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Violence and Variation - 90%

Orlok666, April 8th, 2012

Aosoth has had an interesting career since it's formation. Whilst the early work focused on an old school variation of MkM's other band Antaeus, with the release of their second album Ashes of Angels they began expanding their sound with dissonance and ambience. This release, their third shows the band increasing all these aspects while discarding much of the old school elements.

However Aosoth, even whilst they drift into dissonant riffs that summon the hellish pits of the mind, never lose the muscular touch of their roots. Even at the most abstract and Deathspell Omega-ish moments, they prove to me what bands like DSO are missing. That is serious balls and a sense of where their roots are.

Many bands in the black metal scene are taking ideas like progressing the style and all that, and are missing the very mud of their existence. Whilst DSO fans will talk for endless days in nerdy tones about the meaning of their music, a band like Aosoth just doesn't fuck around. Although this release isn't my favorite by them (so far Ashes of Angels is) I enjoy the fact they can implement ideas and sounds similar to their peers yet keep them raw and aggressive.

The album is made up of malignant hymns to unknown demons lurking in the dark. Mixtures betwixt dissonant Immolation inspired riffs, some moments of doom that brings to mind Incantation and then touches of primal black metal thundering. The guitars are massive on here, layers upon layers crashing upon themselves. Bass is a dark presence lurking underneath the escalating levels of dissonant composition.

The drums tie all this together and keep the albums intensity upwards. They are fairly simple yet effective in their attack. I like the production on them a lot, they are almost distorted a bit due to the bass heavy sound, but it thumps in the right places.

Above all this are the malefic vocals of MkM, recorded with a slight distortion, and almost no other effects. They're mixed in above and yet buried at times by the instrumentation, acting as the psychopomp for our travels in hell. He carries us in to the chaos of swirling hatred. Technique is similar to his work in Antaeus, but perhaps has less insanity in it, more a cold cruel hate. This poison inside of him simmers into a malice that is perceptible and chilling.

A note to be made about the ambience on here. It's hard to say where it comes from, is it the overwhelming guitars? Keyboards? Choral samples? Maybe all the above. Any way you look at it, the effect is to take you straight to hell. Don't worry, take the clawed hand, the demons will guide you through and leave you raped and abused at the other end.

The reptilian brain responds to this work, the part of us that fears, the part of us we hide. Demons raging within the flesh seeking an escape to their torment. Although it is similar in ways to other albums coming out today, I like this more. Where DSO leave me cold, Aosoth take over. It's the fact that they haven't lost themselves in seas of pretentiousness. MkM's expressions here are filled with a truth of his emotion. It is filled with the darkness of the deepest night.

Abyssic realms open up to the listener, and I for one am enjoying the view.

'Tis better to reign in hell then serve in heaven....