Aosoth – IV: An Arrow in Heart (Agonia Records)

Thursday, 6th June 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

The French black metal scene is starting to build a really deep bench right before our eyes. The obvious top-rungers are Blut Aus Nord and Matthew Bowling-obsessed Deathspell Omega, both of whom have manage to create their own little BM sidebar without having to harvest what has been done to death in Norway. There’s a certain particularity and peculiarity to how the above-mentioned pair operate, and the same could be said for up-and-comers  Aurvandil, as well the long overlooked entity that is Anteaus, who share guitarist Set in Aosoth.

As indicated by the Roman Numerals, IV: An Arrow in Heart is the band’s fourth offering, the follow-up to 2011’s well-received III: Violence and Variation. As it stands with An Arrow in Heart, Aosoth has embarked on some kind of a transcendental, atmospheric journey, full of barbed guitar choices and for once, fairly digestible song constructs. Naturally, the first thing the band throws at the listener is the 10-minute title track, which is a near-endless of barrage of serpentine blasting and various dimensions of the avant-garde black metal kind.

And that’s where the album should fall: into avant-gardeville. The two-part “Broken Dialogue” is enabled by the album’s relatively clean production job, yet there’s a steady diet of off-putting and cracked ideas, all of which can only come from the minds of those who exist to think forward, and not look back. That’s what IV: An Arrow in Heart is: forward-thinking, and detached.

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