Aosoth - IV: An Arrow In Heart review


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Band: Aosoth
Album: IV: An Arrow In Heart
Release date: April 2013

01. An Arrow In Heart
02. One With The Prince With A Thousand Enemies
03. Temple Of Knowledge
04. Under The Nails And Fingertips
05. Broken Dialogue 1
06. Broken Dialogue 2
07. Ritual Marks Of Penitence

When it comes to making metal that conjures feelings of being perched on a cliff, gesticulating to control storms and Dothraki hordes and the like, titty-glittered Herman Li-like melodiousness is, mercifully, not the only kind of thing that can be made use of. Sometimes dissonance--sweet, sweet, sour dissonance--can do the trick nicely.

Aosoth prove that's the case on this, even though IV never feels so cheap (and badass) as to suggest that bringing listeners to that cliff perch was ever the goal. If cliffs were involved at all in their vision, they were there to suicide off of. Aosoth is just deep like that, I guess. In the little press blurb for this, they're quoted thusly: "[IV's] tracks still haunt us, as delivering them was a painful and excruciating experience, and left some of us even physically wounded..." The goal here was to be "spiritual," ostensibly from a melancholy place.

If, like me, "spiritual" entails imagining you're controlling a Dothraki army from a cliff perch though, then Aostoth succeeded for the most part. If it doesn't, then most of this thing probably won't bring on the irrational shudders, shivers, and sad thoughts. The epicness and fairly simple pounding force of the riffs on IV don't make me feel like I need to hide away in a cabin, hate company and eat my pets like a lot of black metal does, it summons more the feelings of power than misanthropy, loneliness and the like.

Part of that comes down to the death metal-like weight on most of this. IV isn't a straight up, through-and-through, truekvltfjord black metal album by any means. Its blackenedness may occasionally bring on the lonely feels, but the deathiness is always there to pimpslap some piss and vinegar back into the mix. IV is diverse like that; it isn't dominated by one style or one mood.

That said, despite utilizing dissonance constantly, their approach, particularly rhythmically, is straight forward and cleanly produced for the most part--they don't fuck around much with pace changes and attempting to create a sense of unpredictability, a goal that seems pretty common among their French counterparts. The album is diverse in its manner of stirring emotion much more than it is technically.

The problem here is the lack of consistency in the quality departments. IV explodes into motion with its first couple tracks "An Arrow in the Heart" and "One with the Prince with a Thousand Enemies," but never seems to get back the momentum of those first 20 minutes. It never sounds bad or half-baked or lazy thereafter, but it succumbs just a little too much to entropy. It gets, if not entirely boring, more tedious and disordered as it goes on.

Plain fact is that the album is just too long--the quality throughout isn't evenly spread. And that's probably the only thing that will get in my way of listening to this all the way through more in the future. Because otherwise, Aosoth nailed it here.


Written on 19.05.2013 by Wormdrink's real name is George and he's an American.


Comments: 4   Visited by: 133 users
19.05.2013 - 19:32
Boxcar Willy
yr a kook
This sounds cool however, I'll have to check it out.
Checkout my band here!
20.05.2013 - 17:54
I disagree entirely with the review, when it says the first 20 minutes are the album's momentum. Ritual Marks of Penitence is a stellar track, by far the best of the album in my opinion. Overall, although please note I'm not hating and I respect different opinions, I kind of feel the reviewer didn't really give the album a truly serious review (though the rating is decent). A lot of what is written reads like very personal assertions about Black Metal as a genre, with a very polarized appreciation of the atmosphere expressed in An Arrow in Heart. It's cool though, again, opinions differ and reviewing an album is always very subjective. But I'd like to encourage all Black Metal fans to give this outstanding effort two or three solid spins. It's worth it.
20.05.2013 - 18:16
I wouldn't say its not a serious review, I really appreciate the effort he put into it and I can kind of understand where he is coming from. I mean, in general I usually skip interludes so personally track 5 and 6 are pretty much useless. Track 7 was a bit of a blur to me tbh.

And the score is pretty high as well imho.
20.05.2013 - 18:39
I've been trying to figure out what it is about this I like so much. I think it has something to do with that remarkable death like aesthetic you mention. The last few tracks are the ones that stand out for me as they sound like pure evil. "Temple Of Knowledge" is a standout as well, very direct that one.

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