If you like the angry and insane sounds of Xasthur and Gorgoroth, but looking for something with a little more of a traditional black metal sound that has some grit, Aosoth is what you need, my friend. I saw an advertisement for Aosoth’s third full-length album in a metal magazine (I think it was Metal Hammer or Decibel). Just seeing the words “black metal” in the short album description made me download it IMMEDIATELY. I’m glad to say that this impulsive act was light years from unrewarding. Even though I would definitely put it in the black metal slot, there is literally no other band or album that I can say is similar to Aosoth. So given that, this is going to be one of the harder reviews for me to write because there are next to no good examples that I can use.
The French metal scene isn’t as big as Spirit of Metal makes it. But out of all the metal bands that come out of France, a whole bunch of them seem to be black metal! My favorite French band at the moment is Merrimack, but even they don’t have ANYTHING in common with Aosoth. So where did Aosoth get their super unique sound? Well, the majority of the members that are currently and have been in Aosoth have participated in Antaeus in some way or another. I’ve been listening to Antaeus for a year now and, once again, THERES NOTHING SIMILAR BETWEEN THEM!
Just a few minutes ago, I took some time to think up a somewhat accurate description of what Aosoth sounds like. They have a very ambient (but not melodic) black metal sound with a lot of thrashiness and…just plain fucking creepy guitar chords and harmonizations. The thrash fusion is something that you’ll instantly notice when the first song explodes in your face (with no buildup or intro). The guitar harmonizations that don’t match up and are out-of-tune are what really give the music that rough edge that sends chills down the spines of the weak. The unfortunate thing is that the guitars and drums are REALLY loud and kind of drown out the vocals. But then again, it sounds really cool because it only further enhances that fucking creepy sound!
The drummer’s blast beats are amazing and aren’t too choppy. That’s another thing that enhances the creepiness of the music; the drummer’s blast beats are very loose and monotonous (they aren’t really choppy and tight). The bass drones on almost continuously throughout the entire record, giving the music a good fill on the lower frequencies. This is one of those albums that have the potential of mesmerizing me, but not nearly as much as Sunn O))). Around the third or fourth song, you start to hear the agonizing screams of…something. I don’t even know if they’re actual screams or if they’re high-pitched guitar feedback. Whatever those sounds are, they’re really atmospheric and…well…CREEPY!!
Aosoth is one of the most UNIQUE black metal bands I’ve ever heard in my life and this is the album that proves that point the best. I would highly recommend their other two albums, but only after listening to III first. So if you’re wanting something really creepy and atmospheric but still with a lot of heavy thrashing drums and black metal vibes, III by Aosoth is for you. I would give this 18/20.