONA ideas, one can grasp hold of certain lyrical themes which point to this.
I would say this release while touching upon MkM's old band Antaeus shows variation from their material. For one as I pointed out there are more aspects of thrash and old school black metal. Some ambient parts are included, but there is none of the dissonance that would go on to so greatly influence their sound.
As such, this release is more direct and aggressive then their later material. Whilst they never really lost the muscular structure that generated from their creation, this stands as a monument alone in their lifespan so far.
I like the ambient parts on here, as they offer a contrast to the envenomed attack of most of the music. The vocals are filled with spite and hate, recorded with a distorted edge, and produced without any reverb. On all of their releases MkM's vocals remain a constant, he is always a highlight.
The bass and guitars are both the most important instruments, indeed bass is produced fairly loudly on here, often being slightly cleaner then the guitars. It thickens the sound, yet stands out on its own, which is always refreshing in black metal, though increasingly becoming more common. The drums aren't as aggressively produced as on later albums. I feel they have a thinner sound on here, but they operate with consistency and always work with the music.
Riffing melds between highly aggressive sections which retain the thrash influence and touches of melodic riffing, which would be quickly thrown out by the band. Sometimes we have sections giving off that kind of old school Darkthrone feeling. These don't come too often, but show another variation in Aosoth's sound. And it must be stated variation is a great key to the success this album has. They often throw in riffs that really give it an original feeling, and keep the songwriting fresh throughout.
Overall I'd say this release, whilst being a good one, is not as great as later recordings. This is mainly due to the more traditional aspects of their sound. While I like how later albums meld tradition with progression and dissonance, this release is very much rooted in the past. I'm sure though that it was good for the band to start their career in such a place, as it gave them a starting point that had it's feet firmly in the roots of black metal.
A worthy release for anyones collection, but not quite on the level of greatness they would reach in my opinion.
Aosoth was a side-project of MkM (Antaeus fame) and briefly for Set, Sagoth and Thorgon who are/were all in Antaeus. So I´m sure many people who know of Aosoth are also Antaeus fans. Now I reviewed the Aosoth/Antaeus split a couple of years back and actually liked the Aosoth side of the split more since it was new material and it was very very good. Very melodic and you could say it was a real ¨toe tapper¨. Very well done indeed. So my expectations were high since I love Antaeus. I have to admit that I was letdown by this debut full length release MkM´s new fulltime band.
First off, I wasn´t expecting Antaeus Mk.2. Why do that when you do it so well your original band? But to be honest I really miss Set´s rhythmic style of guitar playing and especially ZVN´s militant and brutal drumming here. But this doesn´t sound like the Aosoth I heard on the split from 2002. Musically speaking the quality doesn´t match the earlier stuff. MkM is great as usual, one of the best bm vocalists in the business. But he alone can´t make this album as good as it really could have been in my eyes. Perhaps it´s due to the fact that BST handles all the music here and no one else. Obviously he wasn´t going to copy Set and ZVN but I find that the music itself is somewhat lacking compared to Antaeus.
I know some will say that this isn´t meant to be compared to the prior band. When you follow MkM´s former band for close to 10 years it´s difficult to ignore the comparison especially when the you consider that a majority of the people know of them because of his work with Antaeus. It´s like ignoring Meynach´s work with Mütiilation because he also is in Hell Militia. Obviously comparisons will be made. Now this album is not a disappointment in the truest sense of the word. Songs like Nine As Ego, Soul Cremation and Here To Serve are very good songs and can make you see positive things for Aosoth in the near future. But when I heard that MkM left Antaeus to fully pursue this I asked out loud, ¨So why the change?¨ Especially after seeing that this doesn´t go up to par with Antaeus. It just doesn´t add up.