Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Hellish Black Metal - 90%

CrimsonFloyd, September 13th, 2011

Black metal bands love finding new ways to sound evil. There is vicious evil (Mutiilation), ghostly evil (early Mayhem), ritualistic evil (early Graveland) and countless other evils. What these different faces of evil share is a cold, vast sound—the black metal aesthetic, so to speak. That changed in 2003, when Deathspell Omega released "Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice," totally inverting that aesthetic; the sweeping, frigid spirit of old was replaced with an overbearing, smothering hot tone culled straight from the bowels of Hell. Aosoth’s "III" takes this blazing, sweaty, infernal aesthetic, mixes in a touch of sludge and creates an absolute beast of an album.

Indeed, Aosoth draw a lot of inspiration from fellow Frenchmen Deathspell Omega: esoteric theological themes, dense production and nefarious riffs. However, Aosoth is far from mere Deathspell Omega worship. In contrast to the controlled chaos of Deathspell Omega, Aosoth’s sound is more streamlined; this is a direct frontal attack conducted with extreme power. A strong sludge influence gives "III" a muddy sound that is absolutely impenetrable. The riffs are thick and heavy, bearing down on the listener like still, humid air. MkM’s snarling vocals are full of spit and vinegar—the perfect complement to the nasty riffs. As if trapped in a filthy, windowless basement with the heater cranked all the way up there is no exit from sweltering, gritty atmosphere of "III."

The intense atmosphere is made bearable because the riffs are so damn groovy. The menacing hooks will stick in your head like a Satanic mantra. However, these hooks are embedded within clever compositions, full of unpredictable twists and turns. Like trying to escape a disorienting maze but always ending up right back where you started, "III" balances innovative composition with addictive melodies.

The one element that holds the album back is the pedestrian drumming. While there are a few nice fills, usually anything more than a standard blast beat and drummer BST (who is really known as a guitarist) sounds in over his head. For example, during the frantic middle section of “II,” BST’s drumming sounds exhausted, like an old hound hopelessly chasing after some sprightly foxes. Fortunately, for the most part, BST just blasts away, so the percussion remains more of a non-factor than a true detriment.

Otherwise, Aosoth have really achieved something praiseworthy. "III" blends monstrous force with cunning twists. Like one of the horrific torture chambers of Dante’s Inferno, this is simultaneously intelligent and vulgar; or in a word, evil.

(Originally written for www.deafsparrow.com )