Aosoth - IV: Arrow in Heart (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


IV: Arrow in Heart (2013)

Agonia Records

French black metal outfit Aosoth continue their trademark sonic assault with IV: Arrow in Heart. While not quite as atmospheric and overpowering as the mighty III, the record still packs in a whole lot of gnashing, thrashing, metal goodness. The first half is a glorious, continuous assault; the second a more protracted form of metal that's just as effective. Just don't ask me the song titles.

IV is given to lengthy fits of disorienting, rapid fire shredding. Tracks routinely surpass the eight-minute mark, and while there's a lot going on, Aosoth favor a bit of mystery. The growling vocals are a little buried. The drums don't always have the biggest punch. And it can be hard to remember the segues from track to track.

This all makes it sound like IV is a disappointment, but I came to praise it. Few bands can match Aosoth's sonic assault. They grind everything down to dust, so much so that when they abruptly drop off at the end of "Under Nails & Fingertips" and begin the plaintive intro of "Broken Dialogue 1," it's a real twist. That they could even slow down enough for this instrumental to have a more mid tempo, nearly sludge effect is another one.

Look, IV isn't the best metal record released this month, let alone this year. It's not even the best Aosoth LP. But it gets a lot of things right, by continuing the template established on III, combining haze and harsh tones and kicking ass along the way.